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'Summer camps are really expensive:' Parents searching for affordable camps for their kids

'We have seen that we’re able to attract a lot of parents to come to our club, ' Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County CEO Will Armstead says
Posted at 7:11 PM, Apr 11, 2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — As summer approaches, parents are beginning to consider where they plan to send their kids for camp.

Katherine Gill has three kids. Right now, she’s exploring summer programs and for her family, the process includes the Boys and Girls Club.

“[Summer camps] are really expensive, so this is one of the most affordable options,” she said.

Like many family's, Gills focus is on the right fit.

Katherine Gill Boys and Girls Club St Lucie County April 11 2024
Katherine Gill says she's exploring summer programs and for her family, the process includes the Boys and Girls Club.

"Especially with my 12-year-old, because not every after care will take a 12-year-old," she said. "And he has autism, so they’re really good here with them."

Availability and affordability are two of the deciding factors for some parents.

Gaby Simpson said she knows just what that process can entail both as a mother and through her work at the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County. Simpson was looking for a water sports program for her daughter this summer.

“That was around $400 per week, which is double of what Boys and Girls Club cost and it’s less hours,” Simpson said.

Gaby Simpson mother and Boys and Girls Club employee April 11 2024.png
Gaby Simpson

As the population grows across St. Lucie County, so too is the need for summer camps.

Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County CEO Will Armstead said he is trying to keep up with the Treasure Coast growth.

“Especially in the summertime, where we had a record year last year of more than 550 teenagers and about a thousand kids,” he said.

Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County CEO Will Armstead  April 11 2024.png
Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County CEO Will Armstead says there is a need for summer camps due to growth.

He said he expects this summer to meet or even surpass previous numbers. He said programs in the works, include STEM and workforce learning.

“We have seen, because of the affordability, that we’re able to attract a lot of parents to come to our club, " Armstead said. "But I also want to think it’s because of the type of programs.”