'Grandparents U' starts ninth year at Western

Western Washington University Youth Programs kicked off the ninth year of its Grandparents U program on Thursday, July 21.

An intergenerational summer program, Grandparents U invites grandparents and their grandchildren in grades 1-8 to pair up in a non-traditional setting and take a class together. This year, there were 60 participants in the Bellingham program.

The goal of Grandparents U is to provide an opportunity for grandparents and kids to spend more time together rather than just a weekend, Extended Education event coordinator Colleen Jacobson said.

“It’s more one-on-one,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson also said she hopes participants take away the idea of how Western can be part of the community, even if they didn’t go to school here.

This year’s Grandparents U program offered new classes to participants. Classes available included “Computer Programming for Beginners,” “Photography in the 21st Century,” “Drumming Around the World” and “Family Tree: Creating Personal Works of Art with Pattern, Color and Collage.”

Also new to the program this year, was the involvement of different departments on campus. The WWU Alumni Association, the Office of Admissions and WWU Athletics were all involved in the program this year so participants could get a well-rounded view of Western, Jacobson said.

In addition to participating in classes, participants were able to experience Western’s campus through a variety of activities. Options participants were involved in included self-guided sculpture and tree tours, a show at the Spanel Planetarium, swimming at the Wade King Rec Center, on-campus dining and staying in campus dorms.

Grandparents U is also held in Anacortes for grades 1-8.

“Grandparents U aligns with the goal of Extended Education and Western that you can learn at any age," Extended Education program specialist Michele Anderson said. “It’s an opportunity to get involved with that process and introduce the kids to college, making them more comfortable about college when it comes time for them to think about attending.”

For more information about Western Youth Programs, visit wwu.edu/youth, call (360) 650-3308 or email youth@wwu.edu.