Summer Money Camps

Schools are letting out and parents everywhere are wondering what to do with the kids all summer. Day care expenses mount and the experience gets boring for the kids. Many parents choose to provide summer camp for their children. While many summer camps are meant for fun and entertainment only, some serve a larger purpose. Among those are camps that teach kids financial and business concepts.

My Grandma Money Camp

As most of my readers know, I have started a tradition of holding my very own ‘Grandma Money Camp‘ for my two grandchildren. This will be our second year. I will hold it at the lake this year and combine fun and learning. We will read books, play games, explore concepts, tour banks or businesses and have a little business venture or job opportunity for them to earn money. We will focus on age appropriate personal finance concepts. But most of all we’ll have fun together and hopefully find that learning about finances can be fun.

If you don’t want or can’t take the time to design and implement a money camp of your own but still want to provide a similar experience for your kids or grand kids, there are plentiful opportunities to do so.

Four levels of summer camps teaching financial concepts

In this post, I’ll describe 4 expense levels of camps with some links to examples. Please understand that if you decide to use any of these camps you need to check them out thoroughly as I don’t have personal knowledge of any of them and cannot provide any kind of recommendation – they are just examples. Also, you will need to search your geographic area to find a money camp close to you. You can read more about camps in a NY Times article  Making a Portfolio, and More, at Money Camp.

Elite money camps or wealth management classes

Citi Bank private bank clients can attend the Next Gen program  which is designed to allow the youth of ‘distinctive’ families toexplore the essentials of wealth management, entrepreneurship, joining the family business, innovative thinking and reaching peak personal performance. Participants meet with successful business and social entrepreneurs, art auction house experts and professional traders.”. In the past, according to Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.. Financial Planning. New York: May 1, 2005. pg. 1 it has been free to their clients.

In addition, business schools such as Wharton  in Pennsylvania or Standford in California offer special classes on wealth management for family and youth.

Residential camps

Residential money camps allow your camper to have a traditional camp experience in that they go for a few days or a week – day and night.

Independent Means is an organization that intends to help high net worth families “make the most of their resources by learning to sustain assets, “audit the auditor,” exercise sound financial judgment, and make sense of expert advice.” They run Camp Start-Up as a 10 day residential camp for teens 14 – 18 years old. It runs $1680 or $2600 per student depending on location chosen. In it teens learn to start a business or run a non-profit. They learn leadership, financial and entrepreneurial skills.

Day Camps

Day camps are by far the most common type of summer youth money camp, with many different organizations (from privately owned and operated ones like Camp Millionaire to local 4 H clubs) offering them throughout the US. They typically focus on financial literacy basics of saving, spending and giving – some with more focus on understanding credit.

The North Carolina, Durham County 4 H has a Financial literacy camp June 18 – 22 for kids aged 13 – 18 which explores checking, savings, loan applications, credit cards, mortgages and other loans as well as advertising influences on finances.

Junior Achievement of Central Maryland has a 5 day camp that runs either half day or full day. In it they simulate the real economy by interviewing for jobs, building a business plan and working in (or running) a business.  One of the JA’s in our state offers multiple summer financial training programs for kids of different ages.  I’m going to offer tuition for my grandson to attend one of these next year – when he is old enough.

Young Americans Center for Financial Education has multiple different day camps for different age groups from the 2nd therough the 7th grade in Colorado. For $185 your kid goes for 5 days.

The University of Florida has two 5 – day money camps available for $25 per student. Campers need to be from 14 – 18 years old and stay at camp from 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Camp BizSmart offers premium day camp experiences for budding entrepreneurs aged 11 – 15 from $450 to $1400 (depending on location). Kids work with Silicon Valley company personnel to invent a product. They learn in teams to problem solve, negotiate, speak and pitch ideas as well as learning about finance and marketing.

Special (free) camps

Events from one day to several days are a week are sponsored throughout the US by various organizations with the goal of increasing the financial literacy of our children.

Universary of California at Irvine Center for Investment and Wealth Management offers a one week Summer Residential Financial Literacy program for 8th and 9th grade students in August. Unfortunately, the deadline (May 15) to apply for 2012 has past, but keep it in mind for next year.

These are just a sampling of the various kinds and locations of summer camps to teach money concepts.  An internet search with your location specified should help you find one in your area – or check with local schools and kids clubs and churches to see what they might offer.

What do you think of sending a kid to summer camp to learn personal finance? Would you do it?

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