With the end of school and the beginning of summer fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about camps. Whether you’ve got avid sports enthusiasts in your home or kids who just want to try something new, sports camps can be a fantastic option—and they can actually be affordable with a little bit of research.
Here are five simple ways to help make both active kids and budget-conscious parents happy.
1. Talk to your coach.
In addition to providing solid recommendations for the best local sports camps, your child’s coach might also be able to find you the best deals. Local coaches are often approached by camps with special discount rates for their team members, as well as group rates if a certain number of students attend the same session. Talk with the coach first and then loop in team parents to see if you can organize a group.
2. Check your credit card perks.
You may be able to get special access and discounts with your credit card. Citi ThankYou® cardmembers, for example, have the exclusive opportunity to purchase registration to ProCamps with sports superstars, such as the inaugural LeSean McCoy Football Clinic which I attended recently with my 7-year-old son, who beforehand had only tossed around a football with his dad every now and then. After attending this awesome camp (for boys and girls in grades 1-8), interacting with local high school coaches, and playing football with one of his all-time favorite NFL football stars, he came home begging for a football so he could teach his sisters some of the plays he learned. But that wasn’t all he gained from the experience; the confidence and encouragement he got from being around the coaches and McCoy, who was attentive to all 100 campers (no small feat!), affected his attitude when he played other sports. Check out my blog post for more about our experience at the Citi ThankYou® Sports ProCamp experience.
3. Become a sports club member.
f you’ve been waiting to join your local fitness center or gym, or even the YMCA, now’s the time. During the summer, many of these outlets offer programs for kids—from simple sports-oriented day camps to more intense coaching and training sessions—at special member rates. Also check local sports clubs, like running clubs and soccer leagues, for camp rates that apply to members only.
4. Apply for sports scholarships.
Many camps offer scholarships to high-ability students, so if you’ve got a child who excels at a particular sport, it’s definitely worth inquiring about these opportunities. While there may be an extensive application and evaluation process, you might be able to earn a full or partial scholarship. If you’ve got older kids, this can also serve as excellent preparation for the college-sports scholarship application process.
5. Make your own sports camp.
Team up with a local instructor or coach and create your own camp. It can be as simple as asking a few neighborhood parents to chip in, reserving a spot at a public park, and bringing in an instructor for a few hours each day. You’d be surprised how cost effective this can be, since there are no registration or extraneous fees. Plus, the instructor might be willing to offer you a discount since you’re paying him or her directly.