The goal of Grandma's Camp was to have the cousins bond and create memories with each other, as well as for my grandchildren to get to know their ancestors better, namely their grandparents and great grandparents. My husband passed away almost 6 years ago, so some of the grandchildren barely remember him. Both of his parents have also passed away.
We held Grandma's Camp at my daughter's beautiful home in a beautiful rural area of southern Illinois. Talk about green countryside! Green, gorgeous trees everywhere, green rolling fields, wide open blue skies, and relatively wonderful weather. What a setting for our week long camp.
Each day we focused on the life of one of the grandparents/great grandparents. We told stories about their lives and I assigned grandchildren to find and tell a story too, so they would internalize their relationship with this deceased ancestor. Then we would do a fun activity related to their grandparent's life. For instance, my dad grew up on a dairy farm in the early 30's and milked cows when he was age 5 and rode a horse to round up the cows. So on his day, we went horse back riding. My mother's parents came from Sweden and our Swedish heritage is big in our family. My sister and I learned to say the blessing on the food in Swedish and always said it that way when we were growing up. So I taught one of my granddaughters to say the prayer in Swedish, and she taught all the cousins, and at each mealtime a different grandchild would eagerly ask to say the blessing.
My mom painted rocks to look like cute animals, so on my mother's day, the cousins painted rocks. On my husband's day we went fishing, on my father-in-law's day we went rock jumping and swimming in a lake and even wore mustaches to honor his handlebar moustache. My mother-in-law was an avid bird watcher and made pictures from pressed wild flowers, so on her day we had a bird scavenger hunt outside and made bookmarks with the flowers we had collected on our other days. On my day, we played music, of course!
Each day also had free time for the cousins to play together. They enjoyed sliding on the slip and slide, created fun mazes with mats and swings and air mattresses in the basement, rode scooters, colored with sidewalk chalk and talked and laughed and bonded!
The goal of Grandma's Camp was accomplished. Cousins became best friends and grandparents and great grandparents became real people with hobbies and talents passed on to their grandchildren. Relationships is what life is about. Loving people, enjoying family and building trust and friendships that will last throughout eternity--that is what we will take with us. And our memories!
Thanks for reading,