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Dear sport, you cost too much

A worried mom of three was shocked at finding out how much youth sports cost. With her husband they are pretty solid middle-class Americans, so they are able to provide extracurricular activities for their kids. But they have to say no to a lot of requests, so she can’t understand how families who are further down the economic spectrum do it. Here’s what she said.

Our kids haven’t yet expressed an interest in sports other than karate, so we don’t pay for those. But from my understanding, team sports costs can add up too. Recreational leagues may be affordable, but if your kid wants to get serious about a sport and join an elite league, it can get ridiculous really quickly.

In fact, it can cost thousands of dollars a year for a kid to participate in a competitive sports club. When you get into the elite circles of certain sports, such as figure skating, gymnastics, or dance, you can easily jump into the $10,000-plus per year range.

If all three of our kids got into one of those competitive sports, it would take almost half of our annual salary to make it happen (which is why it’s definitely not going to happen).

I asked a group of moms about the costs of their kids’ enrichment activities outside of school and found that it’s not unusual for families to be spending $200 or $300 a month on extracurriculars, per kid. For some families, that’s no big deal. But there are a lot of families who simply can’t afford it.

Parents want to feel like they are giving their kids all the opportunities to explore their interests and build their talents, so she understands why so many families spend so much money on kids’ sports. But the costs still just seem insane.

The most shocking response I got to my inquiry about enrichment expenses was from a mom from the Southern U.S. whose daughter has recently gotten into competitive cheerleading. Here’s how her expenses break down:

Competition fees: $100/month

Tuition: $100/month

Tumbling class: $40/month

Uniform: $450

Hair bow: $40 (yes, really)

Shoes: $35 to $80

Hotels for competitions: $300 x 9 competitions per year

Travel fees (gas, food, etc.): Depends

Her daughter’s team also just got a bid for a big national competition at Disney, which is another $500, plus hotel, plus travel. Thousands of dollars. That’s just for one child. Oh, and did I mention her daughter is 7 years old?

The desire to help your child to pursue their dreams no matter the cost is understandable for most parents. They feel the pressure from various sides to supply enrichment activities, and this might be the main cause for youth sport costs to skyrocket. The major problem here is that some families just can’t afford it, so their kids, despite talent and big potentials, might never get the opportunity to follow their dreams and shine as a professional. And that’s why our crowdfunding system is so important.

Source: Scary Mommy

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