Parents are starting to think about summer camp and wondering what they will be able to afford this year. The costs of camp may seem daunting to many families, especially in today’s economic downturn,” says Nurit Zachter of Princeton, a consultant for Tips on Trips and Camps. “However, especially for working parents, camp is not a luxury but an essential part of the summer.”##M:[more]##

Tips on Trips and Camps offers the following suggestions to make summer sleep away camps and teen programs affordable.

1. Be aware of early enrollment discounts. Plan ahead. 2. Ask the camp about a discount for multiple children from one family. 3. Inquire about shorter sessions to accommodate a tight budget. 4. Make summer a part of your educational plan. Choose a shorter specialty program that will enhance the student’s profile for college or help develop a new interest or skill.

While private camps are not subsidized, camps run by county government or agencies including the Jewish Federation, the JCC, the Salvation Army, Campfire Boys and Girls or the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, offer a summer experience at a reduced cost.

“Camp is a wonderfully enriching gift you can give your child,” she says. “No matter what your budget, there is a camp to meet your family’s financial and educational needs.”

Camp Open House, Jewish Community Center, Abrams Hebrew Academy, Yardley, PA. Sunday, January 11, 1 to 4 p.m. Information about Abrams Day Camp and teen travel. 609-219-9550.

Summer Camp Fair, American Camp Association, Bridgewater Marriott, 700 Commons Way. Sunday, January 18, Noon to 3 p.m. Camp directors and staff meet parents and children and provide information and brochures on camp programs from Maine to Florida. Traditional, specialized, residential, and day programs are represented. Older teens and adults seeking a summer camp job also welcome. Free. 732-469-8910.

Summer Trip and Program Fair, Princeton High School, 151 Moore Street. Wednesday, January 21, 7 to 9 p.m. Fair for teens and the parents featuring more than 35 summer programs for teens. Nurit Zachter, a consultant with Tips on Trips and Camps, offers a consulting service for overnight camps for ages 8 to 18. Free. 609-497-3434.

Camp Open House, Jewish Community Center, Rider University Recreation Center. Sunday, January 25, 2 to 5 p.m. Information about Abrams Day Camp and teen travel. 609-219-9550. Also, Sunday, March 15, 2 to 5 p.m.