Football Camp in Ireland for $3500. Easy, right?

Football Camp in Ireland for $3500. Easy, right?

My teenager really loves football.

He eats, sleeps, and breathes football. Especially right now, seeing as it's football season. I like that he is so dedicated to it. It keeps him busy and goal oriented, which is an essential combination for teenagers, I think. He does well with structure and expectations and it spills over into his self discipline and behavior. Football teaches him about teamwork and brotherhood, it humbles him, which, I also think, is essential for teenagers. He doesn't always get played so he learns about disappointment, setting a goal, and never giving up. 

In addition, he also has something to talk about with Grandpa. I hear a male voice saying, "How about those (fill in the team)?" And I turn around and it's my man-child.

Last summer he wanted to go to football camp with his high school. The camp would be in California for a week and include a trip to Six Flags. It sounded like intensive training and bonding with his team mates. It was also almost $400. A chunk, yes. But with the help of relatives, birthday money, some earned money, and parents, he was able to go. Unfortunately, he got a bad sprain on his ankle the first day of practice and was out for the whole week. It was a bummer but he still got to bond with his team.

When he came back he announced that next year the team coaches were talking about a football camp in Ireland. My first reaction was, "Is that a small town in Florida or something?"

Nope. THE IRELAND. Land of green and rainbows and shamrocks. I'm sure it's about much more than that but I'm American and I like to stereotype. 'Murica.

My next reaction was, "They're kidding with you. They HAVE to be kidding."

Then I started hearing more about it. And the cost. $3500. 

And then I said, "Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha! Now, I know they're joking. Who can afford that?"

My son continued to mention the trip and I started to see information circulating about this trip to Ireland. Like from the school football Facebook page. I guess that made it official. This was actually happening.

My son started talking about it with that look in his eye. He wanted to work and save up for it with a year to go. So after football season was over and he had more time, he wanted to start saving for the trip. 

I was still in disbelief that this trip was even happening. And that parents were supposed to fork over money for a trip halfway around the world for football camp.

Then I get an email that the first deposit is due like yesterday. And the next? In December. You know, Christmas season. Another chunk due conveniently after tax season. And the rest due closer to go time. 

I'm calculating in my head. Wondering how this is going to happen. How IS this going to happen?!?! There's talk of fundraising and out of pocket expenses and information sessions I can't attend and this thing is happening but, oh yeah, WE CAN'T AFFORD THIS!

But wait just a damn second! Are parents just paying this, no questions asked?! I'm new to high school sports and the fact that just registering for high school football and uniforms was so expensive shocked me. That was a couple hundred dollars. And my son tries to do odd jobs or save money to contribute to this. But we're talking thousands of dollars now. Are there no parents leading a revolt? How in the hell did we go from California to Ireland!? Am I the weird one questioning this? Do most parents just write out checks, no questions asked?

It must be because the team is going forward with the trip. I talked to my son this morning and he told me he told them he's probably not going because we can't afford it. Which pretty much ripped my heart out. But why should it? It's a ridiculous amount of money! 

I think I'm taking it harder than I should because, again, this is just ridiculous. I would love to be able to send my child to Ireland. I would love that for him. He doesn't go to a private school. We don't even live in a highly taxed neighborhood. We live in a middle income neighborhood and school district. I guess the football team coaches and coordinators don't know that or maybe it's just me. But, thank you, football program, for making me feel like shit about this with your big plans about football camp in Ireland. Who do I blame for this? Can I blame the coaches? Can I blame the school district? Tom Cruise? Obama?

Isn't there an Ireland, Florida you could send the boys to for football camp?

Would you pay $3500 for a football camp in Ireland? Am I the crazy one?


11 comments:

  1. Ummm....that seems insane for a high school football camp!! What are they - National Champions?
    I'm struggling with the 4 day band trip for my freshman son - at $1500. At least they have done a couple of fundraisers but it's still a chunk to shell out for 4 days!!!

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    1. No. Not national champions. Maybe they want to be national champions someday but I'm not sure why they would need to go to Ireland to do that! The U.S. is the football capital of the world!

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  2. I think it is unreasonable for the school system to set up something like this that for 99.9% of families in America is WAY unaffordable. Especially in this economic crisis. I think they should try to do something more realistic and way cheaper. There has to be something similar not so far away. For something like that - something your son is so interested in that is not just a passing fancy, but something you know REALLY means a lot to him - I'd try to come up with MAYBE $1,000. But even that is not do-able for most people I know. I think he will understand if you are honest and tell him you'd love to see him go, but that it is not something your family can afford right now. He may be disappointed, but I think he will understand.

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    1. I think that's what breaks my heart - he knows we can't afford it. If he was a fit throwing spoiled brat it would be so much easier to say, "No!" and be done with it. But he's totally understanding, which weirdly makes my heart hurt even more.

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  3. I can see wanting to provide kids with an opportunity like that, but there should have been far more planning for fundraising. There could have been fundraisers being held throughout the season, even before that during the summer. If you start the fundraising early, people are more willing to pay a few bucks here and there. Especially if they get creative and did fun events at each game that people buy into for a few bucks. I would be pissed too that the expectation is simply for parents to cough up that much money.

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    1. Exactly! They should have done the fundraisers first and then made adjustments. My son wants to earn money toward this but all these deposits are already due in a short period of time! Ugh!

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  4. You are definitely not crazy. I think the school is crazy and I think it is so unfair of them to put parents in this situation. Fundraising should have been done throughout the year to raise money so that ALL the kids could go, and if not enough money was raised then the location needed to be changed to make it somewhere more affordable. I would be saying something to the school so they can think these things through.

    Pia
    pjmscloset.blogspot.ca

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    1. You are so right. I'm about to write a letter.

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  5. I would pay for it if they had told me about 2 years in advance. That is just a ridiculous amount of money to come up with in a short time and those payment schedules are horrible. Just like everyone above has mentioned, I think that fundraising should have been in their plans when they decided to embark on this trip.

    Visiting from #SITSSHAREFEST

    Keep it Touched,
    KG
    www.kgstyleblogs.com

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  6. I hear ya. My son went to the National Scout Jamboree this summer. Price tag $3,000 - it also included a two week tour of Washington, NY, Philadelphia, and the major battlefields. I seriously thought about it for at least six months before I agreed to it. We did quite a bit of fundraising, lots of small payments over the course of a year and a half, and I required my son to earn at least $500 of the fee just to make sure he appreciated how hard it is to raise that money. But I think you are quite right. I wish more parents would speak up when things are that unreasonable. Some of these teachers and coaches just do not live in reality and I think they need thoughtful and respectful feedback from the parents before they put kids in a position like this.

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  7. There are words I want to say but wont because they are really ugly, instead I'll say this. The football coaches, the school administration and parents who are okay with this need to get their heads checked! You can't just throw a $3500 trip on parents, especially in today's economy!! I would be steaming mad and I would be contacting the coaches, the school board and finding out what other kids are going. Maybe get together with the parents who aren't being able to let their children go and protest like crazy.

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