Press release: Daycamp for grandparents and their grandchildren

Leah Nixon
Director of Communications

May 7, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College’s new summer camp brings kids and their grandparents together to explore the outdoors as they strengthen the bond between them.

Both generations will have fun and learn from each other while participating in crafts, outdoor activities and community service during the Grandparent/Grandchild Summer Wellness Day Camps.

“Intergenerational relationships strengthen individuals, families and communities,” said Lannie Collard, the GRCC wellness instructor who will lead the camp. "They bring together diverse groups, dispel stereotypical views of old age and help prevent age-related alienation.”

“Intergenerational relationships have positive health benefits for children and older people. Children see enhanced social skills, better academic performance, less risk of using drugs and an enhanced sense of stability. For the average grandparent, the closer the grandchild is, the healthier, less lonely and more social he or she will be. Involved grandparents learn a great deal from the younger generation and have the fantastic opportunity for unconditional love, while leaving discipline and tough decisions to the parents.”

What will our campers be doing? Activities include:
•    a walk through the woods while learning to identify birds and other things found in nature.
•    nature crafts.
•    fishing — bring the pole and we supply the worms!
•    physical fitness testing, group workout, and individual goal setting using nature as a gym.
•    swimming.
•    lessons on the basics of gardening by Blandford Nature Center’s Master Gardener.
•    lessons on nutrition basics, meal planning, and quick and easy recipe ideas.
•    volunteer time to address a community need — possible options include serving food at a shelter, or working at Blandford Nature Center.

“We are excited to be able to offer the first annual Grandparent/Grandchild Summer Wellness Day Camp, and are grateful to the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan for the Older American’s Act Title IIIE funding support that has made this day camp concept a reality,” said Mike Faber, director of GRCC’s Older Learner Center.

Sessions of the camp, recommended for ages 6 to 12 (and their grandparents from Kent, Allegan, Lake, Mason, Osceola, Mecosta, Newaygo, Montcalm, or Ionia Counties) run 10 a.m. to noon June 12 and 26, and July 10 and 24. Campers will visit Grand River and Millennium parks as well as Blandford Nature Center. This four session day camp is offered without charge, although a donation of $20 for the first camper and $5 for each additional camper is encouraged. For more information, visit here.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.