In an effort to help you come up with a way to raise money for camp without driving yourself, your administrators, or the parents crazy, we are offering a few ideas.
Easiest method: Students ‘pay’ their own way a little at a time. (With a teacher in charge.)
- Make arrangements with your administrator for an ‘account’ to be created. This will allow you to bring a ‘money bag’ to the office each day.(Most banks will give you one free zippered money bag.)
- Be sure to write down the deposit on an account page that always is kept in the bag. When you turn the $ bag in, the secretary can recount your money and initial the amount. She can then return the $ bag to your box for the next day.
- Set up a ‘savings account’ for each student in your classroom computer. This is easily done in a spreadsheet program. Each time a student gives you money, type in the amount they give you and you should give them a receipt for that amount.
- Receipts can be prepared and printed in batches. The student can write their own name on the slip while you type the amount into the account. Then you just need to put the amount and initial the slip. (Takes less than 5 minutes to complete the process.)
Of course, you are thinking of the children that are from families that are suffering financially or that have many siblings. Some students may be given the opportunity to earn some of their money by doing errands for others. But, our suggestion is to ask your local Rotary Club, Garden Club, church men’s or ladies’ group, etc. if you could have 10 minutes of time to tell them about the camp and how it will benefit your students. Explain how much the students need the experience and how some cannot afford to pay. Then solicit scholarships. Take donations on the spot (be sure to give receipts) and explain how they may get money to you later. Ask them to spread the word. They will understand how little it will cost and how much good it will do for children.
Note: I wouldn’t mention the possibility of a scholarship to the students in class. I would wait a few weeks and then, when I could see that a child had little or no funds, I would send a note or call their parent and ask that if I could get a scholarship, would they accept it. I would emphasize that no one but they and myself (not even the child) would know about it. After using this method for many years, I can honestly say, I never once lacked for funds to send every child on every trip taken. (Parent volunteers would be very helpful with these types of activities.)
Set up a booth at your school (or community’s) Fall Festival or Carnival. It will be fun to make it ‘Science’ related and to make sure your advertisement or sign states that you are raising money for your students to attend Science Camp.
- Bury CHEAP plastic dinosaur bones (available through Oriental Trading) in small aluminum loaf pans (disposable type) and let students ‘dig’ for bones.
- Using the clear disposable containers for tennis balls (ask coaches), make “Floating Ball” toys to sell. To make these, simply fill the container within an inch or two from the top with rice (cheap old fashioned is best) and one small ball (about the size of a ‘Jacks’ ball). Seal the container with clear duct tape. The trick is to turn the container upside down and try and make the ball ‘float’ to the top again... then, flip it over and do it again. Kids LOVE these things and will play with them for hours.
- Set up a Science activity booth... students pay to complete a simple experiment (there are thousands on the internet). Anything that creates noise, color, or surprise will have them coming back for more. You could set up several tables with different activities at each and then charge separately for each activity.
Funny Photos: Set up a funny, painted scene with face; hand; foot holes, and take pictures (kids like to do this in pairs or groups) and take orders for photos. Photos should ONLY be sold to those actually in the picture.
Star-Party: Contact an area Astronomy Club (yes, they are out there) and ask them if they would help you set up a ‘Star-Party’. Advertise and charge for students, parents, and community to come and view the night sky through the telescopes the astronomers would bring. (You could even sell popcorn and hot cocoa - if it is a chilly night - or, snow-cones if it is hot.) I have done this on a practice football field. Most important - you need a spot with as little light as possible.
Raffle off donated ‘treasures’: Nothing to lose... everything to gain. Kids love raffles! I have found that I make more money when there is a variety of items are fairly inexpensive and tickets can be sold for $0.25 - $1.00, as opposed to an expensive item that requires the tickets to cost quite a bit. Having a raffle of seasonal items a month or so before the holiday works well.
Competitions can be great if well organized: Jump-rope, walk-a-thons, shooting hoops, throwing a football through a suspended tire and soccer obstacle course races will all earn money. Competitors can pay to compete, or even better, students get sponsors for the competition.
If you live close to a botanical nursery ask them to donate rose bushes, trees, etc.
I have used this one. Some nurseries will give you a discounted price if not free. You can set it up where each student gets the money for the trees they sell. If you are selling them for $10 each and a student sells 6 trees then they have paid for their trip. Or you can make a competition out of it and give the top three sellers some prize. When we would sell fruit trees we would sell an average of $350 a year.