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Profile of Today's Active Grandparents
Grand Camps have successfully emerged to meet the needs of significant numbers of active senior citizens across the country. The growth in the older population is expected to mushroom between the years of 2010 and 2030 as the baby boomers reach sixty-five, according to the government's Administration on Aging. By the year 2030, the elderly population will reach 70 million, more than double the number of seniors in the year 2000. At least 25.4 percent of the elderly population will be minorities.
Camp Is for All Ages!
How to make the most of your Grand Camp Adventure:
- Talk about the camp session and address any needs or concerns with the parents and grandchild. Ask: What do they want to get out of the weekend? What are the guidelines and rules we must establish? In what activities do you want to participate?
- Think of experiences you have treasured that you want to share with your grandchild — seeing the stars, swimming — if you are excited about it, the child will naturally want to participate.
- Be realistic about age levels in terms of attention spans and time when you are choosing activities.
- Share stories at camp about what "mommy and daddy" were like at your grandchild's age.
- Camp is casual. Remember a cap for your head and not to be concerned about your appearance! Bring comfortable clothes — and layers of clothes for the fall.
- Be prepared to share bathroom facilities. You could be sharing a bathroom with fifteen other people!
- Bring enthusiasm to see the world again in a new way.
- Pay attention to the "What to Bring" list the camp sends.
- For preschool children, you may consider bringing along a favorite toy.
- Good walking shoes. You need to be able to keep up with the kids. There may be moments when you might even be running!
- Close-toed shoes and pants for horseback riding.
- Flashlights for possible night activities.
- Bug spray.
- Sleeping bags to put on the beds.
- Board games for leisure time or bad weather.
- Contact the camp and inquire about scholarships and gift certificates. Camps often send catalogs you can share with your grandchild in anticipation of camp.
- Send notes to campers while at camp.
- Encourage the entire family to attend family camp sessions.
- Offer to have your grandchildren stay with you overnight to help them experience being away from mom and dad.
- Share stories with child about mom or dad going to camp at that age.
- Research camp using the ACA's Find a Camp database
Resources for Grandparent/Grandchild Programs
- find.ACAcamps.org – The American Camp Association's Find A Camp database provides searchable options for senior camps with locations around the country.
- www.elderhostel.org – Elderhostel offers intergenerational programs from wilderness canoe camping to cooking, painting, and kite flying.
- www.sierraclub.com – The Sierra Club has several unique programs.
- www.grandtravel.com – Grandtravel has a variety of programs specifically for grandparents and grandchildren.
- www.grandparenting.org – The Foundation for Grandparenting, Inc. offers exclusive camps, programs, and resources geared to the grandparent.
- www.aarp.org – The American Association of Retired Persons offers grandparenting information and resources.