Written by Vicki Rueckert, Co-director of the Timberline Church Grandparent Ministry
GrandCamps — unlike any other “camp” you may have known — are a unique adventure specifically designed for grandparents and grandchildren to get away from the daily distractions of life.
Whether hiking, fishing, horseback riding, exploring, or just sitting around a campfire, it is a time to grow in one’s faith, engage in youthful fun, and build memories that will last a lifetime.
GrandCamps are an incredible experience that encourages grandparents to pass on the torch of a spiritual legacy to grandchildren through creative ways.
Activities are planned with young and old in mind. Our GrandCamp, hosted by Timberline Church, is held at the YMCA of the Rockies near Estes Park Colorado.
We arrive on Sunday and stay four nights, leaving on a Thursday at noon. Accommodations are first class (no tents).
Grandparents laugh, play, talk, smile, and share Christ’s love with their precious ones in ways they will understand and remember forever!
Building a Legacy that matters is our focus. This is accomplished by cultivating strong connections with grandchildren by telling them about our experiences of God’s goodness.
GrandCamps are a unique and extraordinary opportunity to solidify that legacy, as grandparents enjoy intentional time with their grandchildren, designed to impact each other’s lives forever.
Memories created together strengthen that bond with one another. When those memories are intentionally connected to God, their connection to God is stronger as a result.
It is a chance to spend an unforgettable and transformational week with grandchildren (ages 7-12).
My husband Mike and I do all the planning and work, so grandparents can fully concentrate on their grandchildren being conduits of God’s grace and blessing in their young lives.
It’s true, grandparents won’t find a better deal — or a more worthwhile investment.
Mike and I began our GrandCamp journey under the unique guidance of Cavin Harper, the founder of the GrandCamps program. At that time, Cavin was the Executive Director of Christian Grandparenting Network [CGN].
As Mike was getting ready for his retirement, a friend and business associate recommended we check out the CGN GrandCamps program in Colorado.
It could be a way to impact our grandchildren’s lives and relationships with not only ourselves but with Jesus. As is often stated, the rest is history.
We took our three grandchildren Madeline, Chloe, and Landon, all cousins. We were all ‘hooked’ immediately.
For the next ten years, until all but two of our grandchildren were too old to come, we rotated the seven cousins in groups of two and three for an exciting week with Papa and Gramma at GrandCamp west of Colorado Springs.
Now that we are the hosts of a GrandCamp we hear the very same requests that our grandchildren expressed years ago… can we come again next year?
GrandCamps led to starting a grandparenting ministry.
Grand faith adventures connecting you and your grandchildren ultimately was the message we took to our pastor, Dary Northrop, almost 10 years ago.
Christian Grandparenting Network was no longer going to host a GrandCamp, but was ready to see intentional Christian grandparenting through the GrandCamp program multiply across the nation.
Since we had two grandchildren who could still attend a GrandCamp, Mike and I approached Pastor Dary to see if our church, Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado would be willing to sponsor a GrandCamp the coming summer.
Pastor Dary understood the uniqueness of the grandchild-grandparent relationship, as well as the impact grandparents can have on the lives of their grandchildren. He had experienced that during his childhood years of staying with his Kansas grandparents during the summer months.
As we left his office, Pastor Dary said, “By the way, I think you should start a Grandparent Ministry at Timberline.” With that, we were off and running to set up our first Timberline GrandCamp at the YMCA of the Rockies, our first activity of a newly formed Timberline Grandparent Ministry.
Pastor Dary was ahead of his time… today we are hearing of many Grandparent Ministries in churches across our nation and in Canada.
The uniqueness of our GrandCamps program is the culminating activity… the Blessing Ceremony.
Grandparents spend the week with their grandchildren learning a memory verse for each day, listening to a daily Bible story during the morning praise and worship time, playing a variety of games together, and concluding each day with a precious family devotional time together before bedtime.
However, the blessing ceremony on the last evening of GrandCamp is forever to be remembered.
During GrandCamp the grandchildren have activity times together, while the grandparents have special sessions related to intentional Christian grandparenting.
It is during one of the sessions that the grandparents write a blessing for their grandchild/grandchildren and create a special blessing gift for a blessing ceremony.
Once the blessings are written, the grandparents are ready to read their blessing over their grandchild, a touching and memorable conclusion to our GrandCamp.
Finally, saying good-byes includes taking special photos of new friends while also collecting phone numbers to keep those friendships alive until next year’s GrandCamp.
The time at GrandCamp is a time of building relationships, grandparent to grandchild, grandchildren to grandchildren, grandparents to grandparents… but most importantly is the connection each relationship has through the love of Jesus.
About the Author: Vicki Rueckert and her husband Mike are the directors of the Timberline Church Grandparent Ministry, Fort Collins, CO. They have 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Timberline GrandCamp 2022 is held at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado for grandparents and grandchildren ages 7-12. Registration for this year’s camp, July 31-August 4 can be found here.
Editor’s Note: There are various Christian camps that offer camps for grandparents and their grandchildren. Additionally, there are more Grandcamps held in other areas, find out more here.