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Frazzled parents find $39K substitute for shuttered summer camps

Daniella Genovese

After months of homeschooling, some parents are now shelling out tens of thousands of dollars on private summer camps to take the place of traditional sites shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, one family is even splitting a $38,500 bill with other parents for a specialized program called Home Camp, the program's co-founder and managing partner, Seymour Gregorio, told FOX Business.

Born out of the unprecedented crisis, the organization sends counselors, lifeguards, certified teachers and swimming instructors to individual homes to work with groups of three to six kids, depending on the membership plan.

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The alternative summer escapes, while pricey, may provide relief for both kids and parents disappointed to see fallout from the pandemic disrupting yet another facet of American life.

But despite the pause, the well-equipped log-cabin summer camps that have become a vacation staple, offering the "full traditional experience," are projected to reopen next summer, said Arlene Streisand, founder and director of Camp Specialists, which has been connecting camps and families free of charge since 1992.

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For now, though, Streisand acknowledges that "kids have been restricted in terms of playing and getting together with their peers." The result is that the children need socialization and parents "need a break," she said.

Home Camp's program, which has 10 families signed up so far, costs $5,500 per week for a shared membership, which usually comprises four to five families and four to six children. Families can also opt for a more private experience that costs about $39,000 per week for up to four children.

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The program, whose employees have more than 10 years of experience in the industry, focuses on supporting the "social, emotional and cognitive development" of children," Gregorio said. Counselors come well equipped with masks and a treasure trove of activities specific to the "profile of the children," he added.

Families can decide whether counselors need to wear the mask throughout the duration of the camp. Each day begins with discussions on safety and hygiene designed to get kids into the habit of washing their hands regularly before the new school year begins.

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