Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough County raises summer camp fees

Twins Kevin and Matthew Hill will spend their summer days shooting hoops, playing computer games and running around with friends.

The 10-year-olds are regulars at the Northdale Recreation Center, one of 42 sites to offer summer camps countywide.

"It's a great program and it's convenient and it's really still affordable," said their dad, Pete Hill, a pharmaceutical sales representative from Odessa. "But no matter who you are, (the increase) still hits your wallet."

For the second straight year, the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department has raised the price of its summer camp program in the face of a still struggling economy.

Fees for this year's summer camps, which started Monday, are as much as $480 for 10 weeks of care, though some families receive discounts or scholarships based on income. Though the cost remains less than some private camps, it is up significantly from 2008 when the county charged $5 a week or $50 for the entire program. Last year, the base cost was $300 for the summer.

"(County) commissioners basically said, find a way to have the program, but we really can't give you any more money," said parks and rec spokesman John Brill. "Our alternative was to charge a higher fee than we did in 2009, so that's what we did in order to survive."

The county has about 4,000 registered campers so far this summer and has collected about $319,000. In 2008, the county collected $421,957.

"I don't expect it to pay for the program, but it definitely helps," Brill said. "Anything we get is better than what we had."

Another big difference this year is that the county's summer program is now officially run as a licensed child care facility.

The county spent about $150,000 to meet state and county licensing requirements such as training and certifying all 260 staffers and renovating buildings. This summer, officials must follow strict ratios, which means they cannot take more than 25 children for every one camp counselor. In 2008, about 8,000 children participated. The county expects to serve about 6,200 children this summer.

"(The new fees) are a pretty dramatic increase for people and we're assuming that's why (enrollment) went down," Brill said.

The summer programs are still run by county staff and extra part-timers, Brill said.

He stressed that without the latest fee increases, the county would have not only shut down the summer programs, but also considered closing county parks two days a week and eliminating jobs.

However, residents told commissioners they wanted the same level of care and quality programming for their children and they were willing to pay for it.

"By raising rates, we were able to keep the services the way they were," Brill said. "Now it's time to see if those people are going to step up and pay."

Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813)909-4613 or

Hillsborough County raises summer camp fees 06/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 2:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fort Myers woman arrested for doing cocaine off iPhone in parent pick-up line

    Bizarre News

    A Fort Myers woman was arrested Tuesday after police saw her snorting cocaine off her iPhone while in the parent pick-up line at a Lee County middle school.

    Christina Hester, 39, faces two different drug-related charges, according to police records. [Lee County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic


    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law


    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  4. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system


    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.
  5. After Charlottesville, Judy Genshaft asks USF to "stand together with open minds and open hearts"


    TAMPA — In a welcome letter celebrating the start of a new academic year, University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft took a moment to reflect on last weekend's violence in Charlottesville and asked students to unite with "open minds and open hearts."

    USF president Judy Genshaft posed with graduate Matt Jackson in 2015.