A look at camp costs, financial aid, tax breaks, and camp scholarships
No doubt: camps offer great benefits, for children of all ages, from toddler to teen. But it isn't free. We'll look at camp costs in Canada — both overnight and day options — and the ways to keep those costs down. These include getting supplementary funding and breaks from camps, government, and third-party organizations.
The cost of an overnight camp starts at $300 a week and runs as high as $1,000 weekly, a figure out of reach for many families. Day camp costs tend to be less, between $35 to $500 a week.
What's included in the base camp fee?
Every camp is different, but you can expect the base camp fees to include:
Access to the camp's facilities
Supervision from trained staff members
Depending on the camp, there may be extra services, which aren’t included in the base camp fee:
Optional programs and activities
Supervision from trained staff members
Camp merchandise, clothes and snacks, which may be available at tuck shops
Sources of financial aid and savings
Here are some sources of funds and cost-savings to help give your kids an experience they will cherish for a lifetime.
Financial aid and savings from camps:
Subsidies and financial aid:A number of camps have a subsidy program for families that qualify. Look for camps that offer this service. Financial applications are usually due by February. Apply early to make sure you can take advantage of the funds available.
Sibling discounts:If your children are close in age, consider sending them to the same camp. Most offer a discount if two children from the same family are attending. Call ahead and book early to make sure both your children get a spot in the camp. There is an added benefit of knowing your children will feel less homesick because they are away together.
Early-bird discounts: Most camps in Canada offer a discount if you register early. The deadlines for these early bird specials are different, so refer to the individual camp’s website to see how much time you have. Some camps offer a return camper discount. It can save you a lot of money if you plan a year ahead and take advantage of the offer. If you can’t afford the entire cost up front, ask if you can be put on a payment plan.
Savings from government:
Federal Children's Fitness Tax Credit (CFTC):In your tax return, you can claim the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit up to a maximum of $500 per child relating to the cost of putting them into a program of physical activity. In most cases, a camp that lasts five consecutive days and promotes cardio endurance and muscle strength will meet the criteria. Children with disabilities aged 18 years and under are eligible for an additional credit of $500, for a potential total Fitness Tax Credit claim of up to $1,000 each year.
Federal Children's Arts Tax Credit (CATC): Families can claim eligible expenses of up to $500 per year for each child (under 16, or under 18 for disabled children) enrolled in an activity with a focus on wilderness and nature, artistic or intellectual development, and/or social and interpersonal development. The activity must be sustained for at least 5 consecutive days to qualify, (there are also other ways to qualify, such as weekly activites sustained for 8 consecutive weeks, etc).
Don't forget that the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) provides financial assistance to all Canadian families with young children, regardless of where they live, whatever their family circumstances or preferences. Parents receive $100 a month for each child under six. By saving this money all year, it can be used towards a summer camp program for your child.
Financial aid from third-party organizations:
"Camperships" and financial aid:There are a number of organizations that offer financial assistance outside of the federal government, including:
Kids in Camp offers subsidies for children attending various camps under the Ontario Camping Association umbrella.
Religious organizations such as the Salvation Army offers support for low-income families to send their kids to camp.
From family and friends:
Gifts and loans: Consider asking family members to contribute to camp fees instead of providing gifts for birthdays or holidays. Encourage your kids to earn the money themselves by doing errands and chores for friends, families or neighbours.
For more advice, visit the largest camp expo in Canada: Our Kids hosts an annual camp expo at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto late February. The expo features March break, year-round and summer camps from across Ontario and Quebec. Camps at the expo have many years of experience advising parents on how to afford summer camp.
Enter to win a week at camp!
Enter to win one of 20 Our Kids Camp Scholarships valued at up to $500 each.
Deadline for entries is April 15, 2017.
Camp Scholarship Entry Form
Our Kids Camp Scholarships 2017
Our Kids is offering scholarships to willing participants that follow the outlined rules and regulations:
Deadline for entry is April 15, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Entrants must be a legal residents of Canada, age eighteen (18) years of age or older. Employees of Our Kids and Our Kids member schools and camps are ineligible to enter.
HOW TO ENTER
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE.
There will be twenty (20) recipients selected in April, 2017.
In the event of a dispute, entries shall be deemed to be submitted by the “Authorized Account Holder” of the email address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g. business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
By participating, participants and winners waive any and all claims of liability against Our Kids, its employees and agents, member camps and schools, and their respective employees and agents, for any personal injury or loss which may occur from the conduct of, or participation in the scholarship draw, or from the use of any scholarship.
By participating, where allowed by law, all scholarship recipients grant Our Kids permission to use their names in connection with these camp scholarships, and waive any claims to royalty, right, or remuneration for such use.
There is a total of twenty (20) scholarships available. Entrants entering the draw are eligible to receive receiving (1) one scholarship, value not exceeding $500.
Scholarship recipients will be chosen at random. Our Kids will contact the recipients via the email address used to enter the draw. If for any reason and despite customary efforts, it is not possible to contact a recipient via the email account used to enter the draw within a period of 24 hours twenty-four (24) hours after the draw, Our Kids reserves the right to disqualify that entry and select another entry as a scholarship recipient.
Scholarships must be accepted as predetermined, and used in 2017; substitutes by scholarship recipients will not be allowed. Each scholarship is valued at up to $500. Each scholarship must be applied to fees incurred at an Our Kids member camp in good standing.
GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
By entering the scholarship draw, all participants agree to be bound by the rules of the camp scholarship program and release Our Kids from any liability with respect to the scholarship draw and use of any scholarship funds.
Our Kids reserves the right to withhold the scholarship or disqualify any entry in the event that any recipient fails to comply with the rules governing the scholarship program.
Our Kids reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the scholarship program including any method of entry without notice.
All scholarship decisions made by Our Kids will be final.
Any inquiries or concerns relating to the contest should be addressed to Our Kids at 905-272-1843.