Cousins’ Camp
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“Cousins’ Camp,” Friend, Aug. 2004, 32

Cousins’ Camp

(Based on an experience of the author’s friend)

We are a happy family (Children’s Songbook, 198).

Four-year-old Chad could hardly wait until Monday, when he would go to Cousins’ Camp for the first time. His grandparents held a special camp each year for all their grandchildren.

His older brothers and sister talked about it all year, saying it was even better than going to the Grand Canyon, where their family had visited last year.

The night before camp, Chad and his brothers and sister packed their clothes, scriptures, and journals. Chad couldn’t read yet, but he had his own set of scriptures. When Grandpa had told him he should bring a journal, too, Chad was worried.

“Grandpa,” Chad had whispered, “I don’t know how to write.”

Grandpa had smiled and placed a gentle hand on Chad’s shoulder. “That’s all right. You can draw pictures of what we do at camp. Grandma and I want you to have a record of the week.”

Chad’s mother took him and his brothers and sister to his grandparents’ home in the country the following morning. A banner hung between two poles with the words “Cousins’ Camp” printed in big black letters.

Grandma and Grandpa greeted each child with a hug and a name tag. Grandpa asked Chad’s older brother, Tayson, to give a prayer.

The children rotated between a story station, a cooking station, and a craft station. Grandpa told stories about their pioneer ancestors at the story station. At the cooking station, they made pizzas from Grandma’s homemade dough for their lunch.

At the craft station, Chad made a birdhouse. He couldn’t decide what colors to paint it. All the colors were so pretty. Then he remembered a song he learned in Primary. He chose red, yellow, and blue.

Grandma sat on the bench beside him. “You have chosen beautiful colors for your birdhouse,” she said.

Chad smiled and said, “Thanks, Grandma. They’re the Primary colors.”

Later, Grandma helped everyone make Peanut Butter Balls for an afternoon snack. Chad ate three.

When Chad started to yawn, Grandma suggested a nap.

For dinner, Grandpa showed everyone how to make tinfoil meals with hamburger, potatoes, and carrots. Then they cooked them in the campfire coals.

Chad usually didn’t like his food mixed together, but the tinfoil meals tasted great. He asked for seconds.

At the end of the day, everyone roasted marshmallows over the campfire. Grandpa and Grandma told stories from their childhood. After Chad said his prayers, he settled inside his sleeping bag, tired but happy. “This is the best camp ever!” he thought. “There are already a lot of pictures I can draw in my journal. I can’t wait to see what we do tomorrow.”

  • Jane McBride Choate is a member of the Big Thompson Ward, Loveland Colorado Stake.

Illustrated by Gerald Rogers