The best way to save money on Summer camp is to start looking today.

Today you maybe thinking spring break but you should be thinking about summer and camp for your children. For many summer camp is that annual rite of passage where kids learn to row a boat, swim in a lake, and appreciate the sun setting over a lake. The American Camp Association (ACA) estimates the average cost of overnight summer camp at around $85 per day per, this includes the less expensive church camps at a few hundred a week to the private camps at over $1000 per week. 

Sounds pricy? You bet, but when you break it down to an hourly rate it cheaper than a movie. Here are just a few strategies that will help you best fit your child with camp at a price that is within your budget:


1. Begin as early as possible. It takes time to do the research and compare camps so start well before the summer is upon you. Once you have found camps with in your budget that you think your child will like, give them the choice. Here is the point often discounts are available for campers that sign up early. Planning ahead will gives you more time to save up for camp. At Swift Nature Camp we encourage families to start paying a few hundred every month as early as February so when the bill comes in June it is very manageable. 

2. Scholarships exist.Swift Nature Camplike other camps believes that every child should go to camp so we offer financial assistance programs. We look for donations plus we match our donations but these are on a first-come, first-served basis so funds do run out. Camps provide scholarships at a sliding scale don't think that your salary level will knock you out. 

3. Consult your accountant. Even if you don't qualify for scholarships or other discounts, you may be able to pay for day camp for kids under 13 using pre-tax dollars in a dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA). The IRS caps dependent care FSAs at $5,000 per year, and your employer withholds money from each paycheck to fund the plan.
Also consider the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which allows taxpayers to deduct up to 35 percent of their childcare expenses, up to a maximum of $6,000. "My best advice is to check with a tax planning professional and keep track of expenses," says Golden.


4. Other savings. If you enrolling multiple children to the same summer camp, you may qualify for a multi-child discount. A trend is to fill open bunks with a Groupon deal so keep looking for those. However, these are often at the end of the summer. If a traditional summer camp is outside your budget try looking more local at day programs or week long camps. Some of the best values for summer programs are local park districts, universities or community centers. Don’t rule out churches, local libraries, nonprofits like the YMCA, or scouting groups they often provide affordable summer programs.

5. Consider value, when selecting a summer camp. A favorite saying in among camp directors is “the memories of camp far outlast the price of camp”. It is so true 30 years from now your child will still have a sweat spot in their memory about camp and the price will long be forgotten. Prices should play an important role in your decision, but it should not the only factor when selecting where to send your child. 

The bottom line is camp is highly successful and regardless of cost (according the the ACA) 70% of parents said their child gained self-confidence at camp and nearly as many said their child remains in contact with friends made at camp. Therefore, a good summer camp program can create lasting memories and shape your child's development well into adulthood.

To learn more about 
selecting the right summer camp see SuumerCampAdvice.com
When it comes to chatting with the world outside the woods of Camp Netimus, the girls here go a little crazy with their fonts.
Forget plain old 12-point black Helvetica. Bubbly, heart-dotted letters in shimmery orange or shiny purple reign queen. And banish the image of a simple white screen on which to write. Netimus girls reach for neon green sheets or cards imprinted with cheetah spots and glitter-showered pink flip-flops.
At this 80-year-old traditional residential camp for girls in the 
Pocono Mountains, and at thousands more around the USA, connecting with Mom and Dad requires licks — of stamps and envelopes — not clicks. The medium for talking to Muddah and Fadduh is a message from the past.
The hand-scribbled, shoebox-worthy letter may seem as anachronistic as archery and A/C-free living, but at sleepaway camp, where directors have largely succeeded in keeping two-way texting and e-mail at bay, it thrives.
The practice of putting colored pencil to notebook paper is "old-fashioned," says Ruby Auman, 11, swinging her legs from her blond wood bunk, where her wall is papered with an ink-printed "of course I'm thinking of you" reply from her mom 2½ hours away in Lewisburg, Pa. "But it's not old-fashioned while you're here."


Camp is not just about fun


One reason for swapping a life of zip files for one of ziplines is to practice face-to-face — and pen-to-pen — communication, says Darlene Calton, a Netimus director (and alumna). "There are so many little life lessons you get at camp that are not necessarily learning how to climb on the ropes course. It's about writing letters home and solving problems by yourself" — instead of texting or calling parents and friends every five minutes to seek advice or to vent.
During a Netimus camper's two- to seven-week stay, directors encourage at least one letter home a week, though more prolific girls might write three a day. Cellphones are considered contraband; if one creeps in, it gets a vacation in the camp office. And computers are as exotic as boys.
Indeed, directors say that one of the benefits of allowing the 
U.S. Postal Service, as opposed to Google Mail, to act as messenger is that by the time Sally's letter detailing her fight with cabinmate Susie has snaked its way home from the country, the row has been long resolved.
In his research for Camp Camp: Where 
Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies, a scrapbook of '70s and '80s camp life, author (and onetime Maine camp counselor) Roger Bennett found that through letter writing, "parents could be present and could assuage their concerns, but not so present that they prevented the incredible freedom that camp offered." Thanks to the time-space continuum of snail mail, "they knew what was going on, but could do nothing to prevent it."
"That," he adds, "is a tradition that needs to be preserved."
At the Postal Service, where mail volume has declined dramatically — more that 20% in the past two years — the fact that a generation accustomed to the instant feedback of the Internet is slowing down to pick up a pencil is heartening, says spokesman Mark Saunders. "When you think about summer camp and you think about pitching a tent or living in a cabin, it's just a natural fit. You're exposing children to a means of communication" that's likely foreign to them.
"As technology increases, the call to get back to the basics is more important than ever," says Marla Coleman, former president of the American Camp Association. In a 2007 survey of the nation's 3,000 ACA-accredited camps, three-quarters said e-mail, cellphones and computers were verboten.
"Camp is a place for kids to practice growing up, and when they become adults, they will need to string together more than 140 characters," Coleman says, alluding to 
Twitter's character limit. With basic letter-writing techniques shoved further down school curricula, "where else are they learning to address an envelope? If camp is this expanded learning environment, letter writing is the touchstone of that learning experience."
As proper salutations and closings become less of a priority in classrooms, "it's superb," says Carol Jago, president of the National Council of Teachers of English, that camps might be the last bastion of the form. "Children need an authentic purpose for writing a letter," Jago says. "If the purpose is to get away from the world a little bit at camp, to get away from video games a little bit, then pick up a pencil and let's do it the long way, let's do it the slow way. I think it would be sad to lose that."


A venerable tradition


The survival of the stamped camp letter, a tradition that dates back to the dawn of camps during the late 19th century, "makes perfect sense" to Leslie Paris, an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia and the author of Children's Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp. As part of her research, Paris dug up a 1919 mom-directed missive from one Floyd Frost at Camp Riverdale in the Adirondacks: "This is letter-writing period and we all have to write home, so here goes."
"Camps have always been institutions that were at once very modern, reflecting new ideas about the preciousness of childhood on the one hand," Paris says, "and on the other hand, places that privileged a kind of nostalgic look at the American past."
And today, what's more a totem of America's analog past than the letter?
The pile of envelopes in the "Property of 
USPS"-stamped cardboard box in Netimus' white clapboard office seem as much of a relic as the 1969 "Debby Sharp was here" graffiti scrawled in cabin No. 7. Slid through the office's shin-high metal mail slot, they're creased and lumpy, as though they've been stuffed in a trunk for a while. Addresses are jumbled — the ZIP code, if it's there, heralding the town name, the town wedged on one long line between the street and the state — and they're inscribed, in wobbly script, where the return address goes.
(Ruby keeps a couple sample addressed envelopes taped to her cabin wall as guides. At Camp Kupugani in Leaf River, Ill., each cabin gets a laminated cheat sheet that diagrams correct envelope-addressing form.)
Stamps — dogs and cats and Simpsons characters — are rotated 90 degrees. Last names are missing.
The campers' attempts at engaging in an activity that to them is more novelty than necessity are "so funny," Calton says. " 'Grandma,' that's all it says on the envelope. Or 'Grandma, Rye, N.Y.' It's like, 'OK, who lives in Rye?' "
Inside, the letters are rife with tweenspeak and problematic punctuation, just like in texts, instant messages and e-mails. But how many IMs come attached with pink puffy heart stickers emblazoned "I love U!" in shaky black block print?
Ruby's latest letter asks "if you could have the A/C on when I get home because I'm looking forward to the cold air. Also I'm gonna need some more hair stuff." Hannah Goldman's most recent postcard to her cousins in Wayne, Pa., wonders, "How are you. Great. I miss you. Have a great summer. Please write back."
Hannah, 10, finds the writing process, typically conducted during rest hour in her cabin atop a clipboard or book or against the wall, "sort of peaceful." She has written "like 20" in four weeks. Ruby's cabin B4 friend Sarah O'Connell, who's used to picking up her cellphone to talk to her parents, says picking up a pencil was hard at first.
"I didn't know what to do," says Sarah, 11, who's from Pennington, N.J. "I would write it, 'Dear Mom and Dad,' and then I'd write it all scribbly."
But she has since become a fan. "You feel more connected" to your family, Sarah says. As compared with e-mails — which Netimus, like a lot of camps, allow parents to send but not receive — letters are "more sincere," volunteers 11-year-old Remi Riordan, who's from A4 next door (and Montclair, N.J.). "It feels like it's really for you," vs. "there's a subject line and your name."
Sitting on her lower bunk a few screen doors down, amid tie-dyed laundry bags and Justin Bieber-emblazoned teen magazines, Hallie Cain, 11, of McLean, Va., is diligently working on a birthday card for her mom.
Gabby Birenbaum, the cabin's de facto philosopher on the compulsory epistle, is holding her 10th letter in two weeks, destined for her grandparents in West Bloomfield, Mich.
Does the exercise feel like something her parents did? "Like what my grandparents did," says Gabby, 11, who's from Arlington, Va.
"Camp is an opportunity to unplug and develop authentic relationships," Coleman says. "There really is no substitute for Mom or Dad's handwriting on a letter, the smell of Mom's perfume, the clipping dad has enclosed of a box score. You really can't replace that with technology."
And the thrill of the tangible goes both ways. For 11 months of the year, Amy Levine never ventures to her mailbox in Loveland, Colo., precisely when the postman arrives. But for the four weeks her daughters Lindsey, 11, and Josie, 7, were at Blue Star Camps in Hendersonville, N.C., this summer, she would run out to wait for him.
At the scheduled mail-drop time, "my husband instant-messages me, asking if we got any letters," says Levine, 41, a childhood camper turned Web developer who does let technology creep into her ritual: She quickly scans the girls' letters and e-mails them to her husband at work.
"Once you get that first happy letter, it's OK," Levine says.

By 
Olivia Barker, USA TODAY
MILFORD, Pa.
At Overnight Summer Camps, children are given the choice to take risks and try new things. This voluntary nature makes children more open to new experiences, with personal satisfaction as their motivation. Not only are there opportunities to try new things, but camp offers many areas for children to excel in. At a good general interest camp, the non-athlete can shine at arts and crafts, woodworking, or dramatic programs...
while the athlete can also find many outlets for their skills. Perhaps most importantly, the two campers learn to live together and become friends despite their varied interests.

Kids Summer Camps offer many opportunities to become competent. Practicing both new and old skills on a regular basis, it makes sense that there will be improvement. Novices have chances to learn, while those who are more experienced can improve. Learning new skills and improving on old ones builds self-esteem. Children become more independent and self-reliant at camp with their new found skills.

Sending your child to camp is giving them an opportunity to try something new. No matter how many after-school programs or lessons a child takes, its likely they will never have the opportunity to try all that is offered at summer camp. In a supportive environment, the child can try at something new. The interesting twist to these activities is that, since campers often don't know anyone else at camp before they go, they are more willing to try activities that their friends at home might not expect them to. The athlete can try out for the camp play, while the artist may dabble in sports. At camp, children can try new things and set their own goals for success.

Though years later, your child may not remember capture the flag games or the words to a camp song, the life lessons learned at camp will remain. At camp, a child learns how to take responsibility. The child who has never before made a bed, will learn how to smooth out sheets and blankets and tidy up a cubby. Though counselors will remind and encourage, campers quickly take responsibility for personal hygiene, and for more minor health issues, a camper learns to articulate what hurts and how to get help. All of this personal responsibility further fosters a sense of independence and self-esteem. Camp also improves a child's social skills by making new friends and learning how to reach out to strangers. At camp, children learn to get along with others, all while living together 24 hours a day, learning about courtesy, compromise, teamwork, and respect. Minnesota Camps

During a recent survey of campers in 20 different camps that where accredited by the American Camping Association provided answers to questions like "What did you learn at camp?" "How are you different in school because of what you did at camp last summer?" "How do you feel differently about yourself since you've been to camp?" American Camp Association

Can you think of things you learned and did at camp last summer that helped you in school this year? * I learned to have more patience and to appreciate the things I have. (10 year old female) * I feel that I am better at interacting with friends and family. The people skills learned at camp affected me dramatically when I went home. (15 year old male) * Leadership, organization, water-skiing, make my bed, keep my stuff clean, to keep in touch with my friends, respect, how to handle pressure. (13 year old female)

If explaining camp to friends, what would you say you learn here? * You learn mostly how to interact with different kinds of people and are open to different ideas. You learn how to cooperate well with others who share and don't share the same opinions as you. (15 year old female) * I learned to have fun, be a leader, discipline, and most of all - respect. (12 year old male) * You learn how to make new friends, learn different sports, and learn that camp can be a very good part of summer! (9 year old female)

Do you feel differently about yourself when you are at camp? * I feel differently because I feel like I am accomplishing something by being here. (13 year old female) * At school there are defined groups of people, but at camp, everyone feels wanted. (15 year old female) * Yes, because I'm with people my age and people who respect everyone. (11 year old male) * At camp I think that I can do more and be proud of myself. (13 year old female) * At camp I have a personality that is different from home. I'm less cautious to do fun or exciting things. I don't feel as alone as I sometimes do at home. (14 year old male) * When I'm at camp I feel that I can be more open with myself and others. I tell people things at camp I wouldn't speak of back home. I feel so much more in tune with myself here and I can discuss issues so much more openly. (15 year old male) * I don't have to be fake to anyone. Everyone here accepts me as I am and I'm not judged or criticized. (15 year old female)

Given the benefits of a sleepaway camp, it seems that all children should enroll. There are camps for almost all children, including those with special needs. However, there are certainly children who are not ready for an overnight camp experience. Be sure you and your child are ready to leave home.

Find out how to pick the
 Best Summer Camps.
If you and your youngster have talked and decided that he or she is ready for summer camp, there is a place to begin. A free Summer Campwebsite has been created by experienced directors of a long established camp to help you choose the best one for your child. This article will offer you some basic tips that can help you in making a well...

Informed decision

 

Choose a camp taking into account the requirements and desires of your youngster beyond your own preferences. Include your child in the search process and have an ongoing discussion about the important things that you and your kid want from attending the camp. A child is going to want to do what he or she thinks will be fun, and that really IS important. As a parent do you want your child to enhance particular skills, learn independence in a safe envoronment, or develop self-confidence? Together, take note of his or her special interests and find out if your child has any intellectual, social or physical issues that require consideration. Summer camp populations may be all girls, all boys, brother and sister or co-ed. At co-ed summer camps, boys and girls do participate in many supervised camp activities together. They share use of amenities such as dining halls and swimming and waterfront areas. Brother and sister camps provide structured opportunities for social interaction but most of the time facilities and activities are separate for girls and boys. Private summer camps are more expensive than nonprofit summer camps, but price does not always equate with the quality of a young camper's experience at that camp. It is recommended to anticipate extra expenses involved in choosing and going to summer camp such as extra canoe trip or activity charges and the cost of your visit to the camp. When you contact a camp you are considering, the director should be happy to give you complete information about the true cost of that camp. Keep in mind as you discuss this or other topics that the attitude of a camp's directors and staff will have more bearing on your child's experience than the cost. Typically the duration of a camp can range from one to eight weeks. Consider your child's readiness to be away from home, for days or overnight. Ongoing discussion with your child will be helpful, especially for balancing fear with anticipation and excitement. A first time camper will often face an adjustment and that may be temporarily challenging for some kids. Find out how the camp accommodates and deals with a first time camper's homesickness and the initial adjustment to camp life. A conversation about this area with a camp's director can also show you if the attitude so important to a good experience of camp is going to be there when your child arrives. Your child may want to join a camp with friends. Although it is natural for a youngster to want to go to camp with his or her friends, there are times when there is value in time away from accustomed peer pressures. When it comes to learning independence and developing self confidence there can be an advantage to starting fresh in an unfamiliar environment. Children usually have boundaries and achievement pressures when in school and at home, but at summer camp they are free to try different things with new friends. With the help of knowledgeable staff and counselors in the camp, campers of all ages can safely find out what works best and what doesn't in terms of interpersonal relationships. You can find out more about how to bring these opportunities to your child's life by visiting www.summercampadvice.com.
Summer camp can be a bridge to the world over which a child can carry the seeds of attributes already planted at home and in school. The right summer camp can be the ideal first step away from home and family, because a good summer camp is still a safe environment for learning independence. Summer camp is a place for fun and the joy and passion of growth free from the stress of modern fascination for achievement. Camp is a respite from the technology that can rule a child’s life and distract from human attributes rather than being a tool to implement them. A camper can discover and develop attributes like these over the course of every summer and have a great deal of fun doing so.........

Affirmation:  Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. Recognition from outside can turn into recognition from the inside. also known as confidence.
Art: Everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to, and a child who is free from the pressure of competitive achievement is free to be creative.
Challenge:  Encourage a child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
Compassion/Justice:  Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, we want our children to be active in helping to level it.
Contentment:  The need for more material things can be contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts we can give children is a genuinely content appreciation for with what they have… leaving them to find out who they are.
Curiosity:  Children need a safe place outside the home to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that need never be heard.
Determination: One of the greatest determining factors of success is the exercise of will. Children flourish when they are given independent opportunities to learn how to find the source of determination within themselves and exercise that determination.
Discipline: Discipline is really a form of concentration learned from the ground up, in arenas that include appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve dreams. Properly encouraged, self discipline can come to be developed into an self sustaining habit.
Encouragement: Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that a counselor or mentor might choose to speak can offer encouragement and create positive thoughts for a child to build from.  
Finding Beauty:  Beauty surrounds us. A natural environment can inspire our children find beauty in everything they see and in everyone they meet there.
Generosity: The experience of generosity is a great way for a child to learn it. Generosity is a consistent quality of heart regardless of whether the medium that reflects it is time, energy or material things.
Honesty/Integrity:  Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
Hope: Hope means knowing that things will get better and improve and believing it. Hope is the source of strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
Imagination: If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world of tomorrow will look nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
Intentionality: This word means the habit of pausing to find the intent behind each of the ongoing choices that comprise our lives. It is the moment of reflection toward one’s own source: slow down, consider who you are, your environment, where you are going and how to get there.  
Lifelong Learning: A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home and school but can be splendidly expanded at summer camp. A camper has fun being safely exposed, asking questions, analyzing the answers that expose more and having more fun doing it all again. In other words, learn to love learning itself.
Meals Together: Meals together provide an unparalleled opportunity for relationships to grow, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else.
Nature: Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
Opportunity: Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. 
Optimism: Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
Pride: Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments. Pride in the process is as important as pride in the results.
Room to make mistakes: Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of our patience. We need to give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes early, when consequences are so much less severe.
Self-Esteem: People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their own values and stick to them… even when no one else does.
Sense of Humor: We need to provoke laughter with children and laugh with them everyday… for our sake and theirs.
Spirituality: Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
Stability: A stable environment becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. Just as they need to know their place in the family, children need an opportunity to learn how to make their place amongst their peers. Children benefit from having a safe place to learn how stability is made and maintained outside the home.  
Time: Time is the only real currency.Children can learn to believe to respect the value of time long before they come to realize how quickly it can pass.
Undivided Attention: There is no substitute for undivided attention, whether it comes from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a camp counselor.
Uniqueness: What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
A Welcoming Place: To know that you are always welcome in a place is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in the world.
Along with lifelong friendships, the recognition and development of these attributes is the lasting gift of a child’s experience at summer camp. A summer at camp is the most fun possible way a child gets to experience what it is to be human.
Summer camp is usually thought of in terms of all the traditional activities and facilities that come to our mind, and those elements are indeed part of what makes the experience memorable. But the true essence of the experience of summer camp is human connection. The attributes in this article are qualities that are rediscovered and expanded by interaction with counselors, staff and other campers in a natural setting. The best summer camps are carefully staffed and creatively programmed by directors with this concept in mind.  As one director put it, “Our hope is to give the world better people one camper at a time.”
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Selecting a summer camp is no easy task and take a lot of leg work upfront to ensure a wonderful camp experience for your child. One of the best ways is to read reviews about overnight summer camps. Then formulate your questions from what folks are saying and call the camp directors. Click here to read Swift Nature Camps most recent reviews...
Choosing a summer camp for my son was so overwhelming.  The number of different programs and options that I uncovered during my research was daunting.  While I considered all things in my decision, facilities, activities, safety, staffing, location and price, I must say that a major factor in my eventual decision to send my son to Swift was my gut feeling.  When I called to ask questions about Swift, Lonnie made me feel so comfortable about the program and the care that the staff provide for the campers.  I’m so glad that I decided to go with my gut feelings.  My son had a wonderful three weeks at camp, and has been begging to be allowed to go to the six week session next summer since the moment we picked him up off the bus.  He got to try all sorts of new things at camp, and can’t wait to go back and improve his skills at canoeing - even though he’d never been in a canoe before, one of his favorite parts of camp was the canoe trip his cabin went on.  I am so happy to say that I was able to find my son a summer ‘home’ where he feels just as comfortable as he does at home - and where he gets to be with caring staffers that encourage him to try new things and improve his skills - he’s become much more self-confident.  In a sentence, this is two thank yous: One to Lonnie for making me feel so confident that my son would be cared for and happy and camp, and one to the entire camp staff for making my son feel so confident in himself.

Having a child that is a complete animal lover, I knew that I wanted to choose a animal summer camp that had a nature focus besides just being located in the woods.  I am happy to say that Swift satisfied my daughter’s never-ending desire to be outside, explore, play with animals, and just learn through experience.  When we dropped her off at camp, I visited the nature center, and I could tell that she would love it - all sorts of animals to interact with, and lots of things to learn and explore with, not just look at.  Though her letters home were short, they were filled with descriptions of the exploring that I hoped that she would be able to do - catching frogs, exploring the outdoors, hiking, learning about wildlife, and exploring different ecosystems. (She ‘retaught’ me that one - there are lots of areas for the campers to explore with the staff - woods, a bog, a pond, a lake, and more brushy areas.)  But in addition to that, we’ve noticed such progress in her personal responsibility since she came home - camp taught her to be more self sufficient.  She’ll clear her plates after dinner, and while she doesn’t do the laundry on her own, she at least untangles her clothes before she throws them in the basket now.  It was hard having her away from us for three whole weeks, but knowing how great a time she had and how much she grew as a young person, I can’t wait for her to be able to return next summer.

I’m happy to share that next summer will be my son’s 4th year at SNC - he’s still so excited and happy from this past summer that I’m surprised he let me unpack his suitcase.  Though he’s been to camp for three years now, every summer he learns something new and improves his skills - he’s never complained about being bored at camp, which is much more than I can say about being at home.  He gets to learn to do things that he would never get the opportunity to do living in the city - and he’s learning to do them safely.  I really wanted my son to be able to have experiences that he wouldn’t be able to have at home - going on camping trips, canoeing, learning to cook over a fire, and a little bit of learning to fend for himself - with adequate supervision of course.  One of his favorite things are the trips that the cabins get to go on - they get to spend time bonding with their group, and experiencing new challenges each year.  I cannot recommend SNC highly enough to other families.  Not only do the campers have a great time, but they continue to be entertained, excited, and challenged year after year.

Both my son and daughter have attended SNC over the past 5 years, and it has been a pivotal force in their development into responsible young adults.  At the end of every summer, they come home full of enough stories and memories to keep them talking for days.  My daughter’s favorite activities at camp have always been arts and crafts and archery, and I was really surprised this past summer when she really took a liking to riflery.  She brought home several of her targets, and you could see her improvement - she showed them off to all of our family members.  My son was an intermediate, but not very strong swimmer when he started camp, and he was proud to have made it to be a blue swimmer by the end of the session - the staff really worked with him to improve his swimming skills.  His favorites from camp were the nature center, and of course, swimming.  Every summer, they come home more self-reliant and self confident.  We’re already planning for next summer, when my daughter will be a counselor in training, and my son will be back for his third summer.  I can’t imagine how different my children would be if they hadn’t had Swift in their lives.

I was nervous about sending my daughter to summer camp for the first time, but I was excited when Jeff and Lonnie told me that Swift Nature Camp has a program just for first time campers.  That way I knew that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed or feel out of place - everyone would be starting on the same page as her, so she could be more comfortable.  I think that it was harder for me than it was for her - she followed the friendly counselor right on to the camp bus, but I was a little more hesitant about her being away from home the first time.  But it seemed that everyone at camp went out of their way to soothe my ‘mommy worries’ - Lonnie called to let me know that the bus had gotten to camp safely, I received a handwritten postcard from my daughter’s counselors during her first week at camp, and the office staff was always helpful and willing to talk when I called just to check on her.  She loved all the activities at camp, as well as the ‘field trips’ to the Lumberjack show and the ice cream shop in town.  She can’t wait to go back next summer, and while I’ll miss her while she’s at camp, I’m confident that Jeff and Lonnie will make sure that she is safe, happy, and cared for the whole time that she is there.


SNC is the best summer camp!  There are so many activities that you can choose from, and the counselors are really nice.  My favorite activity is going tubing with Jeff - it is the most fun when he drives the boat really fast so that you have to hold on tight to stay on.  I wasn’t sure about swimming in a lake at first, but seeing Wally (the water trampoline) changed my mind.  The waterfront is so much fun and you can go swimming everyday at free time if you want.  The food was really good, especially Taco Tuesdays.  I learned a lot of new things at Swift this summer, and I can’t wait to go back next year to see my friends.

Swift is my favorite place on earth.  I have made some of my best friends at camp, I keep in touch with them all year long, and none of us can wait to get on the bus to go to camp in the summer.  The counselors come up with really crazy fun things to do in the cabin, and all of the regular activities are really exciting too.    My favorite thing at camp is the trips, because you get to go out with just your counselors and cabin friends and do fun things like canoeing and swimming.  Of course the BEST part of camping trips is when you get to make S’mores.  I miss camp so much when I’m at home that sometimes I even get ‘campsick’!  

Next summer will be my 3rd year as a camper at Swift Nature Camp, and I can’t wait to go back.  I’m so excited to see all the friends from my cabin for another year, and get to see the counselors again.  The best thing about camp is going up to the Nature Center, where you can play with the animals and do cool nature activities.  We caught the BIGGEST frog, and got to keep it up in the nature center for a couple of days so that everyone could come and look at it.  It was huge!  There is lots of other fun things to do at camp too.  My favorite things beside the nature center are fishing, archery, and swimming in the lake.  The counselors are really nice and are good at teaching you new things and helping you to work on your achievement awards.  I’d never done archery before I came to camp, and next summer I want to get my Level 2 Achievement award.  I hope that lots of kids will want to come to Swift so that I can make new friends this summer!


I’ll admit that when I showed up at Swift Nature Camp for my first day of orientation, I was nervous.  I knew that I loved camp, I had attended several different camps as a child, and had even worked at another summer camp during the previous summer.  And while I loved my time at that camp, I never really felt like I fit in as part of the camp family.  I am happy to say that Swift is 100% where my camp family is.  As a staff member, I always felt like my input was valued and respected, and help was available whenever I needed it - even when all that I needed was someone to listen for a few minutes.  After my first summer at Swift, I returned as a staff member for four more years - and I would be lying if I did not admit that I’m still looking for a way to get my summers off so that I could go back as a staff member again.  I’ve gone back to visit since my summers working, and getting to lead activities with the campers, and see them learn new things and succeed is so exciting.  Swift is my summer home...having spent a significant amount of time there, and having seen everything up front and behind the scenes, I can say that I hope that when I have children, it can be their summer home as well.

Being an Elementary Education major, I knew that I wanted to spend my summer getting new experiences working with children.  While I’d volunteered at extracurricular programs and worked with youth groups, I had never worked at a summer camp before.  SNC’s two week staff orientation really eased my worries before the first day of camp.  The administrative and returning staff members went over everything that we needed to know in depth: how to teach activities, leading trips, building cabin bonds, managing behaviors, and all sorts of tips and tricks to really make sure that the campers had a great time at camp.  Being able to teach the campers skills was great - it’s amazing to see the look on their face when they first really ‘get it’ - learn just how to steer a canoe, perfect their archery shot, or light a ‘one match’ fire.  At the end of my first summer as a camp counselor I’m proud to say that I knew that I had made a positive impact on all the campers that I came into contact with, and made friends that I will keep in contact with far into the future.

Every year, Kohl's recognizes and rewards young volunteers (ages 6-18) across the country for amazing contributions to their communities. This year we are recognizing more than 2,100 kids with more than $415,000 in scholarships and prizes. We know our SNC Camp kids are always getting involved. TELL US YOUR STORY and we will nominate you to Khol’s Cares Scholarship Program.

Swift Nature Camp should be on your gift list!

The holidays are coming. And, once again, you're probably wondering what to get your children as a gift. Is your home already filled with every type of electronic item a child can want? We all have to much stuff so why not provide an experience that will live long past all the other stuff has been recycled.

Summer camp is all about making relationships and connections while many of the other gifts given these days isolate children from each other. instead this year give the gift that will reconnect them.

Consider giving your children the gift of CAMP! Camp doesn't need wrapping and its batteries won't wear out. And, unlike this year's hot, new toy, it is a gift your kids will remember well into adulthood ... we promise!

And camp will bring them other wonderful gifts, such as confidence, independence and self-discovery. Not to mention the gift of summer friendships.

 

It's true that we all have our moments in which we just want to chill out in front of a lit-up screen. But summer is an ideal time for your child to take an extended break from all the electronics and become immersed in the real world, in realtime with real experiences and real opportunities for genuine growth. It is the ultimate 24/7 playdate -- and it is the ultimate gift you can give your child.

Yes, gift certificates are available please give us an email or call so we can get it to you in time for the Holidays.

The best way to save money on Summer camp is to start looking today.

Today you maybe thinking spring break but you should be thinking about summer and camp for your children. For many summer camp is that annual rite of passage where kids learn to row a boat, swim in a lake, and appreciate the sun setting over a lake. The American Camp Association (ACA) estimates the average cost of overnight summer camp at around $85 per day per, this includes the less expensive church camps at a few hundred a week to the private camps at over $1000 per week. 

Sounds pricy? You bet, but when you break it down to an hourly rate it cheaper than a movie. Here are just a few strategies that will help you best fit your child with camp at a price that is within your budget:
 

1. Begin as early as possible.

It takes time to do the research and compare camps so start well before the summer is upon you. Once you have found camps with in your budget that you think your child will like, give them the choice. Here is the point often discounts are available for campers that sign up early. Planning ahead will gives you more time to save up for camp. At Swift Nature Camp we encourage families to start paying a few hundred every month as early as February so when the bill comes in June it is very manageable. 
 

2. Scholarships exist.

 
Swift Nature Camplike other camps believes that every child should go to camp so we offer financial assistance programs. We look for donations plus we match our donations but these are on a first-come, first-served basis so funds do run out. Camps provide scholarships at a sliding scale don't think that your salary level will knock you out. 

3. Consult your accountant.

 
Even if you don't qualify for scholarships or other discounts, you may be able to pay for day camp for kids under 13 using pre-tax dollars in a dependent care flexible spending arrangement (FSA). The IRS caps dependent care FSAs at $5,000 per year, and your employer withholds money from each paycheck to fund the plan.
Also consider the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which allows taxpayers to deduct up to 35 percent of their childcare expenses, up to a maximum of $6,000. "My best advice is to check with a tax planning professional and keep track of expenses," says Golden.

4. Other savings.

 
If you enrolling multiple children to the same summer camp, you may qualify for a multi-child discount. A trend is to fill open bunks with a Groupon deal so keep looking for those. However, these are often at the end of the summer. If a traditional summer camp is outside your budget try looking more local at day programs or week long camps. Some of the best values for summer programs are local park districts, universities or community centers. Don’t rule out churches, local libraries, nonprofits like the YMCA, or scouting groups they often provide affordable summer programs.

5. Consider value, when selecting a summer camp.

 
A favorite saying in among camp directors is “the memories of camp far outlast the price of camp”. It is so true 30 years from now your child will still have a sweat spot in their memory about camp and the price will long be forgotten. Prices should play an important role in your decision, but it should not the only factor when selecting where to send your child. 

The bottom line is camp is highly successful and regardless of cost (according the the ACA) 70% of parents said their child gained self-confidence at camp and nearly as many said their child remains in contact with friends made at camp. Therefore, a good summer camp program can create lasting memories and shape your child's development well into adulthood.

To learn more about 
selecting the right summer camp see SuumerCampAdvice.com
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Winter

25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036

swiftcamp@aol.com

Camp

W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666

swiftcamp@aol.com

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