County parks offer camp scholarships for lower-income kids


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Sydney Miller

The Montgomery County Parks Foundation has collected $5,000 dollars of scholarship money to give local children financial support to participate in summer camps.

Scholarships will be available for children ages 6-14 via an online application until the funds run out, Michael Nardolilli, executive director of the Montgomery County Parks Foundation, said. He expects the foundation will be able to fund about 25 scholarships.

Students who formerly attended Montgomery County camps are excited that more kids can experience them.

The best part of summer is going to camp, making friends and experiencing new things,” sophomore Rasika Dronamraju said, reflecting on various Montgomery County camps she attended as an elementary schooler. “The most important thing to me is I want all kids to be able to have a good time during the summer, so I think this scholarship program is a great way to give students from lower-income families that opportunity.”

The high cost of the camps created a need for scholarships. For five sessions, a golf camp costs almost $300, a wilderness survival camp costs $350 and a nature film camp costs $400.

Some students feel the parks foundation should provide scholarships for camps that are less intensive and require less equipment.

I thought golf camp was fun when I went, and it really helped develop my skills by teaching me the fundamentals of the game,” junior Felix Xu said. “But I don’t think low-income kids should go to those types of camps. Golf is a very expensive sport to play, and if the kids’ families have $200 to spare for equipment and extra expenses and practice, that would be fine, but otherwise I think a camp like that would waste the kid’s time because they can’t do anything else with golf after that.”

Still, Nardolilli maintains the general importance of summer camp opportunities for children.

“A summer camp allows kids to expand their universe,” Nardolilli said.

Applications for the scholarships are now open and scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.