No. 741



You know, sometimes life is just not fair. In this column, I want to tell you about a wonderful couple here in our community who have a Gran Camp each year for their grandchildren. The only requirement is that the child must be “potty trained” and as I said in the beginning, sometimes life is just not fair. Tommy and Susie Walker live here in Conway and have five grandchildren, all of whom live in the Fayetteville area, in Northwest Arkansas. I might add, this is also the home of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Susie got the idea for Gran Camp from a newspaper article that she read in 2005 written by another grandmother who had a Gran Camp for her grandchildren. What a neat idea as you will see as you read along, because it produces lasting memories and, if done properly, can help to build important values that will last a lifetime.
Here, I am reminded of the story of a preacher who took his young son to hear his first sermon. On the way into the church this preacher put a $5 bill in the offering plate. Would you believe that not one person showed up to hear his sermon? On the way out of the church this preacher took his $5 bill back out of the offering plate and the son said, “Dad, I guess if we had put more in, we would have got more out.”
That’s really the theme of what it takes to succeed in anything. Both Susie and her husband Tommy work hard to prepare for Gran Camp each year. This year, based on the requirements, three of their grandchildren were able to attend and they had a carnival theme. It lasted for seven days and nights and was planned around the children’s summer schedules. Once the plans were made, Susie, a former English teacher, began to plan for different activities for each day. She said she likes to get the kids out of the house at some point every day, but this year it rained six of the seven days, which necessitated flexibility.
Every day the cousins did a craft and “they really like that,” Susie said of craft time. This year the kids made garden stones, using bits and pieces of her old china and jewels, designing their own patterns for personalized stepping stones. Other crafts included making bracelets, bookmarks, and cards for their moms. The kids also created art work which hung in an art gallery along the edge of the kitchen counter. They also went to the Faulkner County Library, a movie, Jump Zone and the annual St. Joseph School Bazaar.
Susie said the carnival theme came from a favorite childhood book about a boy named Toby Tyler who went to the circus. She and the children also read a Little Golden Book titled “Circus,” that had beautiful pictures of an old-fashioned circus and teaches about how the circus used to come to town. She also found a large canvas with pictures of a monkey, an elephant and a lion, through which the children could stick their heads and pose for photos. At the end of the day, the children selected a sticker to place on the daily schedule board, noting they had finished all the activities.
Susie said one of her favorite times at Gran Camp was bed time, when all the kids would “all pile in bed, saying our prayers together, praying for their moms and dads.” She plans to hold Gran Camp as long as Tommy is willing, as he also plays a major role in the camp in addition to transportation. He does the devotionals, and this year he used the carnival theme to bring the Bible into the circus and talk about the various animals found in the Bible. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hope it inspires other grandparents to also hold a Gran Camp.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)