Children and Youth Services Review
School of Medical and Health Sciences
This research aimed to investigate grandparents’ perspectives on the impact of Leadership and Respite Camps, designed for children being raised by their grandparents, on their grandchildren. In-depth interviews were conducted with 34 grandparents whose grandchildren had participated in 1 of 3 camps held between September 2018 and January 2019, in Perth and the south-west of Western Australia. Findings highlighted how grandcarers’ perceived the camps created unique opportunities for grandchildren to share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Grandparents reported significant psychosocial benefits to their grandchild, including feeling they fitted in with their peers and were not alone in experiencing a difficult childhood and adolescence; gaining perspective on their situation and developing a new appreciation for their grandparents; being able to emotionally ‘unblock’ traumatic memories through the sharing of experiences in a safe and supportive camp environment; developing resilience, confidence and self-esteem through participation in challenging activities; and making new friendships. This research provides strong evidence that Leadership and Respite Camps designed for grandchildren being raised by their grandparents deliver significant psychosocial benefits to grandchildren, and offers a solid foundation to advocate for regular camps to address the needs of grandparent-led families.
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