Like other summer programs, Galileo canceled its summer sessions due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it doesn’t even offer families the option of getting a refund of their camp fees. In some cases, that amounts to several thousand dollars.
Erin Williams’ children are regulars at Camp Galileo. That’s why he enrolled his two high school students in three-week sessions this summer.
“My children have attended Camp Galileo for the past six years,” Williams said. “Two kids with extended care in the morning and afternoon ended up costing $ 3502. I waited until the end of March to sign up, but I was getting emails from the camp saying the sessions I was watching were filling up quickly.”
But just days later, Galileo announced that it would cancel all its summer sessions, offering no refunds, just credit for future camps for up to five years.
Galileo owner and CEO Glen Tripp told ABC7 News in a written statement that he would like to offer refunds to Williams and other families, but he just doesn’t have enough cash on hand.
“Camp Galileo is unique in that its high-impact camping experience requires preparations to begin in September of each year,” Tripp said in a written statement, “and requires a great deal of forward-looking spending, including the recruitment and training of high-quality educators along with investments in equipment, technology and infrastructure. “
Tripp said Galileo has laid off 80 percent of its employees for the entire year.
Still, the no-refund policy doesn’t sit well with parents who have thousands of dollars tied up, at a time when they can least afford it.
“A lot of families love this camp, they really want to support it,” said Nina Aggarwal, who told ABC7 News that she paid about $ 1000 for the camps for her children, “and they have lost confidence in the future. sign up? I don’t think I would after this experience. “
Galileo plans to offer virtual programs and hopes to hold some pop-up camps in person in late summer.
Meanwhile, some parents who want refunds are considering taking legal action.
“We’re all stuck in the same boat, but I just don’t have the wherewithal to float an interest-free loan for an undisclosed time on the order of years to anyone,” Williams said.
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