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Finding A Summer Camp Is Easier Than Ever

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(credit: CBS) Amelia Santaniello
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a fresh coat of snow on the ground, but don’t let that fool you. Some parents already feel like they’re behind on their summer planning.

With so many choices for day and overnight camps, and for every possible interest area, sorting through it all can feel like doing your taxes.

“It’s hard to imagine how early you need to get it all done,” said Lindsay Litman, a mother of two from New Hope. “Not only do camps fill up, but you need to save money for them.”

That’s why the American Camp Association created www.campparents.org. With more than 2,300 accredited camps of its own, not to mention all of the other camps out there, the choices are endless.

“It is overwhelming,” said the ACA’s Maria Schugel. “It’s mind-boggling when you look at the number of options that are out there.”

The ACA’s Camp Finder website factors in activities, location, cost and other variables. It ranks accredited camps first, but lists all of the options.

“We really stress there is a camp for every child and every budget somewhere,” Schugel said.

So what is an appropriate budget? The ACA says overnight camps average $690 a week, but most offer scholarships. Churches, foundations and other local service organizations also offer scholarships.

“Some [scholarships] are partnered with camps, some are outside the camp,” she said. “The camp director will know best what to look for for that program.”

Day camps average $304 per week, but many qualify as child-care expenses for flexible spending accounts. And the camp director can help you figure that out, as well.

“The camp director is your number-one resource, both from everything from picking the camp to financing camp to preparing your child for camp,” Schugel said.

Many camps are now offering “family weeks,” so parents can go with their kids. ACA lists 39 in Minnesota alone.

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