Outdoor Grandma at Family Nature Summit

Evening dancing
Evening dancing, 2015

I’m getting ready for another great week at Family Nature Summits (FNS). This is the family camp where kids do their own thing with great counselors and adults have a book full of activities to choose from. The camp moves around all over the United States, allowing participants to see a new part of the country every year.

I’ve been taking my older granddaughter, Hannah, to FNS for going on seven years. Together we’ve been to Lake Tahoe, the Ozarks, Rocky Mountain National Park, Acadia National Park among other locations.

This year, Hannah will be in the teen group. Last year, our younger granddaughter, Isa, joined FNS as a Junior Naturalist. But last year, the camp was in Western North Carolina and the logistics couldn’t have been simpler. This year, we’re flying to New Mexico and staying at Ghost Ranch.

I’m going to be a single grandma for this trip. I’ve booked the flights, the car, the lodging for a couple of days before and after the camp. I’ve gone through the logistics and think I have  the details under control but I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.

Isa and group, 2015
Isa and her group, 2015

I’ve come up with packing lists for the kids and me and wonder how we’re going to handle all the luggage. We just learned that Hannah needs a sleeping bag for an camping overnight – If they need sleeping bags, they also need a sleeping pad which is going to take up a lot of room.

I’m not the only outdoor “single grandma” at FNS. There’s a small group of us who’ve decided to give our grand kids an outdoor experience and let the parents have a vacation on their own. Let’s not forget this part.

Yet, as much as I praise FNS, I’ve not been successful in attracting more of my hiking friends to take their grandkids. In some case, the parents are fearful of letting go of their kids.

In other cases, the grandparents realize that they only want to have the grandkids in a controlled environment. But the whole point of FNS is that you don’t have the kids all day. You can participate in your adult activities.

Still I’ve got to make sure that Isa is dressed, breakfasted, and packed for her group each day in addition to taking care of myself. That’s a new concept to grandmas who are no longer used to dealing with small children. Yes, it’s work, but doable.

I can’t sign up for a hike that starts before 8 am when I drop off Isa. For a week, this is just like being a single parent –  which I never was.

Too late for this summer. Check out Family Nature Summits for next year. It doesn’t matter where they go. It’s the experience that counts.

And I’ll even share my packing list.




2 thoughts on “Outdoor Grandma at Family Nature Summit

  1. I’d like to see you write an article about this topic and your experience at this year’s FNS for publications beyond the outdoors genre, such as AARP, Today’s Senior, Active Over 50, etc.

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