Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Baton Rouge Music Studios.
Value vs Affordability: A Summer Camp Dilemma
One afternoon in January 2018, I closed my laptop with a confident smile, clapping my hands together and thinking “Good to go!” I had just finished comparing my camp prices with local music camp competitors’ prices and found that I was again right in line with the norm for camps that offer a similar experience. Our camps averaged $450 per week and, as someone who is super proud of my team as well as the quality of our product, I have always been confident that these prices accurately reflect our value.
Fast forward to April 2018, when I myself was looking at summer camp options for my 6 year old son. The first thing my wife and I did was sit down and discuss our summer camp budget. To my surprise (and a bit to my horror), I realized that our household budget could not afford to send my own kid to my own camp. Yikes! We settled on a fabulous camp we could afford to send him to all summer long, and my already super busy wheels kicked into overtime.
“How many other families cannot afford my camp? How many people are glancing at our prices, thinking ‘nope!’ then surfing on to the next option? How many kids are missing out on a wonderful experience with my stellar team simply because we are out of their parents’ price range?” These questions kept me up at night as I anxiously tossed and turned over math and the feasibility of lowering my prices.
There was no doubt that I had priced my camps appropriately regarding other camps like mine, but my whole perception of value vs. affordably began to shift. “How can we maintain our value while making our experience more accessible to our community?”
We want our kids to have great experiences all summer long. Many of us need our kids to be in day camps so we can work to afford them, and many of us are working on super tight budgets. So my new note to self each January is “Don’t forget to save enough money to afford 2 months of quality summer childcare.” And the question becomes, where is the balance between value and affordability? Where do we send our kids so that we know they are safe, active, and learning without having to ask the grandparents for yet another big handout to help us give our kids something special? (Thanks mom and dad!)
The realization that I priced myself out of my own camps caused me to reflect on why I started my business in the first place.I wanted every child, no matter what their musical interest, to have the opportunity to learn, explore and create in a place where adult musicians are good role models and sincerely support them. Thirteen years later, I still want every child to be able to take part in the special things my team and I have created along the way, and although I can’t simply make our camps free, I can certainly risk a lower price point in order to get closer to my mission of music for all. We can’t be everything to everyone, but we can try to create a situation that will allow more people to come and see who we are.
I settled on the price of $250 per week for a full day, early drop off and late pick up included, with a special summer-long-price of $1400, ($175 per week) if paid in full before camps begin, and even a per-day option of $65 so people can at least get in a few days here and there.
So, now our camp prices and opportunities to attend them look completely different, but the camps themselves still include the same wonderful programs and activities as always.
Be a part of our community for a day, a week, or all summer long and find out just how special we are! Each week campers ages 11-17 get to choose a primary focus, such as singing, songwriting, being in a band, recording and video editing, and campers ages 6-10 participate in general music exploration as well as arts & crafts activities each day. If your child is under 11 and you are confident they can function in a focused program, we are happy to assess them. If we think the experience will be positive for them, we’ll send em on through! And because we have so many areas of focus, campers can switch up all summer long to keep things fresh. Even if they stay within the same focus, every week is a brand new week with new objectives, new projects, and fresh activities so it doesn’t feel like the same old thing all summer long.