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Tips for snagging a spot at a Twin Cites area summer camp

Options still available for Twin Cities families seeking summer camps
Options still available for Twin Cities families seeking summer camps 02:39

MINNEAPOLIS — Summer is quickly approaching and with it, summer camps.

It's a popular summer staple, but it's also quite competitive. Ramsey County hosts eight weeks of summer Day Camp at the Tamarack Nature Center — when registration opened up at the start of February, spots filled up within 10 minutes.

"There's a lot of demand for summer camps," Minneapolis Neighborhood Day Camp program lead Rebecca Lewis said.

It doesn't surprise Lewis — she's seen the competitive nature of camps firsthand.  

"I've been in the camping world for most of my life and I know it's a very, very competitive process and sometimes it doesn't give equal access to the camping world," she said.

It's why the city is making an effort to make camp more equitable: Offering scholarships and even some free options to campers. To ensure Minneapolis families get first pick, registration doesn't open for folks outside of the city until June 1.

"I would say probably about half of our campsites are filled 50%. We expect those to fill up very quickly once we open it up outside of Minneapolis," she said. "But, we just want to leave a little space for that."

Space also isn't hard to come by at The Sanneh Foundation.

"We've got over 100 camps and can accommodate 10,000 youth," The Sanneh Foundation CEO Tony Sanneh said.

The foundation opened registration up for its free summer sports programs at the start of April. Camps are located all over the metro for kids to teenagers, all summer long.

"It's one of my pleasures to see kids having fun and parents know there's no barriers to entering these camps," Sanneh said. "Parents are looking for things to do and traditionally not all families have access to the same information. And we're working really hard to make sure that our camps are open."

Sanneh says it's sponsors like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Delta Dental of Minnesota that help make this work happen.

Ramsey County encourages families to join the waitlist for camp if they're interested but unable to snag a spot. Experts in the industry tell WCCO schools often have camp scholarships available as well.

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