Last Thursday and this Thursday we are interviewing book contributor Barbara Ann Baranowski, who wrote the story “Gone Camping” for Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Barbara and her husband do not live near their grandchildren, and they wanted to find a way to help them grow in Christ during the short times they were together. After praying about it, God gave them the idea to create a special camp-like experience for their grandkids over the summer. It was soon dubbed “Nana Camp” by the grandchildren!
Barbara kept the camp simple, but made sure it included Bible stories, memorization verses, songs, crafts, games, and fun play times. She also gave her “campers” a special keepsake to take home with them to remind them of Nana Camp.
In our book, we suggested some ways that virtually any grandma or grandpa could start their own grandparenting camp:
- Pick a theme for the camp then choose activities to support that theme. Your theme could be creation, God’s grace, forgiveness, God’s power, and so forth.
- Plan the camp for the middle ages of your group. You can always allow the older children to help the younger ones.
- Plan your activities around your expertise, whether that’s art, science, or baking. If you have a passion for something, your grandkids will join in your enthusiasm. And, if both Grandma and Grandpa are helping out, this is a great opportunity for both of you to share skills and interests with your grandkids.
- Be sure to create opportunities for the kids to ask Jesus into their hearts. Don’t ever assume that children have a personal relationship with the Lord. Always give them a chance to get to know Him in a safe environment.
The best part about a grandparenting camp is that you really don’t need any special equipment or even a fancy place to hold it. You can have it in your own backyard or at a neighborhood park. The most important ingredient is you–and the spiritual memories you will provide for your grandchildren.
If you do prefer a get-away time with your grandkids where you can truly bond with them in a fun and biblical environment, you may want to consider an established family camp, such as Grand Camps, hosted by The Christian Grandparenting Network.
How about you? What special moments or activities have you created for your grandkids that make them want to keep coming back to “Nana’s” again and again? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Don’t forget to come back Thursday for Part 2 of our interview with Barbara Baranowski.