According to Military.com, “More than 1.7 million children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the armed forces. And it is estimated that more than 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times.”
The month of April has been designated as Month of the Military Child in an effort to reach out to these young people and let them know Americans support them and their families. And with the slogan of “Kids Serve Too!” the National Military Family Association has designed a summer camp just for these young heroes.
Operation Purple camps (the color was chosen as a conglomeration of all the basic military colors and represents all branches) “…are open to children and families of active duty, National Guard or Reserve service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service, and NOAA,” according to NMFA.
Camps are offered at 17 locations this year, in 14 states across the nation, and are available to kids 7 to 17 in most (although some are 8-18) – and the best part is that the camps are free for young people whose parents have been, will be, or are currently deployed. The goal of the camps is to give military children the tools they need to help deal with the stresses that result from a parent’s deployment, through a memorable camp experience.
As someone who has a military child, and grandchildren that will deal with their parent’s deployment, I can appreciate the need for kids who are experiencing separation and other issues that only they can understand, to get together with their peers for a time of relating, relaxation, and recreation.
For information on registering for Operation Purple camps, go to the camp registration page at www.MilitaryFamily.org. The camps fill up fast, however, so act quickly, or pass the info along to others that might benefit from it.