Hoopes Park

This week, well last week officially and with little notice, we said goodbye to the Borough of West Chester’s summer camp at Hoopes Park. 

Since ending the borough-run camp program in 2019, West Chester has struggled to figure out how to offer residents a summer option for its kids. Unlike West and East Goshen which both offer a (highly demanded and reasonably priced) summer-long option, West Chester seems to be having difficulty filling even a few weeks at a local park. This year they partnered with camp provider Fun 4 All to operate a series of week-long programs in Hoopes Park. 

We signed up for Slime Week and Wet and Wild Week. Both camps have now been canceled due to lack of participation. I received the first cancellation call while on vacation and less than a week before the camp was set to begin (it was a fun couple of days finding a back-up option, let me tell you.) What made matters worse, the decision was apparently made earlier this summer. 

“They decided to cancel the camp a week and a half ago,” Isabella Ryan, the Borough’s Park & Rec Program Coordinator told me. Unfortunately, the camp directors failed to notify anyone. When she received no calls or complaints from residents, Isabella decided to make some calls herself. The group has subsequently also canceled its Wet and Wild Week – but they were continuing to push a Lego camp. 

According to the Fun4All website, they charge $240 a week to put on the five day camp. This includes running the camp, all materials, and the staff. The final camp charge, however, is up to the partner location.

“The fee for each student is comprised of two parts,” the website reads. “The first part is a flat fee that Fun 4 All charges. The second part is whatever additional fee you, as the recreation department, decide to charge.” 

West Chester was charging $290/week for the camp for residents and non-residents alike. By comparison, East Goshen charges residents $110/week and non-residents $120/week for their camp. West Goshen offers an eight week camp program for just $200/per child for residents (there is also a multiple-child discount) and $300/per child for non-residents (no multi-child discount, but still amazing). 

Adding insult to injury – among the stated responsibilities to be covered by the Borough with those fees – location, sign ups and  “advertise to your community.” 

Published, July 14, 2023

This story is part of a longer weekly West Chester newsletter. Curious what else is going on? You can find the full issue here and the latest newsletter here. Even easier? Subscribe here to get the future issues delivered directly.

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