Summer camps suffer because of economy

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 2, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Parents send their kids to summer camp so they have something to do when they're out of school, but with our sluggish economy and record high gas prices, some parents are having to cut back on the summer tradition.

"He's 12 and he can't stay home by himself so we have to choose somewhere for him to go," said Devon King.

She usually sends her son to camp, but this year it's a little harder. She's gonna cut back on the number of hours he goes to save money.

"Something has to be done to get our budget within the range where we can afford it," she said.

Her son will go to camp at least some of the day, but some are having to blow the whistle on camp completely.

"Usually by this time we are already full, summer camps are already packed. We don't take anymore," said Tiffany Rhoden, program coordinator at the Bernie Ward Community Center.

Enrollment for camp at the center is down about 25% from last year. Rhoden says it may be due to the economy.

"The gas? Yeah, I think that's hurt a lot of people. They just can't afford to get out when they got two or three kids at home, you know, to register all at the same time.

If not as many kids are lining up for camp, they have to find something else to do. Center Coordinator Kim Anderson worries about what that something could be.

"I think it's definitely important for them to be here, keeps them off the street, keeps them out of trouble," said Anderson.

While low enrollment can be bad for the kids, it can be bad for the center itself, too.

"This is our biggest money-maker year-round," said Rhoden.

Parents like King are having to make hard decisions, which is nothing like the fun and games at camp.

Prices at the center range from $75 to $110 dollars for two weeks. Camp runs a total of eight weeks.

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