As we move toward the deadline to apply for financial aid (February 25th), many families may be wondering how they can make camp a financial reality for their children.
In addition to applying for financial aid, a few ideas to help make camp more affordable are suggested below.
This article was originally published in the Eagle’s Nest Foundation newsletter, The Eagle, in Fall 2013. Keep an eye out for the Spring 2016 Eagle, due to hit inboxes and mailboxes in March.
Putting a Price on Priceless: Making Camp a Financial Reality
By Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director
When I’m at Eagle’s Nest, I find incredible inspiration in the truth that every single person around me is constantly growing in a positive way. Each day, campers learn new skills in their selected activities, and staff members develop and improve their teaching and leadership abilities. Perhaps even more important are the things happening beneath the surface. Campers and staff alike are learning the true meaning and value of relationships with others. They’re realizing the vital role that each individual plays in our community and communities beyond the Nest. They are building confidence and discovering their best self. Each person is developing the life skills they need to be successful, as well as the ability to define what “success” really means to them.
While we can’t put a price on the learning and transformation that happens at Eagle’s Nest, creating an environment which nurtures that process isn’t inexpensive. Employing talented educators and role models, offering exciting activities and adventures, and providing healthy, delicious meals are all factors that are considered when determining tuition amounts. Thankfully, the winter and spring offer time to save for camp. Setting aside money each month will help the overall tuition payment feel more manageable. Additionally, we highly recommend involving your child(ren) in the funding process. Not only will it help them take ownership of their camp experience, they’ll also learn the importance of earning and saving money. Following are a few ideas for making camp financially feasible for your family:
- Start a “Camp Fund”. This can take the form of a decorated jar, a piggy bank, or an actual savings account. Your child can earn money to contribute to the fund by helping out with household chores that are similar to the duties they have at camp, like setting the table, washing dishes, and keeping their personal area clean.
Explain to your child that in addition to earning money, they can contribute to the camp fund by making choices that will save money. For example, instead of purchasing a cool new toy, they could put that money toward a session at Eagle’s Nest. Choosing to give up something now to gain something later will not only help make camp more affordable, it will also serve as a great introduction to basic economic concepts, such as opportunity cost.
- Give the gift of Camp. In my opinion, a session at camp is one of the best gifts a child can receive. It may not be a tangible present, but camp will provide 1 to 3 weeks of fun, adventure, exploration and growth. And it doesn’t end when they return home; the friendships they form and confidence they gain will stay with them long after they leave Hart Road.
When grandparents and other family members inquire about what they should give your child as a holiday or birthday present, suggest making a donation to the camp fund. They can even wrap up an Eagle’s Nest t-shirt or water bottle or a photo from camp for your child to open on their special day.
- Tell a friend. We count on camp families to help us spread the word about our programs. Families can earn significant tuition discounts by hosting an Eagle’s Nest informational party and recruiting new campers. By referring friends, not only will you save money, you’ll help introduce young people to the magical world of summer camp. That’s a winning combination!
Eagle’s Nest also offers a number of other discount opportunities to help make camp more affordable. In addition to taking advantage of early registration discounts, families can receive returning camper, sibling, and multi-session discounts.
Please contact us for more tips to help camp become a financial reality for your family.
Liz Snyder, Assistant Camp Director