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Polk day camp fees now going week-to-week

County eliminates 3-and-4 day a week payment options

COLUMBUS — Summer day campers at the Polk County Recreation Department will no longer be able to pay for just three and four days.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and approved changing the fee schedule to campers paying for the entire week, plus a $10 weekly field trip fee, no matter how many days they attend.

Polk County Recreation Director Jerry Stensland said it takes a lot of staff time to track how often campers come, especially if families have multiple children, and the week-to-week payment plan makes a lot more sense. He also said adding the cost of the field trip weekly will ensure no children feel left out.

The old fees included options for children attending three, four or five days of camp, and parents signing children up and paying separately for field trips.

“The structure does not have a clear mechanism to bill parents when they have multiple children coming a different number of days per week (i.e. one child comes three times and two other children come five days),” Stensland said. “Field trips in the past were paid separately and only those kids who paid went.”

The new structure includes children attending five days of camp at $80 per week, which includes the $10 field trip fee. There are discounts for multiple children, including $120 for two children, $160 for three children and $200 for four children.

Other changes coming will include an online registration option. Stensland said employees are training for that now.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson asked how many children come to the summer day camp. Stensland said between 70 to 100 per day.

Commissioner Tommy Melton said his concern is that no child in Polk County is denied access to that county service.

Stensland said there are options for low-income children, including through Thermal Belt Outreach and the department of social services.