Why is summer camp so expensive?

Posted: April 25, 2022

Summer Camp is an incredible experience for kids to have during the summer, but it can also feel very expensive. Perhaps you have sat down to register your kid for summer camp and thought “man, why does camp have to be so expensive?”

Great question! As a summer camp ourselves, we understand the investment parents are making when they send their kids to camp, and want to help you understand some of the factors that go into the cost of camp. Here are few to think about:

General Operational Expenses

The cost of putting camp on is obviously going to be the number one factor that determines how much it costs to attend camp. Facilities, activities, insurance, food, etc...the list goes on. For some of the expenses, like electricity and insurance, it doesn’t really matter if there are 50 or 500 campers. Other things, like food, are contingent on how many campers there are.

At New Life Ranch, we want our campers to experience God through creation and through relationships.  We want to maintain good facilities and offer quality food, activities, and programming so campers have fun, enjoy their relationships with counselors and other campers free from the distractions of uncomfortable surroundings or bad food. 

Summer Staff

This goes along with the expenses portion, but is important for a different reason as well. Having kids at camp means needing counselors to be with them! For most camps, summer staff is the number one expense for the summer. 

At New Life Ranch we want our camper to staff ratio to stay low so that we can give each camper individual attention that allows them to have more than just surface-level relationships and experience God and his creation through relationships. As a result, we hire more counselors per camper than lots of other camps might. We also need lots of other non-counselor summer staff to help us run all the activities, take pictures, serve meals, and care for the horses! 

The Fun Stuff 

Besides having cabins and counselors, having fun stuff to do while at camp is pretty important! Pools need to be filled with water and constantly cleaned, bows and arrows need to be replaced, and horses need to be fed. Camps with lots of activities generally charge more because those activities constantly need upkeep and maintenance. Also, camps are always looking for new and fun activities to keep kids excited about coming back. 

Other camps and summer activities

Another thing to be aware of is a comparison of like facilities and like programs. While one summer camp may seem expensive to one person, it may feel like a bargain compared to another camp or summer activity. 

At NLR, we are not the cheapest option for summer camp, but we are not the most expensive either.  We try to maintain a healthy balance of quality and affordability.


As you look at signing up your camper for the summer camp that’s the right fit for your family, we hope this information helps you understand a little more about what factors going into the cost of camp.