A record 150 grandparents and grandkids found fun in learning together July 12-13, during Grandparents’ University at UW-Green Bay. From arts to music, geology, rocketry and more, there were classes for every interest — and memories for every pair.
“Grandparent University, celebrating our seventh year, is just growing leaps and bounds,” said Mona Christensen, director of UW-Green Bay Camps. “We have 150 people signed up in 10 different classes.”
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“The multigenerational learning is really important,” Christensen added, “and I think, different than just a social activity — going out to eat, or spending free time together. Learning together is when you really get to learn what makes each other tick.”
Mary Tejeda of Madison was returning to GPU for her second year with granddaughter Katie Coyle.
“Oh, I love hanging out with my Katie for two days,” Tejeda said. “We have each other to ourselves and we love to make stuff together.”
Whether arts or music, animals or rocketry, being hands-on is what GPU is all about, Christensen said.
“It’s not about lecture; it’s about getting out there and doing it,” she said. “And they’re going to learn, too, if they learn by doing.”
The hands-on experience is a highlight for Tejeda and Coyle, both of whom enjoy the arts.
“We both enjoy making things – I’m a quilter and a scrapbooker and I love to make things,” Tejeda said. “So last summer, we took ceramics, pottery class, and we made a memory vessel, which we’ve used all year … and this year, we’re taking the making of art books. So that’s what we’re doing this afternoon.”
Tejeda and Coyle are among those who choose to stay on campus during GPU.
“The grandchild — sure it’s being with grandma and grandpa — but they like being on the college campus,” Christensen said, “and to eat the campus food, and to be in the buildings, and they learn so much. And for the kids who are staying in the dorms, wow, that is the highlight. That is just the highlight of the whole thing.”
Coyle enjoyed her time in the residence halls, she said — and at GPU in general.
“It’s really a lot of fun, and you learn a lot, and then you get to make something and take it home,” Coyle said. “And it’s a lot of fun to have a time with your grandparent. … It turned out (to be) even more fun than I had expected. It was really great.”
That’s been the experience of countless GPU campers, both young and old, Christensen said.
“And for the evaluations that come back, where the grandkid says ‘now I know more about grandma — you know I really enjoy spending time with her and she makes me laugh and I’m always so happy when I’m here,’ I mean that is just awesome,” Christensen said. “And that experience of course is happening on the UWGB campus — so it couldn’t be any better place.”
More information: www.uwgbsummercamps.com/gpu
See Grandparents’ University photo gallery: click here.
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