You’ve heard it before: Summer camps have limited space availability which fills up fast, so you better sign up soon or you might not get in. Sometimes this sounds like a sales pitch more than anything else.Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But the truth is, popular camps fill up much faster than others, and your chances of getting in is indeed limited by the camp’s enrollment capacity.It’s kind of like getting reservations on an airplane: When the last seat is gone, it’s gone for good. They can’t just add another seat to accommodate you, and likewise, the camp can’t make room for “just one more kid.”Here’s a point about camp enrollment more relevant now than ever: Camps generally fill up faster than usual in a poor economy.Maybe it sounds like an oxymoron, but summer camps often thrive in weak economic conditions. Here’s why.In a bad economy, parents will generally cut back on everything they view as non-essential. But history shows us that the very last items they’ll cut from the family budget are products and services for their kids.So while mom and dad might decide against spending $10,000 for a family vacation, they’ll shell out $2,500 to send their kid to camp instead.During the recession of the early 1990’s, camp enrollment was impacted across the board. This phenomenon — higher enrollment in a weaker economy — can largely be attributed to the many families who would have otherwise taken a family vacation, but with less discretionary income stayed home, thereby increasing their childcare and summer camp needs and filling camps to the brim.Sending their kids to camp in any economy is often viewed by parents as an American pastime. What does this mean for consumers? Simply this: you might want to start looking for summer camps sooner rather than later if you want to get in to the camp of your choice.Otherwise, somebody else might beat you to the punch next summer and take your child’s spot.So when is the best time to start looking, and where should your camp search begin?Most popular camps fill up by April or May. But if you wait that long to sign up for camp next summer, it could be too late. Start your search in the beginning of the year and you should be on the safe side.One of the best places to find a camp is at http://www.findacamp.com, the American Camp Association’s camp search web site. You can search for camps by various criteria such as type of camp, location, price and more.Just start looking for summer camps as soon as possible to make sure your child gets his or her first choice!Happy Camping!Copyright Eric D. Naftulin. All rights reserved.