Happy Camping: Scout How Your Kids Will Spend Their Summer

After more than nine highly structured months with kids in school, summer can seem long and unwieldy. Camp is the answer for many parents.

Traditional sleep-away camps can give urban children a chance to relax and play in idyllic environments. Specialty camps can hone skills in sports, music, drama, religion, or other activities. Others just offer a variety of experiences day to day to allow kids to follow and cultivate their curiosity and imagination.

Here’s how to find the right camp for your child and ensure that he or she will have the best possible experience:
* Visit campparents.org. The American Camp Association’s parent-focused site offers a find-a-camp search tool, allowing parents to narrow choices by cost, camper age, location, length of stay, activities, and more. All of the camps in the database are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), Martinsville, Ind., which ensures that they meet minimum standards for health, safety, and program quality.

* Call camp directors. “As a parent, be prepared to articulate what you hope your children will gain from the camp experience,” says Dayna Hardin, owner of Lake of the Woods camp for girls and Greenwoods camp for boys in Decatur, Mich. “When we as camp directors know what parent expectations are, we do a good job of meeting or exceeding them.”

* Don’t offer to rescue. Hardin discourages parents from having some kind of pick-up deal. “Kids are going to feel a little homesick,” she says. “They’re supposed to miss their families, not forget about them. But one of the things about camp is that kids learn coping skills.”

* Visit if you can. Hardin notes that many camps—both overnight and day—welcome parents for visits while camp is in session. It requires planning; parents would have to tour camp the year before they want to enroll their children, but nothing beats that first-hand impression.

* Ask about financial assistance. Many camps offer early enrollment or sibling discounts, and some will arrange payment plans with parents. Every year, 90% of ACA camps offer some kind of financial assistance, often called “camperships,” totaling more than $39 million.

Hopewell Federal can help you save for camp and other family activities by helping create a spending plan. Call us today at 740.522.8311 or stop by for assistance in creating a plan.

College Graduates Seek Internships for a “Foot in the Door”

Recent college graduates have encountered—and continue to face—one of the toughest job markets of all time.

With the job-seeker to jobs-available ratio off kilter, many grads wonder where they’re going to find work. Even students who network, intern, and become involved on campus find themselves struggling to secure full-time positions.

Many grads are turning to another option: postgraduate internships.

Heather Huhman, career expert and founder of job Web site ComeRecommended.com, Derwood, Md., says many graduates are finding an internship to be their best option to “get a foot in the door.”

“Employers want to see career-related internship experience on an applicant’s résumé,” says Huhman. “Taking internships after graduation is happening much more in this economy.”

And for current students who want a head start on their careers, college networks are filled with internship resources: Career centers, local job postings, student organizations, and professors are all great sources of job information.

Other resources:
* Simply Hired
* Monster Jobs
* Yahoo! HotJobs
* CareerBuilder
* College Grad
* Job Web
* LinkedIn
* Twitter

Don’t Let Money Worries Rob You of Sleep

Money worries are rampant among Americans.

A recent survey by Ohio State University found that 70% of the nearly 19,000 students surveyed reported feeling stressed about money. Half worried about not having enough money for daily expenses, and 60% were anxious about the cost of tuition.

But it’s not just college-age adults who worry about money. Another recent survey by CreditCards.com found that 62% of Americans were losing sleep over their financial problems.

The most common fears they expressed were not having enough money for retirement and educational expenses. If you find that money worries are keeping you up at night, here are some steps you can take:

1. Ask yourself some questions.
The first one should be, “What are you really worried about?” Then ask yourself, “Is it something I have control over?” If it is something within your control, take steps to fix the problem. Living within your means can help you get on track to mend most money problems;

2. Develop an action plan.
When there is a specific money problem nagging at you, it’s easy to avoid dealing with it and simply hope your circumstances will change. But to truly change the situation, confront it head on. Sitting down and taking an honest look at your finances, and developing a plan of action will help you feel more in control of your future;

3. Take specific measures today that will reduce your stress in the long run.
Set aside a little money each paycheck—no matter how small—to begin an emergency savings account. Strive to put away enough to cover at least three months’ expenses; ideally, stretch it to as many as eight months. Don’t get hung up on how big this number is—just steadily keep adding to your fund. Develop a side gig—such as selling belongings or handmade items online or leveraging a skillset like freelance photography—so you have multiple income streams;

4. Meet with a financial adviser to make sure you’re saving enough for retirement.
Whether you open an (IRA) individual retirement account at your credit union or a 401(k), start saving now. If your company offers to match your contributions to your 401(k), contribute at least the amount you need to in order to get the match. If you don’t, it’s like leaving free money on the table; and

5. Visit Hopewell Federal Credit Union for help.
As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, every credit union’s mission is to help members become better stewards of their finances. We offer multiple services, educational opportunities, and trained staff to help you conquer your money problems.

Need a Student Loan? Ask Hopewell Federal Credit Union

If you’re a prospective college student—or the parent of one—you’re probably suffering from sticker shock as you discover the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses. According to collegeboard.org, the average public four-year college costs $9,139 for tuition and fees alone (2014-2015), while the average private four-year school costs a staggering $31,231. With numbers like these, chances are you’ll need loans to supplement your savings and any grants or scholarships awarded.

Always tap in to free money first, then federal loans, and look at private (nongovernment) loans last. So, after a diligent search for scholarships and grants (the free money), you’ll want to investigate federal loans because of their lower interest rates and fees. With some, the government even pays the interest while a student is in college.

Hopewell Federal offers private educational loans and loan consolidation. When you need to borrow, go to Hopewell Federal Credit Union first. That’s where you’ll get the best deal—and the best service. Stop by or call us today or visit our student loan page powered by LendKey.