9 Ways to Be Your Kids’ Summer Camp Counselor


Summer Camp CouselorDo you ever feel like you need a second mortgage for your kids to survive the summer at all of the private camps throughout the valley? The most popular ones during the hot days can cost up to $350 per week per child. If you have multiple kids like me, then you know the reality. “Camp Mom” (or Dad) is more than likely where they will be attending this year. I am here to show you 9 ways to be your kids’ summer camp counselor.

Harkins Summer Movie FunHarkins Summer Movie Fun: Cost: $7 a person for 10 movies

Grab the stroller, the Bjorn, the sippy cups, and meet friends to survive the hot summer mornings indoors with other parents and their offspring watching a recently released family movie at Harkins Theatres. If the baby cries or the toddler get fussy, no one cares. They get it. Are you running late? Don’t stress. It is no big deal. You purchased the tickets ahead of time and there will be seats available.  Can’t make it at all, don’t sweat it. The tickets didn’t cost much. Don’t forget to grab the souvenir cup and popcorn tee-shirt you already own. For only $1.00 more you can upgrade to a large popcorn from the free medium popcorn with the tee-shirt and get a free refill. It is the cheapest way to get everyone a snack.  Also, as an added bonus for purchasing the whole summer movie pack, Harkins gives you a free kid’s combo (good on a later date) for the snack bar. Our family loves this low cost summer time weekly tradition.

Gym Tour: MSF Kid's Area Cost: The going single parent membership rate ($45-$75 a month)

I actually have 2 gym memberships just for the summer. I know. How does this save money? I keep my regular membership at Mountainside Fitness that I use throughout the year and purchase another one at the local YMCA. The kids beg to go to the childcare at MSF. There is a movie theater, video games with big screens, a bounce house, and always friends to play with there.  Usually we visit the gym closest to our house. But for the summer…. why not travel to a different spot a little further away and scope out that location!?! Maybe by the end of the summer, the kids will even be able to vote on their favorite MSF in the Phoenix area.

Then why the Y, too? I pay for a single parent family membership (although I am married) at the local YMCA. My husband is at work and can’t join us on those hot summer days. However, he can work-out or play racquetball with us on the weekends during family free times. The Y waives the expensive joining fee if you sign-up for a kids’ sports program or lessons. Two of our kids want to play summer basketball. So, it made sense to join to get this fee waived and get the discounted member pricing on the league or other activities. My favorite part of all is when the youngest sibling doesn’t want to watch her older sibling’s basketball games, I put her in the childcare for the hour+ during the game. It is included in the membership and she is happy.

PogoPOGO PASS Pass: Cost: $39.95 a person good for one year with promo code SUMMERFUN

Have you heard about this awesome POGO Pass? For a low one time fee, even lower with the promo code listed above, you get access to 17 different venues for a whole year. That is right. Just one payment gets you in all these places. There may be some minor equipment costs at certain locations but it is a great deal. Look at it this way, one visit to Sun-Splash and the pass pays for itself.  Your kids could plan their own summer “field trips”.


Splash Pads: Cost: FREE

Slap on the sun screen, put on the hats, throw in some towels, wrangle up the plastic buckets and cups, bring the umbrella, pack the lunch boxes and the head to one of these Phoenix Splash Pads for some cooling summer fun.


Sun SplashWater Parks Seasonal Passes:  COST: $44.95-$84.99 a person

Bigger kids need bigger thrills. So, if the splash pads won’t cut it for your teenager, then try out the surrounding area water parks like Six Flags Water Park, Big Surf, or Golfland/Sunsplash. If you are looking for a staycation and waterpark option, then check out the Arizona Grand Hotel.


Summer Bowling Pass (2)Summer Bowling Pass: Cost: $26.95-$36.95 a person (Depends on location and age)

I am so excited about this Summer Bowling Pass. It is good now until September 5. You get 3 games per day and shoe rental included with the pass. We live super close to a bowling alley and our kids are all old enough to enjoy this together. It’s so fun! Last night the older boys came to me with a summer bowling tournament bracket for our family members. I can’t wait to see who wins in Sept.

City Parks and RecCity Classes: Cost: Varies

Don’t forget our city of Scottsdale offers tons of classes for youth at prices lower than most private companies. There are indoor tennis classes, swim lessons,  dance combo sessions, sports camps, art lessons, and much more. Find one that interests your youth and save.

Summer Reading Programs: Cost: Free

Who doesn’t enjoy a good book? If your children love to read, then sign them up to get rewarded for doing what they enjoy. The Scottsdale Public Library System is offering prizes by earning points through reading this summer. The award could be as little as a hunt in the treasure chest to a free kid’s meal.


VBS Summer 2016Vacation Bible Schools: Cost: $20-$45 a child a week (some churches offer $120 a family maximums)






Hands down, this is the best deal in town. It is good on the wallet and great for the soul. Different churches hold these vacation bible schools at various times and weeks throughout the summer. Kids get snacks, crafts, songs, stories, fellowship, etc. They are always looking for volunteers. Some of my best memories and most fulfilling moments are from serving the little ones during these fun, safe, loving, and nurturing moments at VBS.  There are many churches who host bible school around the city, too many to list. I featured a few popular ones above.

Print out the blank summer months from the calendar templates on your computer printer and plan the days or weeks away. You got this!  By the time school starts again, you will be surprised at how you were the kid’s summer camp counselor!


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