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Summer Vacation Is Too Expensive for Some Families...

“In 2014, parents reported planning to spend an average of $958 per child on summer expenses.” The Families That Can’t Afford Summer

My daughter and I at Cedar Point

Not all kids spend their summer frequenting museums, going to the pool, and at fancy (or not so fancy) camps. For some families with very young children, summer vacation is a veritable economic crisis that presents more frustration than fun.

Thanks to my cousin, Terry Roberts, I became aware of an article on Facebook that got me thinking. It was about families who can’t afford summer vacation. Embarrassingly, I hadn’t given the issue much thought before, even while I was personally writing checks for summer programming and doing price comparisons. It becomes rather easy for us who aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck to lament about “how expensive” camp is when we can kind of afford it.

By afford it I mean that we’re not choosing between paying for camp or having electricity or putting food on the table not whether paying for summer camp interferes with our ability to contribute to our kids’ college funds or retirement.  I make that distinction—not because saving for college and retirement aren’t important—but because for many, they’re such remote issues that they are not a present day concern.

The article indicates that parents spend an average of $958/child for summer expenses. Respectfully, I dispute that number. They may be including parents who keep their kids at home or have family watch them along with those who pay for camp. We’re paying about $1,250 for camp this summer for our daughter. While they are quality programs, they aren’t luxurious. When you work full time, and need find full-time care for your kid, it costs. Also, you may have to find someone to pick them up because “full-time” camp ends at 5:30 PM in these parts and carries a $15 late fee every 15 minutes you’re late.

Let that sink in for a moment. That penalty is real...

The point of this post isn’t to complain about my own lot, although I did do that. Let the universe know, I recognize that I am very fortunate. My family can budget for the summer expenses during the year. So, although the expense of camp is inconvenient, it’s not a huge hardship. I am concerned about the other families who are not as fortunate.

This post was designed to raise awareness of the issue plaguing too many families for who summer vacation presents an economic crisis. They are forced to make some hard choices. One of them might be to leave their young child at home each day just to make ends meet.

The good news is, we can do something about it. I’d love to connect with 20 other people to commit to funding a camp scholarship for a child next year or the following year. We could collaborate on the selection criteria and application process. In a word, we could work out the details after we all commit. By my estimation, if we committed to only $7/month, we’d have enough to fund one scholarship, a gas card, and money to advertise the scholarship.

Let me know if you’re interested. A small amount can make a difference!

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