Your kids might have loved their experience at summer camp in Texas, but that doesn’t mean the cost was any easier for your household. With today’s economy still recovering (slowly) from the recession, budgets remain tight, and vacations, even positive Christian ones, have been cut by a lot of parents. If prospects for next year are already looking a little dire for summer camp expenses, you don’t have to completely rule it out. No matter how old your children are, it’s not impractical or cruel to make them responsible for raising the money. They’ve got a lot of months before applications are due again. Even without jobs, most kids can probably save enough to cover all of the expenses—but a better idea is to teach them the value of fundraising.
Fundraising is actually a pretty critical life skill these days. In high school and college, if they ever have the opportunity to go on a mission trip, often participants are expected to pay their whole way, and that’s often done through fundraising. Professionally, it’s a growing industry, though it’s usually called “development.” Colleges, non-profits, and school boards are all expected to conjure up fundraising ideas and then implement them. If kids have the experience of raising money to attend summer camp in Texas, those more significant fundraising opportunities (or responsibilities) will seem much less daunting.
Like “encouraging” them to do chores, the biggest hurdle to overcome is motivation. Telling your kids that fundraising for a summer camp in Texas will ready them for a job in development probably won’t work as a selling point. If they’re teenagers, they have a social life, extracurricular activities, and possibly a part-time job. If that’s the case, encouraging saving might be your best approach. If they’re very young and simply financially unmotivated, though, most kids respond well to immediate goals and rewards: not just the faraway promise of camp again.
The best fundraising ideas for summer camp in Texas are fun activities that don’t require a lot of obvious work. Traditional things like bake sales and car washes can sometimes be effective, but they’re a bit overused and require a lot more planning on the parents’ part. Scheme up with your kids to think of some practical means to raise money—usually things they can do independently. Offering neighborhood dog washes is a creative and easy opportunity to make a few dollars; just about every pet owner needs it, and no one likes doing it. Create a seasonal strategy for yard work; advertise general services in case friends or neighbors need help with a random chore; just think outside the box! It’s probably fine to cheat a bit too: telling grandparents and other relatives to give a check towards camp instead of a Christmas present.
As a parent, you can help encourage their progress with some rewards. Set benchmarks, goals for them to reach gradually, and offer them larger and larger prizes for raising the money. Camp supplies are an obvious and fun choice: a new Bible for their first $50 raised, a headlamp or sleeping bag for the final goal. You might not be able to afford to pay their whole way through summer camp in Texas, but small, incremental prizes can get them to pay for everything themselves.