Camp Costs and Inflation

We understand that the cost of summer camp has notably risen, presenting a considerable financial commitment for families, particularly when compared to last year's prices. According to the American Camp Association, the average daily expense for camp is around $87, totaling $435 per week, which can quickly accumulate to over $1700 per month. This surge in costs is reflective of inflation, which affects various facets of our lives.

In response to these challenges, the YMCA of San Diego County has had to adjust fees, with summer camp expenses rising approximately 5% over the past year. Factors such as increased minimum wage requirements, as well as elevated utility and insurance costs, contribute to this uptick in pricing. Despite rising costs, the Y offers various solutions to help families afford to send their child(ren) to camp.

Opportunities For Financial Assitance

Recognizing the importance of making camp accessible to all is essential to our mission. The YMCA of San Diego County strives for every child to be able to experience the life-changing experiences camp can offer. As part of our yearly efforts, the YMCA of San Diego County has raised over $8 million — which is largely delegated to helping families around the county. Through a variety of YMCA scholarships, families can access financial assistance covering partial or full program costs, based on eligibility criteria. These financial assistance programs include:

  • Third-party payments.
  • Scholarships offered by local civic organizations (such as the YMCA).
  • Child & dependent care tax credit (potential offset of expenses by up to $3,000).

Visit our scholarships page or stop by your nearest YMCA branch to learn more about subsidized payment options and scholarship opportunities.

Flexible Camp Opportunties

Families seeking to manage costs might consider sending their child to camp for a portion of the summer. The Y offers a variety of camps, ranging from traditional camps, where all the fun happens at the Y, versus specialty camps — which cater to specialized experiences/interests, often being more expensive. Parents can save money by mixing up traditional and specialized camps throughout the summer. 

Our camps offer working parents flexibile windows for drop-off and pick-up. Supplemental to flexible camp drop-off and pick-up, select locations offer extended care both before and after the standard camp operating hours.* Parents may check their camp location(s) to see all drop-off/pick-up time windows — plus participating branches extended care hours.

*Extended care is offered free-of-charge at: Toby Wells YMCA, YMCA Camp Surf, T. Claude & Gladys B. Ryan Family YMCA, and Copley-Price Family YMCA. Paid extended care sites include: Dan McKinney Family YMCA, Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, and Joe & Mary Mottino Family YMCA. 

"My kid had a great time! For me, flexible drop off and pick up times was so helpful."
— Summer 2023 Day Camp Parent

Secure Your Spot Today!

It's worth noting that the demand for camps has surged post-COVID, with some camps reaching capacity as early as March. To secure a spot for your child, we suggest you enroll your child(ren) as soon as possible. By planning ahead and exploring available financial assistance options, families can navigate the evolving landscape of summer camp expenses while ensuring their children have a memorable and fun-filled summer! Visit our camp page today to explore all our offerings.

We're On CBS 8 San Diego!

Executive Vice President, Shelly Mctighe-Rippengale, talks with CBS News 8 about the rising cost of camp and the resources available to families in need of financial assistance. Watch the story here: