Woo hoo! Summer is here. A lot of people love autumn in Portland, but I prefer summer. The weather is usually very good and it doesn’t get too hot and muggy here. School is also out. We live near Portland State University and the whole area slows down a little bit in the summer. There is less traffic and the campus is much less crowded. It’s nice. RB40Jr finished preschool 2 weeks ago, but he was sick the whole time. He got a fever that turned into a painful ear infection. We all slept terribly for a while because he kept waking up crying in the middle of the night. We’d get up and watch TV until he falls asleep on the couch. I read that ear infection is more painful when you lie down and sitting up to watch TV actually helped a lot. He is on the mend now so we’re all getting back to our normal sleep schedule. This week he is starting summer day camp at his old preschool. It cost $99 per week for half days which is very cheap. I plan to send him to camp every other week so we’ll have some summer free time. I also looked at other summer camps and they cost quite a bit more. When did summer become so expensive?
I’m 42 so I am not that old. When I was a kid, my family did not have any extra money and the kids never went to summer camp. We immigrated to the US when I was 12 so I guess that’s another reason why I’m not familiar with the summer camp concept. I was old enough to watch my younger brothers and we just hung out in the summer. We played at home, went swimming, went to the library, went to the park, and read a lot. None of my friends at school talked about summer camp either. Most kids were from middle and low income families so I guess summer camp wasn’t a common experience at my old public schools.
Now a day, we are doing much better financially so summer camp could be an option for us. It’s probably a necessity for most families with 2 working parents. If you’re working full-time, you have to arrange some sort of childcare for the kids. Even if the kid is 12 year old, you don’t want him/her to sit at home all day and play video games. Summer is a good opportunity to learn more about things that aren’t taught in school. RB40Jr is 5 this summer and I’m starting to look at various summer camps around town. I don’t see much of the typical summer camp where you send the kids off for 3 weeks. I’m wondering if this is an east coast thing. Locally, I see a lot of week long day camps that center on a particular activity or attraction. There are a few week long sleepaway camps. Here are some of them.
- Zoo camp: $297 per week for non members. Kids learn more about animals at the zoo.
- OMSI camp: $350 to $700 per week for non members. There are a bunch of different camps at the Science Museum. The cheaper camps are at OMSI. The week long field trips are more expensive.
- Sports camps: $100 to $300 per week. Kids try soccer, martial art, yoga, rock climbing, tennis, fencing, rowing, etc..
- Trackers: $325 to $525 per week. Kids learn about wilderness survival, archery, wizards, ninja, and all sorts of other fun stuff.
- Farm camps: $300 per week: Kids can spend time at the farm and learn where food comes from.
There are quite a few interesting camps. At this age, he probably would enjoy the zoo camp the most. The wilderness survival camp sounds like something that would be fun when he’s a bit older. The price isn’t cheap, though. You can easily spend over $1,000 per month on these weekly camps.
This summer, we’ll stick with the weekly camp at junior’s preschool. I think every other week is just about right. We’ll have time to hang out and enjoy all the fun summer activities outside of school. There are a ton of free summer activities in Portland. We’ll go camping at least once too. Let’s see what fun stuff we can do this summer.
- Movies at the park – Jaws at a nearby park! That will be fun for the kid. 😀
- Summer concert at the zoo – This one isn’t free, but it is a great setting for a concert. The Buena Vista Social Club would be a lot of fun.
- Camping at Crater Lake – I’m looking forward to this trip in July.
- Trip to the beach – Oregon dunes and seafood, yumm…
- Free concerts at the park – I love our Park & Rec. There are a ton of concerts all over the city in the summer.
- Hiking – Maybe we’ll go see the waterfalls this year.
- Swimming at the pool – I’m sure we’ll spend a ton of time at the pool once it gets really hot.
- Berry picking – We haven’t done this before so it should be a fun experience.
- Waterfront Blues Festival – We have been too lazy to go for the last few years, but my friend is coming this year so I’m looking forward to it.
- A bunch of cultural festivals and neighborhood fairs throughout the summer.
RB40Jr is a very lucky kid to live in a city with so many fun things to do. Once he’s a bit older, I’ll sign him up for some of the more expensive camps. I think a week long sleepaway camp would be great too when he’s a teenager. It’ll give him a chance to learn to be more independent. Anyway, this summer will be relatively cheap for us at around $200 per month. The cost will probably increase next summer, but we’ll have more money saved up too. He is starting kindergarten in September and we won’t have to pay for preschool anymore. YES!
Did you go to summer camp when you were a kid? What’s the plan this summer? Do you think summer is more expensive now?
Image by Josh Felise