Why Is Roughing It Day Camp SO Expensive?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive every year is: why is Roughing It Day Camp and other great day camps SO expensive.  There are many reasons for the high cost of quality camps but mostly it revolves around our strong desire to provide the very best and very safest camp experience for our campers.  I have shared several of the major costs that we have chosen to pay in order that our campers thrive at camp.  I hope this helps and, as always, if you have any questions, please call or email us.


Why Is Roughing It SO Expensive?

The Short Answer Is:  Because Your Child IS Worth It!!! 

“The Roughing It Experience – PRICELESS!”

Your child does deserve the VERY Best!!!

Roughing Its Commitment to Excellence.  Roughing It is expensive because “Quality Does Cost!”  We are committed to providing the VERY BEST FOR OUR CAMPERS.  We take every effort and expense necessary to ensure the safety of our campers and to provide the very best program possible.  There are many camps around who have ways to save some money but most of these cost savings reduce the quality of the program and lessen the impact that camp makes on the growth of campers. 

Some of the cost items that provide a much better camp experience for our campers are: 

All Paid Adult Staff – No Volunteers.  All staff at Roughing It are paid because we believe that this allows us to recruit and retain the very best and most experienced staff possible.  We only hire the very best staff and only recruit experienced staff.  The very high quality staffs that we use in all our programs can have their pick of programs to work at which requires that we pay the best of any camp around.  When it comes to staff, the best DOES cost a little more.  We are happy to pay all our staff to ensure that your camper has the very best experience possible every summer at Roughing It.

Older Adult Staff (Not Young Teens).  Roughing It employs only older adult staff and does not employ teens or high school aged staff as is done by other camps.  We do not recruit staff unless they have already completed their freshman year of college.  Infrequently we will hire one of our most experienced graduates of our junior counselor program as they enter their freshman year but all other staff will have completed a year of college prior to beginning work at Roughing It.  Most of our group counselors and senior staff are entering their junior or senior year in college and we always have a few who have already graduated from college.  We are convinced that older, more mature and more experienced staff provide a better role model for our campers and provide a higher level of safety, supervision and leadership than the younger staff hired by other camps.  Please visit our website and read the individual biographies of our staff.  We feel assured that you will be very impressed with the quality and character of these amazing youth leaders.

Full Time Supervisors.  Roughing It employs a variety of year around and summer seasonal supervisors to provide additional experience, leadership and supervision to our seasonal staff.  Most of these supervisors have worked several seasons at Roughing It and are well seasoned in the Roughing It policies and procedures.  Each of our major program areas is directed by a Program Supervisor and an Assistant Program Supervisor whose job it is to train, supervise and develop our summer seasonal staff.  We also have staff administrators to provide supervision of our transportation program and our CampPlus after camp program.  We have two unit leaders who directly supervise our group counselors and provide additional leadership to our camper groups.  Amy Woods serves year around as our Assistant Director and is responsible for the ongoing liaison with our camper parents.  Our full time supervisors are an additional expense, but they are a crucial component of Roughing Its formula for success.

Free Transportation for All Campers.  Roughing It is one of only a very few day camps in the bay area to provide free transportation to all of our full day campers.  Other day camps either require parents to drop their campers off at camp or charge an additional fee for transportation.  Transportation is an integral part of the camp experience, and we provide a second additional staff member on the bus to lead bus games and activities with campers as they travel to and from camp.     

Free Door to Door Transportation in Central Areas.  Roughing It is the only day camp to provide free door to door transportation to our 4 week and 8 week day campers from our central areas.  This requires us to have a full time transportation on staff during the summer to manage our extensive transportation system and routes.  We are constantly trying to expand our door to door transportation. 

Professional Full Time Bus Drivers  .  Roughing It uses full time, professional and experienced bus drivers whose only responsibility is to drive our vans and buses.  Other camps use younger, part time college students to drive their buses but Roughing It is committed to a much higher standard of safety.  We sub-contract  our bus driver from Laidlaw Educational Transportation Services, the premier school bus country in the country.  Our bus drivers are full time professional drivers who drive all year long for school districts and are continually supervised, trained and monitored by Laidlaw.  The same drivers return each summer to Roughing It and we are sure that we have the most qualified and most experienced bus drivers possible.

CHP & School Bus Certifications.  Our drivers receive more initial training (60-80 hours), obtain a school bus driver’s license (as opposed to the lower Class B standard) and are tested by the CHP (as opposed to the DMV).  They are full time, year round professional school bus drivers who are the very best that can be provided.  This level of professional driving does cost more but again we feel very strongly that the extra level of safety is necessary for our campers.

Bus Captains on Every Bus (2nd Adult).  Roughing It also has an additional adult on each bus to provide full time supervision of campers and to organize fun and meaningful activities while the bus is in transit.  This provides an additional level of safety and supervision during the bus trip and allows the driver to focus on driving.  Most other camps do not provide this level of safety during transportation. 

All Staff Certified is 1st Aid & CPR.  All staff at Roughing It are fully certified in BOTH first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  Several of our staff are certified at even higher levels of first aid (first responder, wilderness first aid, etc) and several staff are certified as CPR for the professional rescuer.  We believe that requiring every staff member be certified provides a much greater level of safety awareness and protection for our campers.  The American Camp Association and the State ofCalifornia require that camps have one certified first aider on staff.  Roughing It believes that each and every staff member should be certified in both first aid & CPR. 

Wilderness First Responder Certification.  Fulltime professional year around staff at Roughing It are required to obtain their Wilderness First Responder certification during the initial year of their employment.  This 80 hour course provides our senior administrators with a much greater level of emergency response experience than does the standard 4 hour first aid training we require of all staff members.    

Lifeguard Certification.  Roughing It requires and funds lifeguard training for all of our waterfront staff and swim staff.  Most other camps and summer programs will operate their aquatic programs with 1-2 lifeguards on their staff but Roughing It operates with 10-15 lifeguards on staff.  Roughing It provides the very highest level of aquatic supervision by requiringALL swim and waterfront staff to obtain lifeguard certification, first aid certification and CPR certification.  Most other camps have one or a few lifeguards present on their staff but we believe that every staff member working in aquatics should have full lifeguard certification.

Senior Staff Certifications. We also send and fund senior aquatic staff in obtaining their American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification and we fund our senior horseback riding staff to the Certified Horsemanship Association instructor certification clinic.

Fully Accredited Camp.  Roughing It is fully accredited by the American Camping Association.  This is the very highest certification in the field of camping and has become the standard for judging quality camps in this country.  The certification process is both time consuming and expensive but does ensure to camper parents that Roughing It does meet the very highest standards of camp safety and operation.

Extensive Paid All-Staff Training.  All Roughing It staff participates in an extensive 6 day staff training prior to the opening of each summer season.  Staff receives specific instruction in safety management, emergency response, outdoor safety, supervision and camp policies.  Staff also receives additional training in camp program design, delivery and evaluation.  All supervisors and administrators participate in both an additional 3 day supervisors training.  All staff members are paid for their participation in the required trainings.

All Staff Works for the Complete Season.  All staff members are contracted for the whole summer season at Roughing It.  This provides important continuity and consistency for our campers and the camp program.  This is a major difference between Roughing It and other camps who allow staff to come and go through out the summer.  It is much harder and more expensive to recruit staff for the whole summer but we are convinced that a consistent staff vastly improves the quality of the program for our campers and is well worth the additional cost.

All Staff Background Checks & Supervision.  Roughing It conducts extensive background checks on potential staff before hiring them.  We employ one full time staff member all year to recruit and check out staff before we hire them.  We understand that Roughing It parents want staff of both the very highest character and highest leadership ability for their children.  We also submit staff to the California Department of Justice for background screening and all staff are enrolled in both drug and alcohol testing program throughout their employment at Roughing It.

Performance & Return Staff Bonuses.  Staff receives substantial bonuses for both performance and for completing the season.  These bonuses increase greatly with each year that staff returns to Roughing It in order to ensure that our best staff return for as many years as possible.  This has resulted in a 68% staff return rate which has greatly improved the quality of our program.

A Program Second to None!!!  Roughing It strongly strives to deliver a program second to none!  It is our desire to be the VERY BEST camp possible and we choose to compete on QUALITY as opposed to price.  We seek camper families who seek the very best for their children and are willing to pay for the best. 

Investing in the Other Half of Your Childs Education.  Roughing It should be looked at as an investment in your child.  Most importantly it is an investment in the Other Half of Your Child’s Education.  Schools do a good job of providing educational skills to our children but camps of the quality of Roughing It provide very specific skills in the social and moral education of children.  The care, quality and design of the Roughing It experience provide parents a very meaningful return on their investment in their child’s future success.  Click here to read my thoughts concerning how Roughing It contributes to your child’s education:  HobieCamp Blog: The Other Half of Your Child’s Education.

Choosing the Best for Your Child: Investing in Your Child’s Future.  We hope that you will now appreciate that Roughing It’s niche is to serve camper families who sincerely desire the very best for their children and are willing to invest in their child’s future.  We hope that you will choose to invest in the very best for your children by enrolling in Roughing It this summer.

We believe that Roughing It is an excellent Investment 

in your child’s growth & future.

We believe Roughing It is worth the high cost you pay!

Give Your Child the Very Best Summer of Their Life – Roughing It Day Camp