I distinctly remember my father sending me to an overnight camp in Southern New Jersey on a warm July day when I was 12. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous and unsure if I was going to “fit in” and make friends. My fears quickly went away when I was warmly greeted by my counselor, who introduced me to my cabin-mates who were all throwing a football around. Camp was a transformative experience for me.
Through my years as a camper and later a counselor, I met life-long friends, tried new activities, and grew in confidence at school and home. The camp experience gives all children the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves – especially military children, who experience unique challenges when compared to their non-military connected peers.
As a former classroom teacher, I can promise you persistence, creativity, and other “21st century skills” are better predictors of life long success than memorizing historical dates and math formulas. While teaching, I came across Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed.
Tough suggests “that non-cognitive skills, like persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientious, grit and self-confidence, are more crucial than sheer brainpower to achieving success.” Operation Purple Camp is the perfect environment for military kids to build upon these skills, since they’re often not taught in school.
Throughout the week, campers participate in archery, swimming, sports, ropes course, outdoor education. While at the same time, they celebrate the notion that “Military Kids Serve Too!” through fun activities that build upon resiliency and the military experience.
Military Themed Day, typically hosted in the middle of the camp week, provides Operation Purple campers with the opportunity to celebrate that they serve alongside their parent or guardian. It’s a fun day where they get to increase their knowledge of their military parent’s experience. The day includes volunteers from a local military unit, vehicles or gear from that unit, and more! This day also includes a Military Speaker who will spend time sharing his/her experiences with the campers and provide the campers with an opportunity to ask questions.
For 2017, we are excited to launch Operation Purple Mini-Camp in Colorado and Texas for military connected children between the ages of 6-8. How is a Mini-Camp different than a regular camp week? The main difference is that it’s a shortened overnight experience. Mini-Camp serves the need of the growing demographic of young military families. Through my personal experience at camp, I found that the youngest campers have so much EXCITEMENT for trying new activities and meeting friends. Above all, their minds are so hard-wired to make new friends and learn new skills!
At Operation Purple Camp, military kids become the best versions of themselves. Through our partner camps, children develop character, build positive relationships with other military kids, and learn new skills that can be transferred outside of camp. We can’t wait to see your child transform at Operation Purple Camp!