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By Grandma Judy

The Story of Camp Grandma

   It all began in 2005...

My granddaughters Buttercup and Sage* were one and three years old, and living all the way across the country - too far for a grandma to snuggle on a regular basis. I knew that any time I spent with them would be limited, so I wanted to make each visit special. I got my first chance when I went to see them during spring break and we "wrote" a book together about two fictional characters named Chaka and Chucko. After I went home, we mailed the book back and forth, adding new chapters each time. About six months later, my son asked me to grandma-sit the girls for a week, and I happily agreed. I decided to surprise them by turning Chaka and Chucko into stuffed animals and creating a nature-themed camp around the characters. The silly, fun, dear moments we shared left the girls demanding"more camp g'amma!" and lit a fire under me to start planning for the next year's adventure. I never imagined in 2005 that even now, after many years and the addition of two more granddaughters, all four girls would still be asking for "more camp g'amma."

Chaka and Chucko

Over the years, Camp Grandma has evolved into an annual sleepover camp that lasts from seven days to two weeks - no parents allowed! I build a theme, then the girls put their own personalities into it and make it real. At the end, we always have a “show and tell” to share that year's fun with the rest of the family. Each Camp Grandma adds something new for all of us to talk about, laugh about, and remember as part of our family story.

From the very beginning of Camp Grandma, whenever I talked about my experiences with others, I discovered that friends, neighbors, hairdressers, and practically everyone I told wanted to sign themselves or their grandkids up for Camp. So, I finally "grandma-ed up", partnered with my daughter Kelly, and we created Grand Connections! Our goal with Grand Connections is to give grandparents the tools to recreate the magic of Camp Grandma with their own ways to connect with their grandkids, build deeper bonds, and make memories for a lifetime.

*In case you're wondering, those aren't my grandkids' real names. For all references to them, I’ll be using the nicknames they chose for themselves during our Camp Grandma Magical Fairy Gardens in 2015. (Except for the youngest, who wasn’t born until 2018! The older girls picked out her nickname.)

Looking for inspiration for your own GrandCamp?

Click the pictures below

for a behind-the-scenes peek

at all our past Camp Grandmas!

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