By Kimberly Shockley, Associate Director, Rhode Island’s 529 Plans

July 31, 2018

As the mother of two elementary school boys, I start to think about summer camp around April. What camps can we send them to so that this summer is special and memorable? How much will this cost? And why on earth is basketball camp only from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.?? Who works from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.??

summer campMy mother stayed home, and we only went to camp on occasion. In hindsight, it was probably so she could get a moment’s peace. But we always had fun running around with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, playing Red Rover and other outdoor games — which are now banned.

As a working mother, I sometimes wish I could laze away the summer with my boys — enjoying Rhode Island’s beautiful beaches, taking the kayaks out on the pond, and staying up late roasting marshmallows. We get to do those things, just not every day, and I know that my boys are having a great time at camp. They get to experience new things, meet new people, and learn in an atmosphere outside of school where they have more freedom to follow their own path. So, my husband and I get out the checkbook, trade with other parents on drop-off and pick-up, and make the summer ‘break’ as fun as possible for the kids.

Before you know it, we are buying school supplies and seeing what still fits from last year. The first year I worked for Rhode Island’s higher education savings plans, it occurred to me as the bus drove off for the first day of school that suddenly I had a windfall. No longer was I spending hundreds of dollars a week on camp. Before I found something new on which to spend the money, I increased my contributions to the boys’ 529 accounts. I can always reduce a bit each summer if necessary, but I will never regret saving a little extra now.

It is unbelievable to think about, but the years really do go by so fast. Soon, instead of planning for camp in the summer, I will be figuring out how to get young men to summer jobs and going shopping for dorm furniture instead of crayons. I hope that the camp activities and the friends they meet are creating dreams of the future in their heads; the memories they create on summer vacation will stay with them forever. I also hope the extra money I am able to save during the school year will help make those dreams a reality.


About the author

Kimberly Shockley is the associate director of Rhode Island’s 529 Plans, which include the direct sold CollegeBound Saver plan and advisor sold CollegeBound 529. The program was initiated in 1999 and is currently run by the Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer. Between the two plans there are over 235,000 active accounts with $6 billion in assets. Visit or for more information.