The Cost of Camp: Frequently Asked Questions

April 19, 2022

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the cost of camp.

How much does it cost to go to camp?

It depends! There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of camp. This could include whether it is a day or overnight program, how long the session is, whether the camp is privately owned or is part of a larger nonprofit organization, where in the country the camp program is located, and even what population the camp program aims to serve.

What does that money actually go toward? 

It depends! Just as there are a number of variables that can affect the overall cost of camp, there are a variety of ways that camps put those dollars to work. Some things to consider when trying to determine where your money may be going include:  What kind of staff does the camp have, and what is the camper-to-counselor ratio? Is it a specialty camp that requires specific equipment or specially certified instructors? Does the camp serve youth with unique medical needs that require a health care professional in addition to the regular, on-site medical staff? 

What do I get for the price tag?

It depends! By now, you probably understand that there are camps of all shapes and sizes ready to cater to your needs as a parent and/or caregiver. The cost of the program may cover a variety of areas: Does the program provide meals to their campers? Is there a wide variety of activities for campers to participate in? Does the camp highlight any potential outcomes that may be tied to participating in their programs?

Are there still scholarships available for this summer?

It depends! The vast majority of camps have scholarships available each year, along with other alternative modes of financial assistance (e.g. payment plans and sliding scales). Families need to directly ask the camp about scholarship opportunities. Not only are there reduced rates, but the pandemic has actually made more funds available (such as the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief funding made available by the US Department of Education) to help offset costs and make camp more accessible to all families. 

So how much does it really cost to go to camp?

One helpful way to think of the cost of camp is as a continuum, with $0 at one end and infinity at the other — because the bottom line is that camp can cost as little or as much as you are willing to pay. And while historically camp may have seemed out of reach for many families, contemporary camps across the country are working hard to make sure that families who want to access their programs indeed can.