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Sorry son, we can't afford camp this year

5 way you CAN afford to send your kids to camp

The bottom line about camp costs is that there is a camp to fit nearly every budget. Many families may miss out on the camp experience for their children because they aren't aware of the options available to them.

The American Camp Association believes that every child deserves a camp experience, and as a nonprofit, charitable organization, we are happy o share information about camp trends and costs to families who are seeking a camp experience for their children.

Looking for an affordable camp in the Hudson Valley?

Families can find a camp that fits their budget by following the five tips below:

* Ask the camp what financial assistance is available. Families should never assume that their family income doesn't qualify. In fact, 90 percent of camps offer some sort of financial assistance to families, usually in the form of "camper-ships" or special discounts - for everything from early registration, full-season,or multiple enrollments from one family.

* ACA can help! The ACA family-dedicated Web site, contains not only expert advice from camp professionals and child development experts, but it also contains the 'Find A Camp' searchable database. Families can search for a camp by cost, location, special needs, special activity, length, among other options!

Does your child love science?

* Day camp can be tax free. In certain circumstances, day care or day camp expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services and paid with pre-tax dollars. Visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more information.

* Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account allows parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care or adult dependent care expenses for qualified dependents that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work, or to attend school full time. Visit the FSAFeds website for more information.

* 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. FSAFeds website for more information.

As parents and families plan for summer activities for their children, the American Camp Association is a resource for all information about - from the benefits of camp and how to prepare a child for camp, to choosing a camp and what to pack.

About ACA: The American Camp Association works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-accredited camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA- accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit