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Send Your Kids to Camp Cash

Forget swimming and campfires. Give your children money management skills with a summer session of financial education.

Reading your kids snippets from the Wall Street Journal instead of bedtime stories is one way to impart financial wisdom. But if you want them to actually learn something -- and avoid costly psychotherapy bills -- try an approach that's more fun and interactive, such as sending them to money camp.

Connie Proulx, of Lafayette, Colo., sent her 13-year-old daughter, Elaine, to Money $ense, a day camp operated by the nonprofit Young Americans Center for Financial Education (www.yacenter.org), in Denver. Elaine also attended the center's Be Your Own Boss camp and now runs a small jewelry-making business. She has put some of her money into a certificate of deposit and contributes a portion of her business profits to charity. "All my friends talk about how they'll work for her one day," says Connie.

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The center has two five-day finance camps: Money $ense, starting in late July, is for kids who've finished sixth or seventh grade and covers budgeting, investing, credit and taxes. Junior Money Matters, in late June and early July, is for youngsters just out of second or third grade. The younger children learn the history of money and play games, such as banking bingo. Everyone spends time running the center's mock town. Each camp costs $175 per child, and sessions are held at facilities in Denver and Lakewood, Colo.

For teens 15 and older, there's Finance Challenge Camp at Westminster College, in Salt Lake City. The one-week session, which runs from July 9 to July 15, costs $600 -- or close to $1,000 including airfare. Find more finance camps at www.mysummercamps.com and www.campchannel.com.

-- Amy Esbenshade Herbert

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