no camp for you!

Last summer we added up the cost of putting all three girls into a week-long summer camp, and then quietly closed our laptops and acted as if was perfectly normal for a sane, loving family to pay that much money for a week’s worth of activities.

Long story short, there was no camp last year.

It’s not that I want to get rid of my kids for a week. It’s just that we don’t often get to place them all in activities because the cost gets so high with three kids. And since summer gives us a break from paying for preschool, I figured it would be fun to give them SOMETHING to do besides hanging out with me all day. Every day.

Did I mention all day? And every day?

This summer, I was looking through the YMCA catalog and declared how inexpensive the camps were for members, which we are, because the pool is awesome and sometimes you just have to have somewhere to take your children for two hours while you exercise or read a book or do whatever it is you do with your spare time. I can’t judge because I’ve been known to look at the clock after my workout and say “Hey! I’ve still got 30 minutes!” and then sneak around to the vending machines for some important post-gym social media time. Luckily the kids love it in the daycare, where they take part in activities that they never get to do at home, like color and play with brightly colored plastic toys.

Anyway, I scoured the YMCA online catalog for camp weeks that a) had 2 spots available for the twins in Theme Camps, and had a spot available for Zoe in Kinder Camp, b) were held at schools in our area, and c) weren’t completely lame. Since the Theme Camp and Kinder Camp were in no way aligned with similar themes in the same weeks, I had Rachel and Claire heading to Art Camp! while Zoe would be attending Camp Snooze. Or Zoe could go to Swim Camp! while the twins went to Camp I Want to Go Home.

Honestly, they would have had fun no matter which theme we picked, so I bit the bullet and chose something that I thought they all would like, and I started the registration process, where I quickly learned that there would be a $30 registration fee. Per kid.

Why they don’t just tack on $30 to the camp fee, well that is one of life’s great mysteries. What does it all mean? $30 to print my kids’ name on a list? $30 to pay for your internet connection for the instantaneous delivery of my online forms? The registration process itself was just short of traumatizing, with all the invasive questions like “What is your child’s middle name?” and “What is your child’s birthday?” and so on and so forth. So I’d like to think that *I* should get $30 back in my pocket.

Once I got everyone’s camps and registration fees into the online cart and looked at the total, I figured I should just kind of give a little heads up of sorts to Christian that I was about to blow our monthly grocery budget so I could have a little alone time. I mean, you can’t exactly put a price on sanity, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

And he immediately nixed that idea, because well, we would rather spend that money on some weekend trips we have planned, and I supposed we do need groceries more than I need alone time.

So if you need me on any given day, I’ll be “on the treadmill,” which is code for hiding in the YMCA bathroom with my book.




Join the Conversation


  1. Does the parks department offer anything? Or are they super expensive? That’s where we used to go as kids. It was twice a week for the entire summer.

    1. You know, I didn’t even think about that. You’d think I would know. Turns out they do! It’s the same price as the Y, but without the dumb registration fees. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I don’t get why camp costs so much these days. It used to take me hours to try and hide their camp crafts in the bottom of the garbage can at the end of a week. Surely that time spent amounts to something.

  3. The expensive grocery store in our town has child care. When my kids were little, I may have taken an hour to get milk several times a week.

  4. I rejoined the Y this summer specifically for the childcare (and some exercise I suppose) but then my youngest freaked out so badly when I tried to leave her that we haven’t been back. So bummed.

  5. We have one – count it, one – camp scheduled for this summer. I found the only camp in the universe that will take both boys at the same time on the same days: golf. It’s outside, in August. They’ll be fine, right??

    Oh, I hear you on the all day, every day thing. At the beginning of the summer I say this: “I want to have summer with my kids, and enjoy all of their littleness before they grow up and don’t want to hang out with me.”

    About week 2.5, I say this: “Camp costs be damned! Who still has spots available?!”

    I haven’t been exactly productive this summer, but I have had a lot of quality time with the kids. Nice trade off, I think. Even if I do regularly lose my freaking mind for a few minutes (or hours).

    1. June was rough, but I’m really enjoying July. Like REALLY enjoying it. I’m really starting to get sad about school starting in a little over a month.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to Kari Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *