G3 camp brings grandparents, grandkids to bond on campus

Courtesy / Margo Dill
2012 G3 Camp

Courtesy / Margo Dill 2012 G3 Camp

Lizzy Balboa

Grand Valley State University is hosting its second annual G3 Camp: Grandparents, Grandkids, Grand Valley from June 25 to June 27.

The camp brings children ages eight to 12 to Allendale for a three-day college experience—and a little bonding time—with their grandparents. Participants live and eat on campus, attend classes and enjoy some of the extracurricular resources that GVSU has to offer, including swimming and rock climbing.

This year will bring to campus 73 grandparents and grandkids—a figure that camp director Margo Dill considers a success even though participation is down 25 percent from 2012. “It’s a large camp actually,” she said. “(It’s a) big enough group that it won’t feel like it’s that much less.”

Dill said the program sees a mix of staff, faculty and community members who bring their grandchildren, with about 20 percent of this year’s participants returning to the camp with the same or different grandchildren.

Mathematics professor Marge Friar will be attending camp with her granddaughter for a second year to enjoy the “one-on-one time” afforded by learning with her grandchild.

Friar said the best part of her camp experience was “the fact that my (then) 10-year-old granddaughter liked the camp, got to experience a taste of living on a university campus, and wants to return for this year’s camp.”

Dill said she is excited by the support that the faculty members have shown the initiative either by presenting at or attending the sessions.

“We’re seeing it as a wonderful complement to what’s happening in the community,” she said, adding that it exposes people to what GVSU has to offer.

Although many at GVSU have contributed to the camp, Dill said some of the biggest supporters have been the Annis Water Resource Institute and the people from some of the hard sciences.

The AWRI will bring a group of campers to Muskegon to go out on the lake in a university boat, which is one of the most popular sessions of the year.

“It’s hard to say which is the most popular because it’s geared to what the students are interested in,” Dill said. However, there has been a lot of interest in going to the lakeshore as well as touring GVSU’s satellite campuses.

Other camp sessions include a tour of WGVU’s radio station, a trip to the farmer’s market and hoophouse, and an astronomy lesson outside at night.

Some of Friar’s fondest camp memories are from the astronomy and hoophouse sessons.

“(My granddaughter) loved going to the farmer’s market, picking out specialty bread and homemade jam and taking it to the 11 p.m. star-gazing event where she made us a snack as we got to view Saturn,” she said.

Friar advised other grandparents to “take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to grow closer to your grandchildren while your learn together and experience campus life together.”

Registration for the 2013 camp is now closed, but those interested in participating can look for 2014 registration during the school year.

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