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Heading Into Summer: What’s New at Summer Camps in 2017

The weather is warming up, school is letting out and you can just feel that summer is in the air! This year the American Camp Association reports that more than 14 million children will attend camp in the U.S. at one of the more than 14,000 day and resident camps. While many things about the unique summer camp industry remain the same, there are a few interesting changes at play this summer.

Camp tuition prices are rising, making the potential customer base for summer camps even smaller: According to the American Camp Association, the average day camp costs $304 per week, while overnight camp tallies up at $690 but can be as high as $2,000 a week. It’s not unusual to see camp tuition prices rise year to year, but we are definitely seeing many camps (especially traditional overnight) reach an extremely high price point. While not necessarily a bad thing, this reduces the potential customer base for each camp significantly. There are about 3 million potential customers in the US who make over $500,000 a year. If you reduce that down by geographic location, you are talking about very small customer pools for many traditional overnight camps.

Other-summer options, such as sports, science and college camps, are growing as alternatives: There have always been alternatives to summer camp, but we are definitely seeing these “other-summer options” growing as real alternatives to summer camp. Especially for kids who have already shown a great deal of promise in sports or academia, these options tend to be less expensive and are readily available in almost every city. This summer you will see many STEM/STEAM and robotics camps popping up, in addition to speciality sports and arts camp.

Parents are beginning to see the value in overnight camps: While day camps are extremely popular among all types of families, more and more parents are beginning to see the value in the overnight camp experience. Overnight camps, now more than over, are able to showcase that campers grow in independence and self-confidence while at camp, in addition to helping foster communication and collaboration skills while at camp.

As summer 2017 rolls in, camps will need to further prove the value of their experiences as costs rises and alternatives grow. Each camp will also need to work to showcase their uniquenesses and prove out the benefits of attending their program. That being said, campers across the country are in for another amazing summer!

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