Experts: Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions Because Knowledge Is Power

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — With school letting out in just a couple months a lot of parents are scrambling to find a summer camp for their kids.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, it’s not too late to find the right fit.

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When it comes to camp the choices can be overwhelming. Some look to other parents, teachers and principals for advice. Many are going to the Internet.

“I find that list servers are a great way for parents to connect, simply putting the question out there into the Ethernet and you’ll get a lot of responses,” said Susie Lupert of the American Camp Association of N.Y. and N.J.

Lupert said parents can go to the association’s website to help narrow down their search by choosing a region, a budget and how long you plan to send your child to camp.

Once you investigate the choices, you can call the ACA for free one-on-one advice. Before you make your choice, you can go straight to the top and contact a camp director.

“I think it’s very important to meet or talk with the camp director. If you call a camp and that person is not accessible that tells you something, kind of a red flag,” said Alan Saltz, camp director at the 92nd Street Y.

Saltz, who has run the show at the Y for more than 20 years, said parents should ask lots of questions. What’s the camp philosophy? What do they value? How do they view competition?  How many children per counselor? Are they high school, college students or adults? How does the staff handle medical issues?

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When it comes to cost, Saltz said there a camp for every budget.

“There are some camps that offer scholarship assistance. Mostly those are non-profit. Many camps offer payment plans, so that you can pay if off over a period of time,” Saltz said.

Another way to pay for camp is to get creative. For holidays or even your child’s birthday, you can ask for monetary gifts that will go towards the cost of camp.

Many camps also offer discounts for siblings, and there’s a tax credit for sending a child to day camp.

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The IRS allows an income tax credit of up to $6,000 of dependent care expenses if you have two or more dependents (up to $3,000 for one dependent). The amount of the credit is based on your adjusted gross income and applies only to your federal taxes. This applies to qualifying day camp expenses as well. Visit the FSA Feds website for more information.

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