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US Sports Camps Featured in The Economist

August 10, 2012

PRWeb San Rafael, CA -- Summer Camp is an American tradition that is catching on in other parts of the world where some parents spend close to 30% of their income on child care related expenses.

In a recent article by the Economist, the subject of summer camps is explored as the popularity of sending kids to these programs is growing worldwide.

According to the article, the idea is spreading. In Britain, where childcare is costly—the average family with two earners spends 27% of after-tax income on it—day camps are popular. Super Camps, a national operator, charges £38 ($60) a day at most. A smaller rival, Camp Energy in Oxfordshire, charges £33. One of the founders of Mumsnet, a parenting website, calls such fees “eye-wateringly expensive”. Yet to many, they are a bargain. The minimum hourly wage for childminders is £6.08.

By one estimate, 250,000 British children attend summer camps each year. Their purpose, says Camp Energy’s founder, Barry Grinham, is “to ease the pain of parenting”. Their main competitor, says Justine Longford of Super Camps, is free child care from the extended family. Mr Grinham notes that many parents book at the last minute, after relatives cancel on them.

American camps operate on a grander scale. The American Camp Association estimates that over 10m children, including Sasha and Malia Obama, will attend one this summer. Specialist camps abound: for robotics fans, diabetes-sufferers, children whose parents are in the army or in prison, and so on. Lighter regulations make American camps more fun: safety rules bar British brats from enjoying the risky games that delight their American peers.

Some camps are marketing opportunities. US Sports Camps (USSC), for example, is sponsored by Nike, a sporting-goods firm. More than 55,000 kids will attend one of its 450 camps this summer; revenues are nearly $30m a year, says Steve Pence, the president. He reports steady growth in the past four years. “The last thing parents will cut is something for their child,” he explains.

USSC is trying to break into China. It has opened sports camps in Beijing and Shanghai, also sponsored by Nike. However, Mr Pence describes the Chinese market as “challenging”. Urban Chinese couples typically have one child, whose four grandparents have no other grandchildren. Finding babysitters is easier in Beijing than in Baltimore or Balham.

About US Sports Camps

US Sports Camps (USSC), headquartered in San Rafael, California, is America's largest sports camp network and the licensed operator of NIKE Sports Camps. The company has offered summer camps since 1975 with the same mission that defines it today: to shape a lifelong enjoyment of athletics through high quality sports education and skill enhancement.  Players, coaches, parents and others interested in the 2012 Nike Camps can visit http://www.ussportscamps.com/ or call 1-800-645-3226.

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