Why the cost of summer camp is rising

Camp Spalding
Credit: Camp Spalding

SPOKANE, Wash. – Summer camp is getting more expensive. 

Spokane’s Camp Spalding is raising prices for the first time in three years. Executive Director Andy Sonneland cited a few reasons for the increase, but they are not the only ones charging a bit more this summer. 

Nationwide, summer camps are charging 10 to 15 percent more. 

Camp Spalding chose to raise their prices citing inflation as one of the major reasons. It wasn’t something they had to deal with in 2019, but it has driven the cost of the business overall. 

“The main, majority of that increase is going to go to our college-age summer staff. We increased their rate of pay 25 percent this summer, and that’s on the heels of a 33 percent increase, a few years ago,” Sonneland said. 

Sonneland says they want to be attractive, offering competitive pay to college students who have other summer jobs to choose from. 

This year, for a full week, it’ll cost $525 per camper. For the past three years, it’s been $490 per week. 

Camp Spalding isn’t the only camp raising prices. It’s happening at the YMCA, too.

“The cost of food has increased, the cost of supplies, making sure that they have the fun tools that they have a great summer, and of course wages, we’ve all seen wage increases and, of course, transportation,” said YMCA Communications Director Mary Berry.

The YMCA was able to keep the price increase for summer day camps at five percent. That equates to about $5 per week. The cost at Camp Reed is up about three percent.

Despite paying more, the YMCA’s camps are completely booked. Camp Spalding has had record enrollment, but there are still spots available for families