Welcome to Cousins’ Camp and Camp Grandma


Marilyn Hobbs and Roxy Wiley developed a friendship in the late 1960s when they were students at Butler University.

Now grandmothers, the Carmel residents have utilized the camp experience as a means of becoming closer with their offspring’s offspring.

Welcome to Cousins’ Camp and Camp Grandma.

Hobbs and her husband, Charles, have 10 grandchildren ranging in age from 22 to 4. Each year, the couple works around their grandchildren’s school activities, vacations and the like to pinpoint a two- to three-day window of time for everyone to be under the same roof.

Hobbs’ family refers to this longstanding tradition as Cousins’ Camp. Or so it says on the rainbow of T-shirts silk-screened annually since the inaugural Cousins’ Camp (there are 15 different ones to this point).

“I had seen an article about it, and my husband and I started ours in 2008. There were four grandchildren at that time,” Hobbs said. “We wanted to get to know our grandchildren, and we wanted our grandchildren to know us.”

Activities range from a round or two of miniature golf, ceramics, a family kickball game and much more.

“If you try something new, it’s a tradition. The more good memories, the better,” Hobbs said. “They get to see how we operate, and we get to see their personalities emerge.”

Wiley’s experiences have been just as enriching.

A longtime resident of LaPorte before moving to Carmel last August, Wiley recently published a book, “DIY (Do It Yourself) Camp Grandma: a handbook to create an extraordinary experience for grandchildren.”

“I’m a retired teacher. I love kids,” Wiley said. “And I feel everything we can give kids in a positive direction, it’s really important. It’s to create great memories for them. I started it when my five grandkids were preschoolers, and they’re 17 all the way up to 23 now.”

Cousins’ Camp and Camp Grandma are local examples of how bridging generations and uniting cousins can take place despite whatever geographical hurdles might exist in a particular family.

The name chosen depends on the family, though “Camp” tends to be included more often than not.

“One of my main goals was for the cousins to know each other. At that point, their families were in different parts of Indiana,” Wiley said. “Now, one family is in Indiana, and the other in California. But they’re on social media with each other all of the time.”

Gerry and Roxy Wiley celebrated their final Camp Grandma with a trip to Disney World with their five grandkids in December of 2021.

Now that all her grandkids are older, Wiley and her husband, Gerry, had their final Camp Grandma with a trip to Disney World in December of 2021.

Her objective now is to spread the word.

Wiley’s 170-page paperback book reveals 10 steps for grandparents to take to make such a camp a reality in their family. Examples and recommendations are provided so that lifelong memories can be made.

It is available for $14.99 at All Things Carmel, 110 W. Main Street, and MacArthur Books, 2169 Glebe St., Suite 100a, both in Carmel. It can also be purchased on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.


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