How to find a Summer Camp Scholarship

Families often find the price of summer camp shocking when they first start looking at camp. Few families are aware of summer camp scholarship option. You have probably heard of scholarships in the context of college, but summer camp scholarships exist in a very similar fashion. They essentially act as a summer camp tuition grant to offset the costs of camp. Let’s dive in a little deeper.


What is the difference between a summer camp scholarship and campership? 

Summer camp scholarships and camperships are essentially the same thing. They happen to be two terms for the same thing, a summer camp tuition grant. Ther terms are found interchangebaly in organizations with the summer camp industry cleverly coining the term “campership”. Summer camp scholarships are typically given to families who demenstrote financial hardship. There are not any hard and fast guidelines on what qualifies. These qualifications will change from camp to camp.

Ann Sheets, former national president of the American Camp Association estimated, “About 90 percent of resident camps and 89 percent of day camps offer scholarships.” Below are some tips that can help you identify campership opportunities.

6 Tips for acquiring a Summer Camp Scholarship

  1. Start Early. If you think that you might be eligible for a campership, start the process as early as possible. Do your research on what summer camps you hope to attend and start making phone calls. Unfortunately, camperships are limited and are often require an application and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Enquire about summer camp financial aid early in your communication with summer camps.
  2. Consider camps outside your price range. Sticker shock is real, especially to families who are evaulating camps for the first time. However, you should be evaluating camps on more than just cost. Don’t limit yourself to camps based on price. Summer camp professionals believe strongly in the experience of camp and will work with you to ensure that children get the best experience possible.
  3. Be flexible. Camps want to make sure every child enjoys the benefits of camp. However, if you do qualify for a summer camp scholarship, you might not get first pick on what dates your child will attend camp. 
  4. Be prepared. When determining allotments for summer camp scholarships, camps typically use families latest tax returns to determine summer camp financial aid. They will typically ask for your last year’s 1040.
  5. Communicate with your child about expectations at summer camp. You are making a large sacrifice, both monetarily and time investmest to provide the most enriching experiences for your child. Similarly, summer camps are financially providing a campership grant. Bringing something unique to camp, creating special experience, and participating fully are all signs of strong desire to be at camp. Summer camps expect greatnesss out of all campers, but being on scholarship, camps expect campership campers to really create a special experience for themselves and fellow campers.
  6. Respond promptly and engage the summer camp throughout the process. This is related to #1 on the list. But beyond just getting started early, make sure you are actively responding and staying engaged in the summer camp scholarship process. The summer camp staff may require several documents or have some follow up questions. They are not trying to nag you, but just ensuring they are able to get your children into camp.

Summer Camp Scholarship Funds

Summer camp scholarship funds come from a varitey of sources. They typically fall into two major categories, summer camp funded scholarships and external, third party funded camperships.

Summer Camp Funded Camperships

As mentioned at the beginning of the post a majority of summer camps have scholarship funds. Camp professionals believe strongly in the benefits of camp and want to make sure that as many kids as possible get the summer camp experience.

Camp alumni, staff and camp families often donate to their summer camp scholarship funds. There is no master list or resource for which ones do and don’t have funds. But the funds are limited. Be sure to call early and enquire about camp funded camperships.

Outside Organization Funded Camperships

Many outside organizations offer summer camp scholarships. Some of the best places to check are your church organizations, social community organizations like the Lions Club, or other teen organizations your children are involved in. It is even possible if you have a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account to use those funds for camp on a pre-tax basis. 

There are options out there on how to pay for camp. You just have to ask. Finally, realize that most camps aim to offer scholarships to campers who will be community leaders and contribute in a unique, positive way to the camp culture. Be prepared for providing examples and reasons for why your child would enrich the camp community! 

If you are starting your search for the right summer camp program for your child, feel free to click the link below to learn more about a complete guide to choosing the right summer camp:






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