Serving Together: Grandparents and Grandchildren Make Memories At Summer Camp Sessions

Quality time with their grandchildren is something grandparents crave, but is often difficult to find. The Criswell and Julson families, however, found a way to incorporate time with their grandchildren and service to others: they became Partner Families for Victory Lane’s summer camp sessions.

Building Compassion Through Service

Don and Beth Criswell wanted to support Victory Lane by serving at a summer camp session and decided to involve their grandchildren Raegan and Clayton. Don is a board member for Victory Lane and he knew it was important for his grandchildren to learn about families affected by disability. Raegan has been coming since the first year of camp.

“Victory Lane has helped our grandchildren better accept people that are different from them and be able to engage with them,” Beth shared. “Some of our favorite memories from camp sessions are watching our grandkids make new friendships and participate in fun and educational activities.”

Don and Beth encourage other grandparents to take the leap and get involved with Victory Lane alongside their grandchildren. Not only did it impact their grandchildren, but it has changed Don and Beth as well.

“There are a lot of hurting people in this world that we do not even think about,” Don expressed. “When you attend a summer camp session, it will help you grow in knowledge and compassion for others, and it will help your grandchildren do the same… it is a wonderful experience to share as a family! They will love it!”

‘We Knew He Would Love It’

When Connie and Alger Julson heard about Victory Lane during a presentation at their church, they knew they wanted to include their grandson Braxton. “We knew he would love it,” Connie explained.

The trio was matched with Chayson and his mom. The family’s favorite memories center around Chayson’s joy at everything he did. They loved the opportunity to take the pressure off of Chayson’s mom during the camp session.

“This experience taught us all how to relate to and serve others,” Alger noted. “We have learned not to be afraid to relate to and include people with special needs in the things we do.”

Both Connie and Alger appreciated the organization and support from the Victory Lane staff, along with good meals donated by many organizations and churches during their stay.

“It’s a great experience for people of any age,” Connie said. She has this advice for any grandparent who is thinking about attending a Victory Lane summer camp session with their grandchildren: “Our grandson LOVED camp and came with us for two years. Please allow them to grow with you.”

If you are a grandparent looking for a meaningful service experience to share with your grandchildren, contact Natasha Hamilton at [email protected] or visit