I won’t lie, getting to Balkan Camp can be a financial challenge. My own decades-long journey with camp is a testament to that. I’ve paid full-ride, been rejected for scholarships, received scholarships, and done hours of work exchange. There have been years when I could pay the whole fee upfront, and years when payment plans were a godsend. But no matter what, Balkan Camp is a nonnegotiable fixture on my calendar, and it can be for you, too.
No matter which way you look at it, these workshops are an excellent investment of your time and energy. You’re always going to learn something new, connect with someone you wouldn’t otherwise know, and leave better than you started (albeit a little sleep deprived). If I’m going to take a whole week off of work, I want to go somewhere that fills me with warm fuzzies and forces me to stretch and evolve in ways I didn’t know were possible. Camp does that. Every time, I get major return on my investment.
Here’s the truth: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ve seen campers who make peanuts attend consistently for years without complaint, and I’ve seen well-off campers come and go, because they “can’t afford it.” Rather than focusing on the challenges of saving for camp, let’s focus on strategies you can implement TODAY to start making your camp dreams come true.
For many of us struggling artist types, there’s also the reality of lost income while we’re at camp. Depending on your trade, you might consider tailoring you camp stay to accommodate weekend or weeknight gigs. Don’t let FOMO prevent you from being flexible with your stay. But if you MUST work remotely during camp, I’d recommend driving off site (you’ll need to at Mendocino) for better Wi-Fi and cell service. It’ll also help you break away mentally, so you’ll work more efficiently with a clearer head and fewer interruptions. Many campers end up enjoying these breaks from the hubbub of camp, and sometimes journey offsite even when they don’t have work to do just to relax in a different environment.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to make your camp dreams come true. While I wouldn’t recommend robbing a bank (our community is hardcore, but not that hardcore), find the way that works for you, hustle hard, and then, cherish every moment of camp all the more, because you made it happen!
By Jenna Shear