Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Summer Science Camp: How-to Guide Part II

Yesterday I had you start thinking about planning your summer science camp.  Here are a few more points to consider when making your science camp proposal.

While you may not have all the details ironed out, you'll need to have a basic idea of what the kids will be doing to include in the proposal. 

Our administration required that we NOT include any activity that would be done in the classroom as part of the science curriculum.  The camp was supposed to be an extra-curricular activity, which supplemented the science instruction, not a chance for students to "get ahead" of their classmates. 

You'll want to clear the activity list with the administration, especially if you're doing things like rocketry and other things which may be cause for concern. 

Determining the cost is always tricky and the amount you can charge is going to vary greatly from one place to another.  It's worth doing some research to find what other camps/programs in the area are charging, to give you a starting point. 

Begin by adding up the costs associated with the activities you selected and divide them amongst the number of children you anticipate attending. 

Then you'll need to decide how much to charge for your teaching services.  One way to approach this is to consider the going rate for babysitting in your location.  NO, I am not saying that you are simply providing a baby-sitting service, but it will give you some idea of what parents are willing to pay per hour to have their children taken care of. 

Will you have any additional help that you'll need to pay?  I always had one of my 7th or 8th grade students come to help for the week.  It was largely a volunteer position, but we always paid them a little something at the end.  It wasn't anything we budgeted for, just an appreciation of our thanks - and you will be truly thankful for that person by the end of the week. 

You may also need to consider insurance costs - that's something you'll need to speak with your administration about.  In our situation, the home & school association (PTA-type group) took care of the insurance for the summer programs, but collected 10% of the program's fees to help cover the cost.

Hopefully when you add those numbers together, you'll come to reasonable cost per student.  If the number seems too high, you may need to cut out some of the more expensive activities.  Or you may need to insist on a minimal enrollment number (to cut down the cost per student on some of the activities). 

You need to decide what you're willing to do.  Yes, running a camp is the chance to earn some extra money, but you won't make anything if no one is willing/able to pay the fee.  And, you're going to have to work to earn that money.  I think it's best to look at is as something you want to do because it will be fun for you, and the income as a bonus.  And if it's not going to be fun for you, you should probably find something else to do for the summer. 

Tomorrow we'll spend some time thinking about how to schedule your time, once your proposal has been approved.

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