As our contribution to this month’s summer camp theme, we consulted with another amazing Gigaboomer.
Be prepared to be impressed – if not a tad jealous – of Felice Bond as she tells you in her own words how she and her husband, Tom, started what they call Grand Camp. Imagine an overnight camp for children, in the beautiful setting of a state park, where adventures are day and night, where the chef prepares food to your particular fussiness, where you are guaranteed one special day crowned as the king or the queen. The camp counselors are also still kids at heart and love you as much as your mom and dad.
Here is Felice Bond’s story:
The seed of an idea was planted several years ago when we were visiting with some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. Naturally, the topic of grandchildren came up, and the couple mentioned that they were hosting a week-long “Granny Camp” for their preteen grandchildren.
Tom and I were intrigued and decided we wanted to create our very own Grand Camp. We knew if we got started while our grandchildren were still quite young, ages 3 to 5 years old, they would have many years of lasting memories of this new family tradition. We wanted to take them camping, fishing, and swimming, and just spend time outdoors with them.
At first our plans were simple and easy to prepare, but as the children grew, so did the sophistication of our experiences together.
For our family, we host camp for two weeks in August. I fly to Denver to bring back our granddaughter to Williamsburg. Then our grandsons from Richmond, only one hour away, join their cousin at our house for the first few days of camp. The kids settle in and play in the backyard tree house, swim in the “cold tub” on the deck, and sleep on the floor in the tent they create with tables and hand-painted sheets.
The next adventure is to head to our rustic cabin in Virginia’s Piedmont area for three days. After that, we travel to a state park to spend five days camping. Finally, we drive to Virginia Beach where the entire family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all come together for a reunion. It’s a time to enjoy each other’s company and build somesand castles and some special memories.
As camp director, I plan most of the activities and gather the supplies in advance. I plan the schedule and try to keep everything running smoothly. Tom is the behind the scenes person who makes everything work. He secures the reservations, cooks most of the time, washes dishes while I get everybody headed to bed, and, as he puts it, “performs other duties as assigned by the Camp Director.” He never misses an opportunity to delight the children with one of his animated bedtime stories, and he loves to play as much as any kid I know.
Grand Camp serves as a platform to transmit our ideas and values to the next generation. It strengthens the bond in our relationship with our grandchildren. We share happy times together. We act silly. We play. We march to the beat of music, waving flags and singing at the top of our lungs. We roll logs to look for critters. We go out into the darkness to listen to the sounds of the night. We want our grandchildren to look back on their childhoods and have incredible memories of time spent with their cousins and their grandparents. Through Grand Camp, we have formed a magical connection with our grandchildren and gifted a lasting legacy to be shared with generations to come!
We’d like to thank Felice for this week’s contribution. Grandmas Got Gigs columnists are also pleased to announce the publication of their book, The Gigaboomer’s Guide to Gigs, now available at the Little Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza.
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