Friday, June 5, 2009

The Most Bang For Your Buck

As an owner and staff member of Cali- Camp for over 40 years; as a parent and grandparent; and as a psychotherapist; I find new meaning in the words - “Keep within one’s compass and cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth”.

I think, unlike years in the past, when the economy has been soft and parents have still managed to send their children to the high-end camps, this year presents a new challenge. The question many parents are asking is, “Where can I find the best camp experience for my child at the least cost?”

It may be that parents are very reluctant to pull any money from the budget they have set for their children’s summer learning experiences. They will, in many cases, sacrifice their own needs and vacations, so that their children can enjoy an enriched summer experience at camp. However, I do believe parents are considering their financial situations in a very serious manner. I also believe that most parents make their financial decisions with a serious commitment to the total value of their child’s summer camp experience. And so they face the dilemma, “Where and how do I get the most for my dollar without compromising the quality of the camp experience”?

There are many reasons why we send our children to a particular camp. We hope:

• That the camp we choose provides a community and environment in which our children can expand their skills and thrive.
• Our children, while attending camp, will make new friends by interacting with other children of different backgrounds and interests. Thus, they can expand their own vistas.
• Our children will learn independence and interdependence in the camp environment.
• Our children will learn to compete sensibly and with compassion and humility in the camp setting.
• That our children will build self-esteem and confidence.
• For confirmation that our children will be in a camp setting that is safe and comforting.
• They are able to enjoy their camp experience in a place where the beauty of nature is apparent, soothing and at always at their fingertips.

If we do not sponsor the magical experience of camp for our children because we feel we cannot afford the cost of camp then we might hire a sitter at $10 an hour for an 8 ½ hour day. That amounts to $85 a day at the very least. When one compares the cost of a sitter for 8 ½ hours to the cost of day camp for the same time we begin to appreciate the fact that camp is a very well priced service even at $100 a day. We begin to appreciate that camp is a true bargain.

When you evaluate the cost of camp per day and add to that the offerings of an on site camp, that maintains a trained staff which returns year after year because they love children and the awesome experience of seeing a child’s eyes open in awe at our environment. Once again we see that camp is really a bargain.

Add to that experience, hot meals, a nurse on the premises, an owner/director that has an investment in every child’s positive camp experience, transportation to and from camp, an expert who assures that the drivers of the vehicles are certified and the vehicles themselves are as safe as can be, an opportunity to schedule flexibility into your enrollment; and many other extras such as a camp site that doesn’t move each day, but instead provides continuity and familiarity.

From the aforementioned paragraphs, one can easily come to the conclusion that there is a correlation between what you spend and the quality of the camp that you select.

Just like any other business owner we want our camp (which is a business) to run in a cost efficient manner. We want our groups to be full and still give each camper a maximum camp experience.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discounted rate. Special arrangements can be made for payment of camp tuition. As we near the opening of camp and especially in this economic environment we will work with you to give your child the best possible summer experience. We do not want to turn away a single camper because they can not afford our camp. We want you to use our flexible scheduling program to ease your way into your child’s camp budget.

I hope you have a very good summer and look forward seeing you and your child at Cali-Camp on our most incredible natural environment under the guidance of our most incredible staff.

Yours for quality day camping,

Sue Rowen

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