For many children, summer camp is the highlight of their year. They get to spend time with kids their age. They can take part in fun activities.  And learn along the way. Plus, summer camps are great for working parents. It also ensures their child is taken care of and entertained when school isn’t in session. But, in many cases, summer camps are expensive and can be unaffordable for a number of households. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There are ways to send a child to summer camp for free. Here are some options worth exploring.

Ask About Summer Camp Scholarships

Even higher cost summer camps may let some children attend for free. Through their scholarship programs, students who qualify might be eligible for free financial aid that covers the cost of the camp.

Typically, any scholarship funds are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis from the pool of qualified applicants. Additionally, they aren’t always widely advertised. You may need to contact the camp’s director to learn more about any scholarship programs, and it’s wise to do so as soon as possible.

Community Organizations May Offer Summer Camp For Free

Some community organizations, such as the YMCA and the Salvation Army, have tons of low-cost programs, including day camps and overnight camps. Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts operate camps, many of which cost less than commercial versions.

Additionally, many community organizations have financial assistance programs that help alleviate the financial burden of sending a child to camp for low-income households. Eligible families usually qualify for at least a cost reduction according to a sliding scale. However, there can also be some locations or programs that could end up free. Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to see how low the price can go through community organizations, as you can always make a decision about whether you want to send your child after you find out.

Consider Religious Summer Camps

If you attend services at a church, synagogue, mosque, or another place of worship, you may have access to a summer camp through that organization. Some of them also welcome children from families that aren’t associated with the faith-based community.

Many of them operate religion-oriented programs for kids, such as vacation bible study school. However, they can also focus on other activities. Low-income families may qualify for financial assistance or may be allowed to send their children for free.

Don’t Overlook City and State Programs

Many local and state parks programs operate summer camps every year. Like many community organizations, the cost of the camps tends to be lower than many commercial alternatives. Additionally, lower-income households may be able to send their children for free.

You’ll want to check with your city and state parks and recreation departments to learn about any camps that may be available. If you find a solid option, request financial assistance (if available) as soon as possible. Usually, funds are provided first-come, first-serve, so you want to apply quickly.

Look for Sibling Discounts

If you have more than one child and can’t shoulder the cost to send them all to camp at full price, don’t fret. Some camps off sibling discounts, reducing the cost-per-child. At times, they may even let your one of your children attend for free, especially if your family is larger or they have participated in the camp before.

Sibling discounts are usually standardized and may be advertised on the camp’s website. If you don’t find details, reach out to the camp director. Often, they’ll be able to tell you about any options that may be available.

An Important Note About Summer Camp Discounts

In nearly all of the cases above, eligibility requirements can vary dramatically from one camp to the next. Every camp has the ability to set its own pricing structure and determine who may qualify for aid or discounts. There aren’t necessarily required to follow the same rules across organizations.

Additionally, the qualifications may shift from year to year. Since funding for cost-reductions may be donation-based, the amount of money available can change. As a result, camps may have to adjust their financial aid approach accordingly.

If you want to benefit from a program, apply as early as possible. That way, if you’re eligible, you’re more likely to be able to send your child to summer camp for free.

Do you have any other tips that can help parents save on the cost of summer camp? Let us know in the comments below.

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