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Yes, you heard me right. It’s camp season. That is, the season for researching and registering for camps for the summer. As any working parent of school aged children knows, organizing the upcoming summer starts months in advance and takes a lot of planning and coordinating. If I hadn’t been given a heads up about the prep that goes into planning for summer from a working mom I know, last summer would have been a disaster. It is that vein that I pass it on.

There are many factors to consider when planning for camp in the summer. What weeks do you need care? Where are your kid’s friends attending camp? And last, but certainly not least, how does the camp fit into your budget and schedule. The longer I have a kid in elementary school, the more I realize that the school day and calendar is not conducive to the schedule of a full time, 8 hour job, so planning ahead is essential.

In order to figure out what weeks I’ll need care during the summer, I listed the last day of school for this year and the first day of school for next year. Then, I reached out to my brother and sister who always plan a weeks long visit in the summer to see which week they are planning on coming. Everyone is really on top of it this year (thanks family), so I crossed off that week from the list of those I need care for. I’ll either use time and take that week off this summer or at the very least have the kids spend the time with family.

My next step was listing out all of the remaining weeks I need care for. Then, I began my research based on camps I heard about from friends and the parents of my son’s friends. I spent a night looking at each of the camp websites and took notes on each camp’s cost, hours of operation, length of camp sessions, cost of transportation, before and after care, and registration deadline.

Unfortunately, there are no camp options available for the first full week off and the last full week off of summer. Don’t even get me started on that. Apparently, this is a reality that many people have just accepted. I don’t. I think it’s crazy and totally unhelpful. Alas, I will work with the cards I’ve been dealt for now (it’s definitely on my list of things to change in life). I will either ask my family for support, use time off of work, or pay for someone to watch my son.

I was sent some additional options from another parent of a friend of my son’s, so my work continues. My final step will be figuring out which camp(s) fit into the time periods we need. This becomes complicated based on the weeks we need care and the length of sessions that the camps offer. Some camps require 4 week sessions or 2 week sessions only. I’ll then determine if the costs make sense, and then register away. All of this happens by mid-March, otherwise, you miss the registration deadline.

Sometimes, being a working mom feels like having 3 jobs. This is definitely one of those times. Happy camping!

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