For many sleepaway and day camps, this past Monday was opening day for the summer of 2021! After 15 months of Covid-19, many kids will be happy to spend extended time out of the house and away from their parents. For parents, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
After we dropped off my nephew at basketball camp last Sunday, I started thinking about how big of a business camp has become. Last year, many parents decided to skip sending their children to camp, and this year, demand has increased more than supply, especially for the higher-end camps.
As a kid, you never think about how much your parents are paying for the camp you attend. For this column, I decided to dig in deep and call my client and friend, Ken Barer. Ken (KB) is the Athletic Director and part-owner of Camp Mohawk, a high-end day camp in White Plains for children ages 3-13. Ken played Pro Basketball in France and is the former Men’s Basketball Head Coach at Umass Lowell.
Early in the conversation, I learned that summer camps have come a long way since I went to (KSA) Kutcher’s Sports Academy many moons ago. Back then, many of my friends went to Camp Anawana.
It is clear to me that Camp Mohawk is different from the regular day camp. Most of their counselors (known as Group Leaders) are teachers, some have been with the camp for as long as 30 years.
Each Group Leader gets a tablet, and they post daily pictures and a summary of what their campers accomplished that day. The parents can download the Camp Mohawk app and can access the pictures as well as message the group leaders. They can also request play dates for their children and request an introduction to other parents through the app.
Camp Mohawk is considered a full-service, general day camp and one of the “Big-5” of high-end camps. Last year, due to Covid restrictions, they hosted 600 campers. They are proud to say they had zero positive Covid tests last summer! This year they will host approximately 800 campers, about 100 below normalcy. They have a staff of over 300 persons. They have an acceptance process that includes an interview and a guided tour of their sprawling 45-acre campus.
Mohawk runs a full 8-week summer session and offers 6-week and 4-week options. Camp Mohawk charges $10,000 for the full summer 8-week session for the first child. They offer sibling discounts for the 2nd and 3rd child, and the 4th child is free! Mohawk had a waiting list for this summer, and they suggest applying now for the summer of 2022.
The pricing includes transportation, (they have bus pickup spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn) a snack in the morning and in the afternoon, a full lunch, 2 daily swimming sessions (instruction in the morning and free period in the afternoon) towels and daily bathing-suit laundering. Their day runs from 9a-4p daily.
In addition to traditional sports like basketball, their campus features:
Covid-19 protocols include $20,000 of hand sanitizer and sink hand-washing stations across the campus and daily health and temperature checks that are logged online. For more information go to CampMohawk.com.
My takeaways are that I would like to wind the clock back to be a 10-year-old and go to Camp Mohawk for the next 3 summers. Summer camp can be expensive and should be budgeted for. To the kids who have suffered due to no fault of their own, have a fantastic summer!