Our oldest is getting ready to leave for camp in just a few short weeks! He has been planning and saving for a few months and he is so excited. This year he is going to camp as an official teenager! He will be traveling further and will get a chance to do a few things he has never experienced before, he is going to an amusement park (has not been since he was 6), attending a bus demolition derby (and they get to paint their own team bus), traveling 900 miles away from home, attending a conference with over 5000 teenagers, participating in a paintball contest, and riding home with his Aunt (he is very excited about that, spoiled all the way home). Planning for camp is an exciting time! This will be his 4th year going but his first year going this far away. We've been keeping an ongoing list since his first trip of things to pack (look for that in a separate post). Although as a Mom, its not my favorite time when he goes off for a week but as a part of his training (Prov 22:6) we believe its an important time for him to experience leaving home. We know the day will come when he will leave for college and these little trips are all part of his training. There is something special that takes place in the heart of a teenager when they go to Bible Camp where the preaching is the focus. The preaching they hear and the training they receive is something I could never give him sheltering him here at home. God has worked in a mighty way in his heart every year and that is something I would never rob from him. We make going to camp and exciting time, but we also make coming home just as special (more on that to come). The first part of our series is budgeting for camp.
1. A Plan To Pay
Planning to go to camp starts long before the week of camp. When the Lord places a camp opportunity in front of us we always sit down and plan out a camp budget. We include everything from registration, travel, food, entertainment, extra clothing, shoes, personal items, souvenirs & gifts (he always likes to bring his little brother home a gift). We list anything extra that is going to be needed.
2. Raising The Needed Funds
Raising the money for camp is a family project with the majority of the responsibility being on the one going. We decide how much we need to raise then with prayer, faith and a little hard work we set out to raise the needed funds. He starts by letting family and friends know he is looking for a little extra work and he will do odd jobs like yard work, burning papers for Grandma, dog sitting for friends, collecting cans. He has also made homemade treats and sold them, candy bars and this year his has been selling lunches to family and friends. As hard as it is to tell him, he knows if the money is not raise the trip is not taken. Trusting God to provide has increased his faith and when God provides, its always an exciting time!
3. Budgeting For The Week
I remember going to camp when I was 13 and having money in my purse, boy did I feel rich! Thinking I had enough money to live off for a good year I did not budget and by mid week I realized I better look into a budget and quick! Using the age old envelope system has worked great for budgeting camp money. We use an envelope for each day. I let our youngest get involved and he is in charge of decorating each envelope for big brother. On the outside of the envelope we put the day of the week. On the inside we put a 3x5 card and list all the activities for the day. We would put something like this - Monday - Traveling then under that we would list Breakfast $5, Lunch $5, Dinner $8, Snack/Extra $5 - Total $23 - This way he knows what the money is to be used for and will not over spend at one location. We always ask the counselor what type of meals they will be eating so we know about how much to budget. We do not want to budget $5 and they stop at a nicer end restaurant where the meals start at $15! This has helped greatly! We do one for each day and we tuck them in his suitcase so he is not caring around all his money. When he was younger we gave the envelopes to the counselor but now that he is older, its his responsibility to keep up with the money. Judge the maturity of your child. At the end of the day any extra money he has goes in an envelope marked "extra funds" he can use this money if needed or save it for another fun day when he gets home! Each year we have a talk about how not to flash around his envelopes and tell all his friends about them and where they are located.
4. "Just Incase"
Just incase there is a problem we always give the counselor an envelope with an extra $40. On the outside it says Kyle's Just Incase Fund. This is just incase his money is lost or stolen. He has never used the "Just Incase" envelope but its a peace of mind thing for Mom and it keeps the counselor from being responsible to make up the needed funds should it become a issue.
I hope these tips will help you as you plan to send your little one (or not so little) off this summer. I would love to hear your budgeting for camp tips too. Next Up...Packing Ideas
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.