April: Month of the Military Child

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.

Summer Camps for Junior Shooters

Summer is the time for kids to head out the door and have fun at camp, and junior shooters are no exception.  Summer camps designed especially for young marksmen are a great opportunity for kids who are already experienced shooters to get together with others in a fun and safe environment and brush up on their skills.

I will focus on four camps in this post: The MGM Targets Junior Shooters Camp, NRA National Junior Pistol Camp, NRA National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp, and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic (the only one not held in the summer).

MGM Targets will host their 2012 Junior Camp on July 21st through 23rd, in Boise, Idaho.  Cost of the camp is $260 per junior shooter, which also includes lodging for a parent or guardian (parents/guardians will also receive two half days of instruction).  A limit of 60 campers ensures optimal training time by some of the nation’s best shooting instructors.

Campers must be an active member of USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association), or SASS (the Single Action Shooting Society aka Cowboy Shooting), and have competed in at least four pistol matches, and possess good handgun handling skills.  This is NOT a beginner’s firearms safety class.

Junior Competitor, Allie “Allie Cat” Barrett, who I previously interviewed and wrote about HERE, has been accepted to the camp again this year and has said she is really looking forward to the fun.

The National Rifle Association also sponsors camps for young shooters.  The NRA National Junior Pistol Camp and National Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp are the intermediate events held during NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio.  Pistol camp is held from July 10th through the 15th, and rifle camp is held July 21st through the 26th.

Intermediate to advanced shooters must be 12-18 years of age, and enrollment is limited to 50 students for pistol camp and 72 for smallbore rifle camp.  Standard registration is $225 per student, plus housing, food, and other expenses.

This year the 5th annual U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting Junior Clinic will be held August 13-17, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.  Cost for the camp is only $35, and it is limited to 32 shooters.  This advanced, smallbore rifle camp is open to shooters 14-18, and accompanying parents are welcome to attend classes with their children.  Shooters must have participated in NRA or USA Shooting matches and acceptance to the camp is based on previous matches shot.

If your child is a pistol or rifle shooter, or may be interested in learning to shoot, one of the best ways to get them into the NRA or USA Shooting matches is through an organization such as the Venture Scouts or the county 4H clubs.  Both of these organizations offer shooting sports and make participation in these matches available to their members.

Contact the individual host organizations for each camp for exact details or more information.