Back in the day, I went to various day and overnight camps during many summers in my youth. As an only child, with both parents in the military, and living with my grandparents while my mother and father served our country, it was important to all the adults in my life that I have somewhat of a normal childhood. So attending a camp with lots of diversity was the ultimate decision.
Summer camp for me was very special because I was able to learn how to ride a horse, get better at my gymnastics, cheerleading, and swimming skills, do archery, and so many more fun and exciting activities. Plus I made lots of new friends.
When I became a military spouse and parent of an only child, extending the tradition for my daughter to go to summer camp was something that I knew had to be done. Our child learned how to do ballet, play tennis, soccer, and again meet new friends. These experiences have helped shape her into an outgoing college student.
Working at the National Military Family Association as an Operation Purple Program Manager is very important to me because I have lived the military experience as a child, and now an adult. We have partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project again this year to make it possible for over 1,200 children to attend an Operation Purple Camp at one of 12 locations in 11 states.
The camp locations that we partner with already have a passion, profession, and purpose for kids. And we add the training of teaching the counselors and camp staff to help the military campers overcome the stressors that come with their parent or guardian’s military lifestyle. During the camp week, kids learn how resilient they are by playing numerous and different activities, learning lots of new things, including environmental education, and meeting new friends that are just like them in many ways.
Camps also host a Military Day during the Operation Purple Camp week that helps military campers feel more connected to their service member and understand that the whole family serves our country in different ways.
Operation Purple Camp wants to do our part and help by sending military-connected children whose parents/guardians have been wounded, ill or injured (medically retired, medically discharged, active duty and reserve) or deployed during a 15-month deployment “window” (December 2016 – June 2019 includes pre, during, and post-deployment phases) to a free week of summer camp. Even if you are not a service member, military spouse, or kid, everyone has a family member that has served in one or more of these three important roles. So we should all care about these military kids because they are a part of this country’s future!
Right now we are accepting applications for Buddy Camp for kids ages 5-8, check out our website and see if there’s a buddy camp near you!