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As much as we don’t like to think about money, our finances sometimes have to dictate our decisions. When you’re shopping around for the right camp for your child, you want to find the best fit and know how to plan accordingly. It turns out that there is a wide variety in cost when we take into account the different kinds of camps that are out there. Let’s look at a few ways to calculate the cost of Christian camps and some possible ways to save a little money in the process.
What Are You Looking For in Christian Camps?
We all know that summer camp is a big deal for our kids, but obviously not everyone goes to the same kind of camp. Some of these summer experiences are nature-intensive and take place in the mountains while others focus on music or filmmaking and spend a lot of time indoors. There’s band camp, dance camp, and a camp for just about any other focus your child is interested in. Many of these are secular places, but there are Christian alternatives as well.
An easy rule of thumb is that the better the amenities or the bigger the experience, the higher the price is likely to be. If you’re looking for a pretty standard camp experience, there are tons of options to pour through. Christian camps can be found in pretty much every church or community. There’s also the option of private camps, which we’ll talk about later. Depending on what kind of camp you are looking for, the cost could range from $50 to $1500.
Day Camps vs. Overnight Camps
One of the quickest ways to draw a line between camps that are more affordable than others is by looking at the cost of day camps vs. those that are overnight. Day camps can be a great option for a number of reasons, but the price tag is hard to ignore. The math is simple here: a camp that only has to entertain and educate children for 8-10 hours a day has a lot less overhead than one that is responsible for children 24 hours a day for a full week.
A great place to give you ideas on what an average camp might cost is through the American Camp Association. This may not be the best tool for picking the exact camp your child attends, but it will at least help you understand some of the basics and to do a little price comparing. You can search based on location, religious affiliation, activities, and so on. It turns out that there is also a good bit of variety in types of day camps as well, but the costs are generally on a smaller cost scale of around $50 to $350. Many of these day camps also have add-on options that you can opt for or not, including early arrival/late pickup and special activities.
Church Camps vs. Church Retreats
Another differentiation that can be made when trying to uncover the cost of Christian camps is between church camps and church retreats. This may sound like splitting hairs, but these are often very different kinds of trips. For instance, a retreat at the lake for high school students might only run $50/kid for a three day event. On the more expensive side of things, your church could decide to take a spring break retreat for skiing that costs $600+. Again, the bigger the trip, the more you can expect to pay.
Most retreats will run much cheaper than your typical Christian camp if for nothing else, simply because they are shorter. More than that, though, retreats tend to focus more on strengthening a ministry through teaching and small groups than through big activities. Where camps are more of an explosive week of fun, retreats are about building relationships and bonding with people your child sees regularly.
Retreats for kids tend to be located near the church at a local campsite, on church property, or possibly even in at someone’s home. Think of a church lock-in or a weekend of camping and you’ll know about how much this kind of camp costs. Church camps, on the other hand, involve a week away from home engaging in the usual highlights of camp. More travel + more activities + bigger event = higher price tag. Church retreats are typically less than $150 whereas church camps can be anywhere between $200 and $1000.
Private Christian Camps
Let’s say that your church doesn’t offer a summer camp and your area is a little light on options. There are plenty of private Christian camps across the country that offer an amazing experience for your child. From Florida to California there are many Christian camps rich in tradition that would love to partner with your family.
All we mean by “private” is that these camps aren’t sponsored by a specific denomination or church. Like schools or anything else that carries that description, some private Christian camps can get on the pricier end of the scale. It’s not uncommon for a week at one of these camps to be $1200 or more. For that price, your child will enjoy stellar facilities, activities and entertainment that is dialed up to 11, and an incredible week making new friends. Places like Kanakuk and Pine Cove are established Christian camps that provide an unforgettable experience.
Scholarships and Deals
We know that not everyone has the ability to send a child (or several) to camp each summer and money is often at the root of that problem. Fortunately there are ways to save money at just about every camp out there. In an earlier post we talked about things like government assistance and a few classifications similar to what we went through in this article. If there’s a camp that doesn’t offer some kind of scholarship, we’ve never heard of it.
One sure way to save money is to sign up for camp early. The vast majority of Christian camps offer early bird discounts and other bonuses for reserving your spot ahead of time. Another discount that some camps run is for siblings. If you’re sending multiple children, be sure to ask those in charge of information if there is a cheaper rate applied. In fact, if there is any kind of special payment arrangement you’re requiring, be sure to call ASAP and see what your best option is. It never hurts to ask.
We hope this has been an enlightening article on Christian camps and just how much they’re going to set you back. Every family has unique needs and different priorities but fortunately there are more than enough camps out there to cater to what suits you. At Camp Electric, we offer an exciting summer experience for kids who love music and want to use their skills to create a joyful noise worshiping the Lord. We bring in some of the biggest names in Christian music to teach kids all about playing as an individual, crafting their own sound, and learning to play in a group on top of so much more. Find out how your child can join in on the fun by clicking on the link below.