When You Think You Can’t Afford Summer Camp, You Can

galileo-1While it’s only February, the summer camp scheduling craze has already begun.  As a working parent, I rely heavily on summer camps to make it through the summer with my children still living and my sanity intact.  Summer camps are expensive, there’s no doubt about it.  So we sprinkle a little of everything into our summer: days at the pool, days with Grandpa, days at the community center spent playing outside, and days at Camp Galileo that provide hands-on education with innovation.

But what do you do when you really can’t afford summer camp?

My god-daughter had wanted to go to Camp G for years, but her mom never thought she couldn’t afford it.  She’s a single parent on one income.  While she works full-time and needs help in the summer, she found the local community center’s summer daycare to be the cheapest option. When you have one income, cheap is your friend.  Cheap makes sure you can still pay your bills.  Cheap means that you can have money for groceries.

Over the years, I tried to convince my friend that she needed to save some extra money and send her daughter to Camp G with my son for just one week.  Try it, I told her.  She’s going to love it, I told her.  This isn’t your normal camp, I told her. This will change her life.  Open doors. Let her see what’s possible in the world, I told her.

What I didn’t know then is that Galileo Learning, the company behind Camp Galileo and Summer Quest, gives away over 1,500 weeks of camp every summer in their scholarship program.   My friend found out about the scholarship program while researching the camp’s website.  She applied for a scholarship and her daughter was accepted last year.

Last July, my nine year old god-daughter attended her first week of “real camp” as she called it.  She loved every moment.  When I picked her up every afternoon with my son, she would sit and tell me all about her day.  Her team leader would tell me how enthusiastic my god-daughter was about every task.  She participated, she helped other kids, she made friends, she fit in, she grew, she expanded her world.

I’m so thrilled that a company like Galileo Learning believes in camp for everyone.  I’m proud that my god-daughter was one of those 1,500 kids whose lives were positively impacted by learning to envision and create a better world. 1,500 kids who get a week immersed in design thinking, creative problem solving, and innovation strategies. 1,500 kids who thought they’d never get to go to camp like Camp G because their families couldn’t afford it.   Thanks to Galileo Learning, those 1,500 kids found out that just when you think you can’t afford summer camp, you can.  And it will change your world.

Disclosure: Galileo Learning and I are working together on a series of posts in exchange for a free week of camp.  Since my son was an entering Kindergartner, we’ve been a part of the Camp Galileo family.  Some summers, I’ve paid out of my own pocket for four weeks there.  Some summers, it’s been just one.  Camp Galileo is the first camp we schedule.  I’ll be paying for additional weeks at camp because my son loves it that much.

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