Camp Scholarships and Financial Assistance


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    By: Amy Franzwa

    As a working, single mom I was quick to assume that sending my little ladies to camp of any kind was out of my budget. However, after a little internet research, I learned I had funding options to help get my little Shirley Temples to theatre camp, or any camp their little hearts desired. Gymnastics camp, dance camp, science camp…the possibilities were endless. There are quite a few non-profit organizations (and several camps themselves) that offer ways to subsidize camp expenses.

    Military families with active members have several options for camp tuition assistance. I wondered if my dad’s 30 years of service in the National Guard counted for something, but I was out of luck because he was retired. The following organizations have been established for children and families with men and women fighting bravely for our country:

    Our Military Kids – Provides grants for enrichment activities and tutoring to deployed National Guard and Military Reserve Families.

    Operation Purple – Created by the National Military Family Association, this program hosts FREE week-long kid’s camps and four-day family retreats.

    Operation Summer Camp – Established by the Keystone Region Chapter of the American Camp Association, OSC offers free camp tuition (aka “camperships”) for traditional day and overnight summer camps in the Pennsylvania and Delaware area to National Guard and Army and Navy Reserve families.

    Since a shotgun wedding to a soldier wasn’t a viable option, I continued to look for camp subsidy programs that applied to me. I quickly discovered that the vast majority of camps have assistance programs available to the general public. It seemed simply a matter of contacting them directly or perusing their web site to find out more. Some of the largest providers of day and overnight camps nation-wide include:

    American Camp Association – Most of their nearly 2,700 ACA Accredited and Affiliate member camps offer tuition assistance for their day and overnight camp programs.

    YMCA – They offer tuition assistance for their day and overnight camps. Their camps run the gamut on themes: art, theater, music, sports, special needs and many more.

    Science Museums – Science and Children’s Museums offer a variety of fantastic class and day camp programs for youth. And nearly all of them have scholarship and financial assistance programs to help with the cost of attendance.

    Needless to say, after a day’s worth of research, I found comfort in knowing that my kids might not have to miss out on the many benefits of camp because of financial reasons. They could channel their inner drama queen at theatre camp after all!

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