DEAR HARRIETTE: My son wants to go to sleepaway camp next summer. Lots of his friends at school will be going away, and he wants to have that experience as well. Our family is not rolling in dough like some of his peers, though. My husband and I looked at the prices for the camps that our son (who is 12) has been talking about, and the price is through the roof. How can I manage my son's expectations? I don't know how we could possibly afford to send him to any of these places. -- To Go or Not to Go, Queens, New York
DEAR TO GO OR NOT TO GO: Don't give up before you do some research. Contact each of the camps that your son has shared with you. Find out if they offer financial aid to any of their students. Many camps gladly offer aid when parents make the request. Sometimes you have to show proof of need, but not always.
You can also research more affordable camps. There are sleepaway camps at all different price points. Some are rugged, some more refined. Some are affiliated with the local Y or other community organizations and can be extremely affordable. Plus, your child can go for a shorter time period if that helps reduce the cost. The point is that you should thoroughly look into your options before saying no. There may be a very good chance that you can say yes!