March 2011 Archives

Operation Purple Summer Camps are a Go!

CS0411 - Operation Purple.jpgThe National Military Family Association is accepting applications until April 29 for its Operation Purple Summer Camps, which offer a free week of summer fun for military kids with parents who have been, are currently, or will be deployed.

The goal of the Operation Purple camp program is to give military children tools to help deal with the stresses that result from a parent's deployment through a memorable camp experience. Operation Purple camps are open to military children of all ranks and Services: active and reserve components--and give priority to children whose parents are deployed or deploying anytime between September 2010 and December 2011.

2011 Operation Purple camps will be held in 25 states as well as Okinawa, Japan. Host camps are chosen annually and locations often change from year to year.

Click here to find an Operation Purple camp near you!

Camp in the Summer, Tax Credit in the Spring!

Ah, camp memories.  Bugs in jars, macaroni masterpieces, and an endless stream of pictures.  You smile as your child energetically recounts every detail of their one-of-a-kind camp experience.  Priceless.

Until you get that credit card statement in the mail and remember, yes, your child's camp did indeed have a price.

CS0311-Taxes Here's a tip to soothe any post-camp financial stress - claim camp costs on your income tax return!  Overnight camps don't qualify, but most day camps can be claimed under the Child and Dependent Care Credit.  The actual credit can be up to 35 percent of your qualifying expenses, depending upon your income.

Click here to read an article from the IRS about this tax benefit.

Check out day camps on MySummerCamps and day camps on KidsCamps for a variety of options in your area.

Narrowing Your Camp Choices

by Amanda Formaro

Heading to summer camp is a fun and exciting experience for your child.  You however, may feel some apprehension about watching your smiling offspring head off without you for a few weeks.  How do you know which camp is the best fit for your child?  There are several factors to consider when choosing a summer camp your son or daughter will enjoy.

Finding the Best Fit
It's important to sit down with your child and decide what they wish to gain from their summer camp experience.  Perhaps the outdoor activities are high on Johnny's priority list, but Lisa may be more focused on arts & crafts.  Is there something your child wants to gain from the camp experience?  Learning to paddle and steer a canoe or ride and care for a horse, whatever the case, these are important factors to consider.  Be sure to ask about camp activities and how much time is spent in each area.

Obviously the cost involved with summer camp is a significant deciding factor.  Before sitting down with your child and going over the camps available, you may wish to go through each one and decide which of them will fit into your budget first.  Present the camps that fit into your finances and help your child pick from among them.

Don't Limit by Location

There are summer camps all over the United States and Canada.  If this is your child's first summer camp experience, one closer to home may be a better option.  However, if your child has attended summer camp before, don't discount camps that may be in another state.  With so many choices available, you may find a camp that's farther away but has more of your child's interests in mind.

Safety & Administration
When deciding on a summer camp, be sure to find out what their procedures are should a medical emergency arise.  How far is the nearest hospital?  Are all staff members trained and certified in CPR? Is there a medical area on the grounds, and how is it staffed and stocked?

The most important thing in choosing a summer camp for your child is to be well informed.  Research thousands of camps at MySummerCamps and KidsCamps, ask plenty of questions, and don't be afraid to ask for referrals.  Your child will thank you for it.

Buy Chips, Support Camps

The next time you're at the grocery store, pick up a bag of Late July Organic Multigrain Snack Chips and help send a kid to camp!


Organic snack company Late July has teamed with the American Camp Association to launch a line of snack chips that are not only healthy and delicious, but will raise money to provide summer camp scholarships for kids in need.  They're available in three flavors - Sea Salt by the Seashore, Mild Green Mojo, & Dude Ranch.



Along with winning Best New Product at the 2010 Natural Product's Expo, these new chips are also 100% Whole Grain, certified gluten free, peanut/tree nut free and give 10 percent of profits to support the ACA's Send a Child to Camp Fund.  Find them at Whole Foods and other major retailers.