(Locator: Dowling, Mich.)
Rev. Dave Meister and his wife Denise call this family two.
Nat/Support group meeting: “I said ‘Lord, I’d like to see my grandkids
more often.’” (laughter)
As pastor of Buchanon First Methodist Church, Meister organized a
weekend camp in the Michigan woods for grandparents raising kids…
Nat: Girl at camp: “I saw a spider!”
…because Meister knows how isolating the situation can be.
Nat: Boy at table: “Grandma!”
The Rev. Dave Meister: “You don’t fit in with the adults that are your
Gary Carpenter/Participant, Grandparents Camp: “I see our next-door
neighbor head down to Florida for the winter, and we’re here.”
The Rev. Dave Meister: “…and many of these grandparents, their grandkids
have special needs because maybe their children did drugs or alcohol or
Children may not yet realize the heroism of their grandparents.
Kenny Hutton/Participant, Grandparents Camp: “It was either we stepped
in or the kids went into foster care – and I wasn’t going to let that
Physical challenges are obvious.
Nat: “A little easier, please.”
And there’s the gulf between generations.
Participant, Grandparents Camp: “When the little one gets out of high
school, I’ll be 87. I’m still in rehab for open heart surgery.”
Bill and Kay McNiff/Participants, Grandparents Camp: “The pressure’s
really on, the stress for our grandchildren to achieve is more now than
what it was even for our children.”
So the camp is about mutual support and just fun for a change…
Nat: “Keep kicking!”
…a reminder that the second time around also has rewards.
Gary Carpenter/Participant, Grandparents Camp: “I act and feel younger,
so I’ll take it.”
In Michigan, more than 15 percent of all children live with guardians –
the great majority of them are their grandparents.
Most of the participants at this camp said their children were unfit
parents because of situations related to drugs and alcohol. One of the
most difficult things they deal with is – right or wrong – a sense of
guilt that perhaps they somehow failed to give their children a positive
sense of responsibility.
For more information about the camp, contact Dave Meister at