There is no such thing as free summer camp! Or is there?
Is there anything parents can do about the cost of summer camp? We get that question a lot at Sign Up For Camp, and the good news is – there is! There are actually some free summer camps out there, and some camps that offer scholarships or financial aid.
In addition, many camps will help out a family in special circumstances and/or have scholarship programs that aren’t publicized on their website. Parents should not count out cost due to the cost! Many
Below are the camps we know of in the San Francisco Bay Area and Philadelphia area that are either free or offer scholarships. Please let us know if we missed some.
Aim High has a free summer program for middle school students with locations throughout the Bay Area. The programs are by application only.
Camp Edmo – Free Counselor-in-training (CIT) program
Camp Edmo offers a free CIT program for kids entering 7th grade through high school. Find out more information about the Camp Edmo CIT program.
Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club – Free Jr. Counselor Program
Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club offers a free Jr. Counselor program for teenagers (ages 13 to 17), allowing them to volunteer for a fun and rewarding summer experience. For more information about the program, contact Youth Program Director, Laura Safran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC)
VYDC offers free summer camp to kids ages 11 to17 that runs June 14 to August 13, Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6pm. For more information contact Mike Nguyen at email@example.com or (415) 771-2600 x 107.
Foundation for Jewish Camp
Get Up To $2,500 for Camp! The JWest Campership Program seeks to increase the number of Jewish youth in the Western United States enrolled in Jewish overnight summer camps. The JWest Campership Program awards financial incentives of up to $2,500 over two or three years to middle school-aged kids who attend one of 23 nonprofit Jewish overnight camps for the first time. Funded by the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, JWest is an initiative through the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Go to www.onehappycamper.org to learn more and apply!
Camps that offer scholarships
Acrosports Circus and Specialty Camps – San Francisco
Acrosports offers tuition assistance for families in need. Contact Acrosports for more information (415-665-2276).
Bay Area Discovery Museum – Sausalito
The Bay Area Discovery Museum has a scholarship program, however they have been exhausted for the 2010 camp season. BADM offers sibling discounts: register more than one child (from the same household) and receive $25 off each additional registration. BADM also offers $25 off the third session when you sign your child up for three or more sessions of camp.
Camp Edmo – All Bay Area
Camp Edmo has a scholarship program. Families can apply at http://www.campedmo.com/more-services/camperships/. In addition, Camp Edmo also has a Magic Bird Discount through March 31st.
Camp Galileo – All Bay Area
Camp Galileo also has a scholarship program. The camp awarded 1,000 scholarships for the 2010 camp season. The deadline has passed for this year, but they will award scholarships next year as well.
Chabot Space Explorers Summer Camp – East Bay
Chabot Space Explorers Summer Camp offers scholarships of up to $200 per camper for one session. Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Cipriani After-School Care – Belmont, San Carlos
Crissy Field Summer Camp – San Francisco
Crissy Field Summer Camp provides the greatest amount of financial aid for summer camp in San Francisco! If your camper receives free or reduced-cost lunch, you automatically qualify for financial aid. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit our website at www.crissyfield.org/camp or call (415) 561-7762 to request an application. Crissy Field began accepting financial aid applications on February 27th.
Crystal Springs Uplands School – Hillsborough
The Experiment in International Living – depart from LA airport or New York airport
The Experiment in International Living offers financial aid from 5% to 50% off the program fee. Contact the Experiment in International Living for more information.
GreenPlay Sustainable Summer Camp – Mill Valley, Larkspur and Tiburon
Judy Berlin’s Kids On Camera TV/Film Acting Camp
Camp fees at Kids On Camera are relatively inexpensive at $280 per week. In addition, the scholarship program provides for a reduced fee for work exchange during class time. Work hours are evaluated and can result in a reduced fee of up to 40%. Contact Judy Berlin at (415) 440-4400 for more information. Scholarship applications are available at http://www.kids-on-camera.com/pdf/Scholarship.pdf.
Kids Outdoor Club – San Francisco
Kids Outdoor Club offers both scholarships and discounts, including a 10% Early Bird Discount if you register and pay by April 1st. Teachers receive 30% off. Kids Outdoor Club has always prided itself on being a low cost, flexible alternative for families. There are a number of needs-based scholarships available. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEEP Summer Camp (Miraloma Educational Enrichment Program) – San Francisco
This year, MEEP is proud to offer scholarships and financial assistance for its summer camp sessions. The organization has varied scholarships and financial assistant programs to accommodate families. To obtain an application, please email email@example.com or call (415) 584-7080.
Oakland ZooCamp – Oakland
The Oakland ZooCamp offers scholarships, however the funds have been exhausted for the 2010 season. The Zoo is hoping for more grant monies to accommodate those in need this year, so is still accepting scholarship applications to keep on file. They do offer an Early Bird Discount of 10% off if you register for ZooCamp by April 15th.
Presidio YMCA – San Francisco
The Presidio YMCA offers scholarships of up to 75% off the cost of the camp. Last year, they awarded over $50,000 in summer camp scholarships. Parents can apply using this online form: http://www.ymcasf.org/presidio/files/static_page_files/SF_financialaid6.pdf or pick up an application at the branch.
San Francisco Parks and Rec
TechKnowHow – All Bay Area
TechKnowHow offers scholarships for half-tuition at all of their locations. TechKnowHow has also extended its Early Bird Special until April 5th. Contact TechKnowHow at (650) 474-0400 for more information and an application.
Cedarbrook Camp in Pennsylvania
Cedarbrook Camp is an overnight camp that offers scholarships.
The Experiment in International Living
The Experiment in International Living offers financial aid from 5% to 50% of the program fee.
Loomis Racquet Academy
Loomis Racquet Academy offers a scholarship to Chester PALS and at least one scholarship to USTA Middle States.
Serendipity Camp is just $150/week and has financial aid available.
West Chester University – Young Writers/Young Readers