A local woman with ten grandchildren has continued her tradition of what she calls 'Grandma Camp', including a VBS program run this year from her living room, due to the pandemic. 

"I've got ten grandkids, two that have aged out and six in it right now, and I've got another two coming up," says Debbie Hiebert who lives just outside of Otterburne, Manitoba with her husband Murray.

For the past seven years, when the nearby town of Niverville put on a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at one of the churches, Hiebert would take all of her grandchildren in the age range of grades 1-6, to VBS during that week. 

Then, in the afternoons they would find fun activities to do while sleeping over at grandma's house the whole week.

This 'Grandma Camp' week originally started with one grandchild, her oldest grandson when he was in grade one. He has since aged-out of the VBS age limit, along with his brother. 

This year, VBS in person was cancelled at many churches due to social distancing guidelines, including the one in Niverville. That didn't stop this grandma from hosting a great week, which ended up including a digital version of VBS.

"I didn't even really know there was going to be anything like VBS at home but I went online to see what I could find."

Hiebert found a church down in Franklin, Tennessee that is doing an "at-home" VBS this week. The church taped it in their building and are making it available for people to follow along online. 

"We've been following along every day and it's been fabulous! The kids learn all the songs, the get the lessons, and I had my daughter help me print up some of the material."

This week's routine includes VBS to start off the morning.

"I added some crafts and some other activities. Usually, we start at 9:00 am and we're done by about 11:30 every morning."

For the afternoons, Hiebert has a special activity after the Bible School.

"We have a routine now. On the first day, we usually go to the beach. The second day is a 'city-outing'. We'll go to the zoo or, for example, this year we went bowling. Wednesday we have another picnic and spend the afternoon at my daughter's pool for the day." 

Hiebert and her husband live on a farm near Otterburne with horses and acres to roam. 

"Thursday is what we call the 'Farm Day'. We stay on the farm because everybody's getting pretty tired by then. Friday morning is the last VBS and we end off with a lunch," that includes the mothers of the children, according to Hiebert.

Although Debbie's husband works during the day, he is involved during the evening and night. 

"One evening he let the kids do some horseback riding. He [also] does the nighttime routine. He reads their stories and makes sure they get all the bedtime stuff done, and then he prays with them."

The grandchildren are getting bigger, which means fitting into the couples' farmhouse is a challenge. 

So this year, Hiebert says, "We're having a big camp-out in the barn." 

Once all the kids go home after the week of fun and learning about God, "then grandma collapses," says Hiebert.