How to Save Up for Camp

by Donny Stoner - April 3, 2018

You want to go to summer or winter camp but don’t know how to pay for it? Don’t stress. There is a solution.

The author, Donny Stoner, serving as a staff member at Winter Camp in Wisconsin.

The Church of God, a Worldwide Association, has five preteen camps and five teen camps. They are very popular, and kids between the ages of 6 and 18 from around the world will attend.

I have attended camp since I was 6 (a total of 18 times) and have loved the experiences. Now, as a young adult, I enjoy returning as a staff member. 

However, one thing that was difficult over the years was paying for camp. The average preteen camp costs $145, and the average teen camp costs $320. This is a lot of money to pay while you’re still a student!

So how can you pay for it?

Here’s what I did

Step 1: Get a source of income. I have been working since I was a kid. While you can’t get a real job as a preteen, you can mow lawns, wash windows, clean houses, babysit, wash cars, etc. When you’re a teenager, you can get jobs at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

So start by getting a job of some sort that you can do after school and during the summer. Proverbs 13:11 tells us that when we work hard, we can increase in wealth. But you have to work for it. It won’t just fall in your lap.

Step 2: Determine how much you need to save and divide it by 12. If you need to save $145 (for preteen camp), divide $145 by 12 months—about $12. If you need to save $345 (for teen camp), divide $345 by 12—about $29. That is the amount that you need to save each month.

Hint: Start saving in the spring for the next year. Then, 12 months later, you will have the money when you apply next spring.

Step 3: Put the money aside and don’t touch it! You can use a jar, a piggy bank, a bank account or an envelope. When I was saving for camp, I gave the jar to my parents. That way, I could give my money to them each month. They would put it in the jar, and I wouldn’t be tempted to take money from the jar to spend on whatever.

The point here is that every month you put aside the money allotted (based on the math done in Step 2). You don’t touch the money, and then a year later you have enough money to pay for camp when you apply.

Step 4: Go to camp (my favorite step). There is something beautiful about saving up for something. While you are at camp, you will think about how hard you worked to be able to afford it, and you will push yourself to make the most of camp. You will have more fun, you will get more out of it, and you will learn vital life lessons.

Long-term benefits

As an adult, you will have to pay rent, save up for a house, pay for your kids’ schooling, buy a new computer, etc. One of the worst things you can do financially is be an adult who doesn’t know how to work hard and save.

Working hard and saving while you are still under your parents’ roof is very smart. If you want to be successful at work and with your finances, learn these lessons while you are young.

The most important piece

Here’s the most important piece of the puzzle. None of this would be possible without God. God is the One who made all of us and established the Church of God, which now gives us the opportunity to go to all of these camps.

While we are looking for a job, while we are working, while we are saving and while we are at camp, we must pray, pray, pray and pray. Even though you will work hard to go, make sure you don’t forget to give God the credit. And most certainly, don’t forget what the first priority is from our earnings—paying God His tithe and saving a second tithe toward enjoying God’s Feast!

So you’ve done the math, worked, saved and paid for camp. Go enjoy it. It will be your best year at camp and will be worth all the work!

What if you worked hard and saved throughout the year, but for some reason you still end up a little short as camp draws near? You can always contact the camp director and ask about a partial tuition scholarship. The camp program sets aside some funds each year to assist those who have shown good effort in paying for camp but need a little help. Learn more on the COGWA Youth Camps page and in the article “Christian Budget.”

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