Local News

Cost, Crowding Keep Some Kids Out of Camp

Posted June 7, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Summer camps around the Triangle are filling up quickly, now that most public schools have closed for the year. Camp options are even more limited for families with tight budgets.

The biggest concern low income families have when it comes to summer camps for their kids is cost, and right behind that is timing. When does it start? How long does it last? How will my child get there?

There are some options for these families, but they are limited.

Kisha Leslie is using her summer vacation to write in her journal. That's just one of the things kids do at the Raleigh Girls and Boys Clubs. For many low-income families the only alternative to this, is leaving kids home alone.

Programs such as the one at the Boys and Girls Club are a relief for working parents.

"The kids come in here and have a great program to attend all day long, lots of supervision, lots of activity, and as you can see they're pretty energetic," says Girls Club Director Joan White.

But there are not enough affordable programs for low income families. School social worker Michael Ferris says there needs to be more.

"There are limited amounts out there, but they're not always easy to access, and if they do find them, funding isn't always available," says Ferris.

Most programs cost at least $20 per child, per week. In some cases, scholarships are available. The need is so great that one free program, the National Youth Sports Program at Saint Augustine's College, has received hundreds of applications.

The National Youth Sports Camp is almost full, but is still taking some children.

Wake County has a summer playground program at 29 locations starting June 15, and the Boys and Girls Clubs have already started their summer programs, but they do still have space available.

These programs have fairly low costs, but those interested should call quickly, because they are filling up.