HEALTHY LIVING
07/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Pricey Summer Camp -- Is It Worth It?

For the first time since they each turned 6, Eva Rosenwald of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will not be sending her two children, Ruby, age 7, and Henry, 8 1/2, to day camp. "I couldn't stomach another summer of paying lots of money for a camp, having to schlep my kids to places they didn't want to go, when we could be playing at the pool with friends, or hanging in a more relaxed, chill way at home," she says. Disappointed by rigorous, school-like rules at sporty, nature-oriented and creative camps of the past, she's banking on an occasional tennis lesson, family trips, time with grandparents, and old-fashioned play to keep her kids occupied. The Rosenwalds aren't the only ones opting for a free-range summer. Nearly half of the 399 sleepaway and day camps polled in the American Camp Association's 2009 spring-enrollment survey reported decreases of 10 percent to 15 percent, with the economy cited as a key reason.

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