We are getting ready! They are about to arrive!!!
Yes, the wild and crazy “Yates Family Camp” is just a few days away.
Ordinarily we’d have 34 folks coming. COVID has messed with our plans a bit — perhaps that’s happened to you, too. Our Memphis kids can’t come. We will really miss those 7.
So we are down to 27 folks: 12 adults including a newly-wed granddaughter and her husband plus 15 grandkids.
For 11 years my husband John and I have hosted Cousin Camp at our little farm in Virginia. We began with 5 children from 3 different families. You have to be age 4 to come to our camp. (I write all about it in my book of the same name, Cousin Camp.)
For the last three years we had all 21 grands. Our Cousin Camp lasted for 4 days and 3 nights! Parents were not allowed. 🙂 At the end of Cousin Camp the parents and younger children arrived for 4 more nights of Family Camp.
Now that our grands are ages 9-23 with one married and all on different school schedules we have switched to an annual Family Camp running from Thursday of Labor Day weekend until Monday. It’s easier on everyone’s schedule. We are thrilled because this year our 3 college grandkids are coming home for it too.
How will you sleep all those people? (I’ve heard that a lot!) Sleeping bags, floors, closets, a sleeping porch, and a neighbor’s shared rooms. Only the adults are guaranteed beds! But camp is not about sleeping; it’s about family bonding.
Our vision for Cousin Camp and Family Camp has always been the same. It is based on the 2 great commandments — to love the Lord and to love others. (Matthew 22:36-39)
Because our kids live in 3 different states it’s hard to get together. We wanted our grandkids to know one another. Camp has been a set aside time each year to foster these relationships. The last night of Cousin Camp ended with a candle-light march to the barn where we had a special time of singing, sharing and we recited the BOC (Band of Cousins) pledge: As cousins we pledge to serve the Lord and to take care of each other always.
Now that we have switched to Family Camp our schedule will be a bit different, but our vision and our prayer remains the same.
There’s lot of planning that goes into Family Camp. Many emails have been sent. Meals divided up. Each family has planned a fun event. Kids will lead in a Sunday worship service. A ping pong tournament is a camp staple. And always the whip cream fight!
We thought you’d like to join us for a peek at this years’ Family Camp!
G-rated, unedited and just plain crazy. Thanks to my granddaughter Isabel for making this video! Music includes: “Family” by Drew Holcomb, “Brand New” by Ben Rector, and “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.
One of the things we’ve learned over the years is to plan thoroughly and be willing to throw anything out at any moment. We always ask several friends to be prayer partners for our Camp. We need those prayers!
Highlights of this year’s camp:
- Grown-ups having dinner in the Party Barn — a time for more personal sharing and prayer over each couple.
- Three college kids who came home from school for this Family Camp!
- Celebrating Callie and Ryan’s first wedding anniversary and 2 of our son’s birthdays!
- Our grandson Graham creating the best “slip and slide” ever!
- A sweet worship service with our 8th grade grandson Blaine giving the “sermon.”
- Watching cousins paint together, laugh, giggle, tackle, and rejoice when VA Tech beat UNC. However, not all of us were rejoicing!
And sooo much more.
In this season of great uncertainty, we all need HOPE.
Planning a family gathering of some kind for the future will give us hope. A fresh vision and a plan have a way of putting flesh on the concept of HOPE.
Is there a group in your family or extended family that you’d like to gather in the next year? Who would it be? Where would you gather? It will be encouraging for you to enlist the ideas of others and begin to dream and plan!
Get ideas for every type of reunion in my book Cousin Camp.
Go to this page and scroll down to see all my blogs about Cousin Camp over the years!