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Why are summer camps so expensive?

A summer break in kindergarten or school is a serious concern for parents every year. They can take two weeks off, but who will take care of the child for the remaining nine?

Whoever can, mobilizes family members, grandparents, who in most cases are happy to wait for their grandchildren for a longer period of time. Anyone who is not kept by the family network for some reason will join forces with friends and neighbors to win a few weeks. Of course, there is a daycare, which is provided in many institutions for almost the whole summer, but that means the child gets up, packs, and crawls into the institution they visit all year round and then tries to feel good there. 

Understandably, as a parent, we watch the summer camps with dilated pupils, where novelties and adventures await the child, and if we choose well, we can also learn a foreign language, sports, and new skills. There are almost no topics for which they would not organize anything. The offer of lakes and their surroundings is rich, you can swim, swim, sail, row, cycle, adventure tours in the woods, scout and archery camps, animal parks await those interested, but you can also learn English and German, fine arts, programming, acting, astronomy, cooking seedlings. The range of possibilities is almost endless – although so it would be with our wallets.

How much do we spend on camps?

However, a five-day, self-defense camp can hurt us from 50 to 60 thousand forints, and the prices are often higher. The more opportunities it offers, the more beautiful the location, the deeper we have to reach into our pockets, the ceiling stops at HUF 300,000. The most expensive camps are either related to expensive sports (sailing, horseback riding) or professional language teaching. Last year, Hungarian parents spent an average of HUF 40,000 on a child’s one-week summer experience, but this amount is expected to increase this year. 

Why is a single week so expensive?

At the same time, most families already have a lot of money, even 40 thousand forints, and for that, they can only solve a single week of summer. Is that enough of an experience for a 9-month-old child in a kindergarten, at school, with an epidemic and war stress to relax? Alright. Yet it is very difficult to cultivate even a week of joy and liberated play. But why do the camps cost so much? Several factors play a role. One is the location, which is more frequent, the more comfortable, the more expensive. It is obviously cheaper to accommodate a child on a bunk bed in a forest house than in a hotel on the shores of Lake Balaton. The other thing that throws down the cost is device usage. The more care, maintenance, and care they take, the higher the prices – just think about how much a horse or a high-end computer costs. The third factor is the camp team itself. If they speak the given foreign language at the mother tongue level or are otherwise considered outstanding professionals, then we certainly have to pay for their one-week work. In the case of siblings, we usually only get a minimal discount, and at that time we didn’t even talk about meals. The cheaper a camp is, the more likely it is to provide only lunch, so we either pack up a week of cold food or even have to give pocket money for breakfast and dinner.

Practical tips for camping

No matter how expensive the camps are, parents are crowded with places. Pre-bookings will be handled by those already in the early spring, mass applications will take place from April, and you will need to be eye-catching if you want to get into the selected camp. So now you should look around the different camp monitoring sites and choose the one you like. If the place is unknown, it’s not worth just looking at the price, trying to find out, asking experienced parents to look around before the first day ends with crying, or taking it home. We don’t have to pay so much attention to health this summer, no camp can make the application dependent on vaccination, but at the same time, they are rightly expected to receive only a healthy seedling for the given week. Of course, you can reduce your costs by choosing the daycare option, but that also limits your distance right away. It helps to be able to pay with a NICE card in many places. Savings cannot be avoided by an average Hungarian family either: we will do well to start allocating the details of the required amount now, and even if we really pay attention to our finances, we will start collecting already in 2021.

Unfortunately, summer programs are rarely organized for children in need, but it is definitely worth asking your local office, social worker, churches, or foundations if there are any opportunities. Typically, smaller settlements can solve daycare in the house of culture with the help of a local teacher, but we can also find opportunities in larger cities. The Elizabeth Camp is also an excellent experience, details can be obtained from the school.

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