OK, so sending your kid to Camp Millionaire might not actually make him a millionaire, but it’ll sure get him excited about taking care of his finances.And that’s probably a lot more helpful for his future than making lanyards.
In fact, the website for Camp Millionaire boasts a plethora of promises for would-be attendees (and their parents):
- Do you want your kids to get excited about managing their money?
- Do you want your kids to understand the value of a buck, specifically yours?
- Do you want your kids to be able to experience the best that life has to offer?
We’ll raise our hands to all of those.
Still, we’ll be the first to admit that when we heard about the outcropping of camps geared toward teaching your kids about money, we were sceptical. Isn’t camp supposed to be about fun and games? Will a camp geared toward finance and money really capture the attention of our kids the way other, more traditional ones, do?
To find out we decided to go straight to the source—a mum who sent her kid away to one.
Where: Camp Millionaire, which began in 2002, has locations in California in Anaheim Hills, Santa Barbara, Los Gatos and Palm Desert, as well as in Atlanta, Georgia
Who: Kids ages 10-13
What: 2- to 5-day sessions
Cost: Prices vary from program to program, but start at $199 with a 25% sibling discount
What This mum Had to Say
We called up Kate Parker, mum of 11-year-old Simon, who attended the camp this past spring break. Here’s what she had to say about his experience.
How did you find out about Camp Millionaire?
We have listings that come out every season with a new set of camps that are open, and I had been tracking Camp Millionaire for a while as something I might be interested in having one of my kids do.
What made you want to send your son to the camp in the first place?
I have a 16-year-old son, and I’ve been watching him lately, noticing the things that he doesn’t know. He’s going off on his own soon, and he doesn’t know a lot about money, so I was wishing that he had that kind of education. I decided to try starting younger with my other kids. When my youngest is old enough, I plan on sending her as well.
This is the first time I’ve seen him establishing longer-term goals for his money, instead of waiting and hoping for birthday money to pay for something.
So it was a good experience, then?
Simon had a great time, and he always says he absolutely would recommend it to other kids. If I had been presenting the same information to him, as his mother, it would have come across as a lecture, or really dry, but at the camp it was fun. I asked a lot of questions along the way about whether he was having a good time, if he was learning things he thought were valuable, and if he would recommend it to his friends. All along the way he always said yes, he would.
What kind of activities did they do?
The week my son went there were about 20 or 25 kids total, and each day was geared toward a different financial lesson. They played a lot of games that pertained to particular things about money, like holding a job, the different ways to make money, budgeting, things like that. Each day was different, but everything they did was geared toward making money and how to be smart with it.
Have you seen any changes in Simon since the camp?
He’s only 11, so he’s definitely not ready to get a job yet–but he sure does appreciate his allowance more! And he certainly understands more now about putting money aside for when he wants something–and he always does want something–that is beyond his allowance amount.
He’s saving, and that’s a big difference I see. This is the first time I’ve seen him establishing longer-term goals for his money, instead of waiting and hoping for birthday money to pay for something. And we talk more about money now, and he understands the concepts much more. He’s interested in finance in a way that he just wasn’t before.
Would you say the camp was worth the money?
It actually is less expensive than the standard amount for day camps in our area–I think it’s very reasonable. Especially for what you get out of it.
On the camp’s side of things, Jan Ruskin, Program Manager, says she believes they are filling a much-needed hole. “I doubt there is anyone out there who doesn’t agree that financial education is important and imperative for our kids,” Ruskin told us. “And the earlier and more often they get it, the better.”