Recently Monroe Moore, who comes to Camp Common Ground from North Carolina with his partner and three children, wrote to us explaining his family’s tactic for saving for Camp fees:
“We have a jar on our kitchen counter that is labeled ‘miscellaneous or Camp Common Ground.’ We, as a family, put all of our cash and coins in it. When the kids ask for something we don’t need, we discuss whether we want to take money out of the Camp Common Ground fund or not. It’s working for all of us to commit to saving for something together.”
Although Camp Common Ground is a very affordable vacation compared to many, and a great value for all that’s offered, we know that it can be hard to sit down and make a payment. We felt so inspired by Monroe’s comment that we wanted to take this opportunity to share some strategies for making Camp a little more affordable.
First of all, Monroe’s penny jar! OK, so when you get home from work or errands or where ever your travels take you, drop the loose change from your pocket in the jar. Yes, this may not add up to your full tuition fee over the course of the winter, but you’d be surprised how it can add up to be quite a chunk of change. What we really love about Monroe’s tactic, however, is that the whole family is involved. His children are young – ages 4, 7, and 9 – and yet they are still able to weigh the benefit of having something now or an experience later. By seeing the jar sitting on the counter, they get to think about all the fun they had last time they were at Camp; they can think about Kidville, the friends they made, the cabin they slept in, the fun in the pond……And by the time their week to be in Vermont comes this year, the satisfaction will be all the more sweeter.
The loose change jar also works for our other programs. For example, the goal of our program Camp Kaleidoscope is to provide families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder an opportunity to create lasting, positive memories as a family. The jar is a great excuse to relive those memories throughout the year. When you and your kids drop change in the jar, or decide to keep some in instead of buying something else, you can laugh about a story from camp or conjure up the feeling of grass on bare feet in the middle January.
Another great way to make Camp a little more affordable is to sign up early and talk to Elin about a payment plan when you register. She will gladly divide your fees into monthly installments that make those payments a little easier to make. This only works, however, if you sign up early! By registering today, for example, she can still divide your fees into four equal payments, but the longer you wait, the larger each payment will be.
Thanks Monroe, Lupe, Beatrice, Oliver, and Maria for sharing!