Milton Decides to Cut Back on Summer Programs
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 16th, 2011
Many teenagers and adults have fond memories of time spent at a summer camp, but the current state of the economy poses a threat to today’s children who are looking forward to those same camp experiences, even at an establishment so financially blessed as Milton Academy.
Whether the camp is the typical overnight camp, made famous by movies such as The Parent Trap, an academic camp for either gifted or struggling students, or even a day camp featuring activities such as arts and crafts, camps are affected by today’s state of financial uncertainty.
Operating camps often calls for more time, money, and space than is practical to sacrifice. Milton’s past summer programs have needed a substantial budget in order to offer scholarships to students, provide salaries for those who lead the programs, and to keep the occupied buildings and facilities up and running.
This summer, Milton changed its offered programs. The decision to scale back the summer programs in 2011 was confirmed as far back as last fall.
In the words of Mr. Moore, the CFO, “Our physical plant gets very heavy use during the academic year, and in order to give it a rest and allow the Facilities Services Department the time to efficiently do extensive summer restoration work, we decided to reduce the number and extent of summer programs.” In our case, not only would downsizing summer camps save money, it would allow Facilities more time and freedom to refurbish our grounds before the school year.
Mr. Moore continued, “Giving the campus a rest, with sufficient time to do restorative work during the summer, allows students to come back to academic buildings, fields, and athletic facilities that are in better condition, and allows us to better meet our mission.”
In complex foundations such as Milton, the decision can often come down to simply choosing the most efficient solution. Milton is foremost a school, and recklessly dividing our resources, especially in an unstable economy, could detract from the quality of many programs.
The number of summer camps this year were reduced largely because we needed to refocus our time and money in order to assure that students would still have as successful a year as possible.
While Facilities was able to work on the campus without the distraction of campers running around, Mr. Moore also pointed out, “We determined that summer programs were not making the Academy money.”
The reasons to cut back on camps all seem perfectly understandable, but it also means that the generation of children behind us may not be able to recollect memories of meeting new friends, playing basketball, studying, swimming, and engaging in various other activities under the supervision of caring adults.
If a place like Milton Academy was forced to choose whether or not to continue camps, what does that mean for the other hundreds of smaller, less affluent organizations that strive to open their doors for children in the summer?
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