The operator of summer soccer camps says he’s unable to refund money to those who registered for the sessions.
Royal City Soccer Club had planned to offer weekly camps June 29 to Aug. 31 in Red Deer, but they were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeff Bryer, the founder and director of the program, says he understands the frustration that some parents are feeling.
As a parent himself, Bryer said he’s been in the same situation with other activities for his own children.
Simply put, the non-profit organization he runs planned its camps before the pandemic hit, booking fields, buying new balls and T-shirts for participants, and more, he said.
“Our budget is right on the line, and we have to forecast a year in advance what our costs are going to be. And we price our camp fees, which are relatively low,” said Bryer.
“We price them based on the ability to cover our costs, so at the end of the year, we have a zero return,” he said, adding the bulk of the permits for the fields they required were cancelled because of the pandemic.
“The problem with that, is if we don’t run camps in July and August, the vast majority of our costs are unrecoverable. Meaning we just can’t get that money back.”
Anyone who registered for the camp is being encouraged to fill out an online form that presents three options. They can consider the money a “donation,” payment for a virtual camp or credit for a future session.
If they don’t select one of the options, they will automatically be given credit for next year. Bryer said that’s the best he can do.
“We’re being extremely transparent and honest about where we’re at. That is, all these costs have occurred in the lead up to camp, and if the camps don’t run, we have no way of recovering those costs. We have no cash to provide refunds to parents,” he said.
Royal City Soccer Club’s website says the organization was founded in 1993 and hosts more than 20,000 young players a year across the country.