Advice For Parents

Invest in your kids by sending them to camp

Bob Strodel
Invest in your kids by sending them to camp

The last eight years, areas of the economy that have been fairly predictable in the past have experienced a level of unprecedented uncertainty.

But one thing is for certain — one of the most important, and largest, investments we make in life, and in our future, is in the raising of our children.

In its 2014 Expenditures on Children in Families report, the United States Department of Agriculture tried to determine the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 18.

The report showed that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation) for food, housing, child care and education, and other child-rearing expenses up to age 18. Families in the urban Northeast incurred the highest costs to raise a child ($282,480).

Housing makes up approximately 1/3 of that number, but still, it is staggering to see the bottom-line conclusion.

Part of those expenses should include what I believe is one of best and safest investments you can make — sending your child to camp.

Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, while delivering a recent keynote address to a large conference of camping professionals said, “No matter what the background of a child, camp opens doors, exposing children to possibilities and opportunities they might never know could be theirs. Camp transports kids with everything to a place where they have close to nothing. In so doing, it takes kids away from things they value, to teach them the things of real value.”

Camp is a temporary summer community involving an outdoor environment, with a child-centered program, safely conducted by trained leaders. The temporary community is created away from the normal distractions of life. It is amazing the “noise” we have to deal with from the television, iPods, video games and cell phones.

Sharing a cabin with others means having responsibilities and learning to respect each other and their property. When issues arise, campers have an opportunity to become more independent by resolving problems without the help of mom and dad.

The outdoor setting is a great place for that community because it is safe, healthy and provides openness and conversation as campers learn real-life skills. To provide a great support network at our camps, we hire a staff that possesses character, and we train them to share their skills and spirit with the campers. Isn’t this an investment you want to make in your kids?

Bob Strodel is the Executive Director of Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run, located in Alton.

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