CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With the current economic situation, parents are just as hesitant to leave their children at home as they are to pay the traditional high costs of attending summer camps. For two days, WBTV has been compiling a list of helpful links to keep your children active while leaving less of a dent in your wallet.
Through a database provided by Charlotte Parent Magazine, people can look for a variety of camps in all surrounding areas. There are hundreds and hundreds of camps across the Charlotte region. Whether you want a week-long GPS training day camp, to join a Carolina Girl Camp, sign up for disc golf or take painting classes, there is something for everyone. Many of the camps or programs cost less than $100 per child and offer unique opportunities children may not get elsewhere.
Charlotte Parent is kindly allowing us to post its extensive database here. Click here to search the many options out there.
Another great resource we found is an organization called "Partners in Out-of-School Time". This is a group which advocates the need for kids to be involved in programs, whether after-school or over the summer. The great thing about this group is they give free advice based on all the programs available. They know about scholarship information, financial aid and other ways to help you save money. It doesn't matter where you live or what your income might be, "Partners in Out-of-School Time" says it is available to help parents find the right programs for their children. If you'd like to get some direction on which camp or activity program is best for your situation, visit the "Partners in Out-of-School Time" website.
The rest of these agencies are larger groups in the Charlotte-area. Each organization offers multiple activities for kids this summer. There is a lot here. If you're a parent, grandparent or guardian, play around on the websites to see what's offered. Feel free to call and ask questions. All these agencies want to help get kids enrolled in things this summer.
1) The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is the largest camp provider in the area. It offers many day camp locations and two overnight camps at YMCA Camp Harrison and Camp Thunderbird. Like many other organizations, the Greater Charlotte YMCA offers financial assistance for those unable to afford the camps. They've also recently made the deposit refundable for people who have lost their jobs. A YMCA spokesperson says they are constantly being asked to help out financially, this year in particular. There are many camp opportunities for children ranging from sports to fine arts and leadership development for teens. Click here for a complete listing of camps.
2) Charlotte-Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation might be the place to go if you're looking for different daily activities that both children and parents can take part in. They have things such as nature centers, disc golf, hiking and even football camps. Many of these activities are free. For more information, see the following websites.
DAY CAMP (currently we are running a Buy one session, get one FREE for TEEN camps)
NATURE CENTERS (free)
DISC GOLF (free)
CAMPING (they will rent you a tent and set it up!)
FISHING (they have poles to lend!) (free but need license)
OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOLS ($1 entry fee)
FOOTBALL CAMP (free)
FITNESS CENTERS (ages 18+, minimal cost)
3) The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Mecklenburg County offers a day camp at a cost of only $50 per week with a $10 registration fee. The phone number here is 704-334-4731. The following is a list of contact information for Boys and Girls Clubs in surrounding counties.
Catawba County - John DeMauro 828-322-3066
Cabarrus County - Valerie Melton 704-721-2582
Gaston/Lincoln County - Trina Pratt 704-867-6145
Iredell County - Crystal Pratt 704-397-2427
York, SC - Karen Balnkenship 803-324-7920
Cleveland County - Ray Hurley 704-471-2582
4) The Jewish Family Center offers scholarships for different camps and can be reached at (704)364-6594, or visited on the web. For information on camps, click here to visit the Jewish Community Center.
5) The Piedmont Council Boy Scouts, headquartered in Gastonia, offers a variety of day camps for Cub Scouts, including a "Space and Beyond" camp taking place this summer. A spokesperson for the Piedmont Council Boy Scouts said scholarships are offered through the United Way.