Last night, Hubby and I sat at the kitchen table and sifted through the mountain of flyers and brochures we collected from three summer camp fairs. I had prepared a summer camp worksheet, listing columns for each of the 13 weeks we have to keep our two boogers safe, busy, and happy; the chosen camp or activity; and the cost. Nine weeks are accounted for and I’ll ask my mom if she can help us with the two-week gaps at the beginning and end of summer.
In total, it appears that we’ll get some high-quality programming for less than we budgeted for camp. Yippee! So, shopping around and being a nit does pay off. For example, the Mad Science camp that one exclusive (exclusionary?) school in northwest Washington, DC is offering for $600 per week will be offered at Mae and Jay’s school for $415 per week. After meeting a Mad Science rep at the first fair we attended, I asked if the company planned to be at any Prince George’s County locations. She told me that they wanted to, but the Prince George’s school system doesn’t allow companies to rent space. I gave her the name and phone number of the principal at the kids’ private school, and then followed up with an email to the principal, asking her to consider talking to Mad Science about hosting the camp program. It worked!
This entire summer planning exercise has been baffling. When I was growing up, we (siblings, cousins, neighbors, and I) spent summers playing in the woods, on the railroad tracks, and pretty much wherever we wanted as long as we stayed out of trouble. And, the extent of “trouble” was plucking fruit from trees in the yards of stingy neighbors or being too rough in playing dodgeball or kickball. If our parents knew something about summer camp, they didn’t tell us.
Hubby and I found two camp fairs in Montgomery County and one in Anne Arundel County. No summer camp fairs in Prince George’s County. One would think that Prince George’s families do not send their children to summer camp. Maybe the children are in the woods or on the tracks, or at grandmother’s house? Or, maybe camp programs do not market to Prince George’s families because the median household income is only $71,696 as compared to $93,895 in Montgomery County and $82,616 in Anne Arundel (2008, Census Bureau). Or, maybe it’s that the Prince George’s population is 65.6 percent African American and 13.5 percent Hispanic or Latino while 17.5 percent and 16.1 percent of Montgomery residents are African American and Hispanic or Latino, respectively, with lower percentages in Anne Arundel (2009, Census Bureau)?
There are so many enriching and fun summer programs in the DC metro area. I hope that the families who need or want the programs are able to successfully navigate the waters.