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Camp grandparents are basically grown up campers.  We want them to participate in everything the campers are doing, including Bible Study, worship, games, planning with their group, hiking, wood carving, etc.  Your job is to play with the campers, worship with them, study and learn with them, and love them… as one of them.  By spending quality time with campers, you will develop relationships with them that will allow you to talk about things beyond just small talk.  Each day, you will choose your activities to try and spend as much time as possible with as many campers as possible, so that they may experience you.  You will also work very closely with our staff and will be involved in our staff meetings and will help us address camper concerns that may exist.  It will be a very busy week for you, but it will also be a very rewarding one.

We typically have only two grandparents each week, either a couple  or two single grandparents of the same sex.  This is mainly because of housing issues.  We provide a guest room with toilet, sink, and shower in the staff lodge.  There is no charge for your week; however, we require that you get a camp physical just as the rest of us have received.  We will provide you with the form.  You will also need to fill out and sign a registration form that we will also provide.

The purpose of grandparents, at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp is:

  • To share in the experience of the daily camp routine with campers, counselors and staff.
  • To be willing to take time to chat, listen, play or just “hang out” with campers and counselors.
  • To rotate daily among the different villages for one or more village activities.
  • To meet and socialize with different campers and staff by mixing up camp activities as well as where you sit for meals.
  • To let campers know that you are interested in their activities, thoughts and ideas.
  • To model unconditional love in a way that fits your personality and exemplifies the importance of inter-generational connections.
  • To “show up” whether it’s for kitchen party, setting up and cleaning up dining room, worship services, Bible study, arts & crafts, low and high ropes, pop-shop, etc.
  • To be willing to share an experience or be vulnerable, letting the campers see you, too, are human and a child of God.
  • To model appropriate behavior and dress that aligns with Christian values.
  • To support camp leadership and all other staff members by lending a helping hand or “switching gears” if the needs of the camping community change.

To support your Bible study leader by supporting the message, but balancing active participation with over-participation.  Let your relationship with campers evolve naturally so that you earn the campers trust.

If this is your first time thinking about being a Camp Grandparent, please take time to read  some of the thoughts and observations from other grandparents.


Linda Kelly – I was a Camp Grandparent during one of the senior high weeks.  I loved participating in KP (fondly known as “Kitchen Party”).  After at least one meal each day I helped clean tables, loaded dishwasher racks, wiped tables, etc.  The campers would turn on popular music and we danced and sang our way through the entire process.  What a wonderful opportunity to meet campers from different villages on their terms and in a fun setting.  The campers seem to trust you more when you “dig in” and do what they are doing.  Also, no matter how tired you are at night, don’t pass up the evening worship services.  They are very meaningful and inspirational  – a great way to end the day!

Charlie KellyRelax, participate, go with the flow and God will take care of the rest.

Rick Reed – Being a grandparent at RTLC is always one of the most exhausting weeks of my year, but most importantly, the most blessed week of my year.  Mind you, this is not a vacation, it is hard work!  But it is so rewarding.  Immerse yourself in all activities.  Volunteer to participate in the silliest of skits and events.  I had the wonderful opportunity to dress quite silly and be a part of a high-energy dance routine one evening with my son, Dave, Jammin and some other guys.  Totally embarrassing in any context!  Be present and available at all events and activities.  You are here to support not only the campers, but the staff as well.  You will see God at work in everything.  You will be blessed beyond measure by the depth of the worship and the “community” that happens during the course of the week.  You will leave feeling blessed and renewed and with a hope and promise for the next generation.

Jill Reed – What I love about camp is that I do not have to be “results driven” or meet a deadline.  I am simply “present” in the lives of campers and staff, regardless of their ministry.  I have learned during this past year, that it’s not about saying or doing the right thing…sometimes, it’s simply about the connection that can come through silence, a smile, a tear, worship, a song or silly dance.  It’s about being aware and being God’s hands and feet!