Togetherness, fun in learning at heart of Grandparents’ University

Grandparents UniversityGrandparents’ University at UW-Green Bay continued a proud tradition of multigenerational fun in learning July 10-11, when nearly 200 grandparents and grandkids took part in the eighth annual camp.

“We have 198 people who have registered for Grandparent University,” said Camps Director Mona Christensen. “It’s a two-day program where grandparents and grandkids sign up for a class that they take together.”

Nine-year-old Calista Wright was attending her first Grandparents’ University with grandma Joanna Cloud.

“It feels very awesome,” Calista said, “because you get to have – because I’ve been having a lot of fun with my grandma.”

Fun is just one aspect of the two-day experience, Christensen said.

“It’s really multifaceted. It’s intergenerational learning, so they’re spending time with each other. They’re learning from each other,” she said. “It isn’t just the adult teaching the grandkid — it’s grandparents learning things that their grandkids know, too. And they’re doing things together in the classrooms.”

GPU veteran Pat Schaetz was happy to be returning for another year, attending with granddaughter Ava.

“We did the nutrition class last year,” Pat Schaetz said. “We did the wellness class, the rocketry class. Next year they’d like to take the cartooning class and there’s so many different things that they could take here. It’s just endless, the learning opportunities for them.”

Those opportunities extend beyond the classroom, Christensen said, as grandchildren get a taste of life on a college campus.

“They’ve experienced living on campus, eating in the University Union, taking classes out here,” she said. “And it’s really not so big. It’s something they can aspire to do in the future and that learning is something they can do for the rest of their lives, event when they get to be old enough to get to be grandparents.

Grandparents University

“They just love being together — hands down the most important thing is that we had time to spend, quality time together. It was undistracted time; they could spend time in conversation with each other.”

That rang true for Tina Mercier, who attended camp with her two granddaughters.

“I guess what I’m realizing is,” Mercier said, “the best part of spending time with them — I’m going to start crying — is having talks with them. That’s what’s most precious to me.”

Added Cloud:

“She’s had a good time. I’ve had a good time. So it’s just been a real positive experience.”

Calista, Cloud’s granddaughter, didn’t hesitate when asked what she likes best about her grandmother.

“I like best that she loves me. “

Click here for a photo gallery from Grandparents’ University 2014.

More information about Grandparents’ University is available online.