The bottom line about summer camp costs is that there is a summer camp to fit nearly every budget. Many families may miss out on the summer camp experience for their children because they aren’t aware of the options available to them.
Families can find a camp that fits their budget by following the five tips below:
- Ask the camp what financial assistance is available. Families should never assume that their family income doesn’t qualify. In fact, 90 percent of camps offer some sort of financial assistance to families, usually in the form of “camperships” or special discounts, for everything from early registration, full-season or multiple enrollments from one family.
- Get help. The ACA family-dedicated Website www.CampParents.org contains not only expert advice from camp professionals and child development experts, but it also contains the ‘Find A Camp’ searchable database. Families can search for a camp by cost, location, special needs, special activity, and duration, among other options.
- Day camp can be tax-free. In certain circumstances, day care or day camp expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services and paid with pre-tax dollars. Visit the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov for more information.
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts allow parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for childcare or adult dependent care expenses for qualified dependents that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work or to attend school full time.
- Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. The IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents (up to $3,000 for one dependent). The amount of the credit is based on your adjusted gross income and applies only to your federal taxes. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses as well.
The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities.Courtesy of the American Camp Association