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Memo to parents: Summer camps all over Tri-State Area are filling up fast

Crunch time for parents hoping to get their kids in summer camp
Crunch time for parents hoping to get their kids in summer camp 02:11

NEW YORK -- With the school year ending this month, it is crunch time for parents who haven't been able to enroll their children in a summer camp.

Programs are seeing record enrollment, but as CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported Tuesday, there are still options for families.

The indoor and outdoor pools, and recreation areas at the Castle Hill YMCA are ready to welcome up to 200 kids to the property when the first session of summer camp begins July 5. Four-year-old Bailey Abernathy's mom is hoping she will be one of them.

"Today is my graduation at the school," Bailey said, but added when asked what he plans are for the summer, "Don't know."

Mom and grandma don't know, either, because for July the YMCA has space for her 7-year-old sibling, but is at capacity for her age group.

This was their last hope after trying to enroll last week in the city's free camp, Summer Rising.

"We found out last week Thursday, filled out Friday morning. We brought them in and they said there's no spots," parent Katherine Peters said.

The YMCA is still hiring and hoping to get Bailey off a wait list.

A photo shows parents in New Jersey lining up hours before a town's camp registration opened for the day.

As a pricier alternative, Grace Bastidas, the editor-in-chief of, says hiring a babysitter is actually a little less than the average $178 a day for some sleepaway or day camps.

"The average daily cost of a babysitter is $128. According to, you can save big if you have more than one child, and let's say your college babysitter does not have, you know, these art skills. has so many tips for keeping your child entertained during those summer months," Bastidas said.

For some, the cost is also a challenge. The American Camp Association estimates that the cost of summer camp has risen 10 to 15 percent from last year.

"One way to ease the financial pain of summer is through employee flex spending accounts. So FSAS, which allows you to save out-of-pocket childcare expenses. And with FSAS funds are automatically deducted throughout the year on a pre-tax basis," Bastidas said.

The YMCA says the cost is cheaper this year because it doesn't need personal protective equipment. It is also processing 50 applications for financial aid, and does have room in most programs, especially for 10-to-14-year-olds.

"A lot of families are going back to work. Parents are looking for support and assistance, also academically and social emotional-wise," said Ibrahim Diakite, youth and family senior director for the Castle Hill YMCA. "We're doing the best we can."

"Every summer, that's the highlight of what we do -- to see the many kids run into our YMCAs and come here and leave here with a skill," Castle Hill Executive Director Sharlene Brown said.

And she hopes even though time is running out, the YMCA can accommodate every kid who wants to be a part of the fun.

The city confirms a record 101,000 students enrolled in its free Summer Rising program. A spokesperson says enrollment opened in April and there is no more space for elementary school students. There are still some spots for students in grades 6-8.

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