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More kids will troop to day camps this summer

Thousands of city children will be hiking, swimming, and practicing their archery at day camps this summer, instead of residential camps. More day camping this summer is part of a decade-long trend, according to the American Camping Association (ACA).

One attraction for campers' parents is a day camp's cost -- less than one-fourth that of a residential camp.

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And the ACA expects another big increase

But ACA spokesman is not as optimistic about week-or-more-long residential camps.

Many camps already are in deep economic trouble because of higher fuel and food costs, inflation in general, and a decrease in federal funds for summer camping.

In the New York City area alone, 14 camps -- primarily serving inner city youngsters from poorer families -- have closed.

Those that remain are trying to increase enrollment rather than prices.

But enrollment uncertainties for residential camps and the economic downturn has raised the concern that some camps may scrimp on safety to save money.

So the federal Center for Disease Control will closely monitor how various state agencies enforce safety rules at summer camps.

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