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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Activities and Programming for Military Kids and Their Parents

Every year, the Defense Department designates April as the Month of the Military Child, and this year is no exception. What better day than today, a day where many of us have been fortunate to spend time with family, to bring together a few resources created especially for our littlest of troopers who sacrifice so much for their country?

Here's to our most precious of patriots.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

Must-see Television Programming/DVDs
Monday, April 9, 2007, PBS plans a rebroadcast of one of their most popular programs, When Parents Are Deployed, hosted by Cuba Gooding, Jr. [pdf flyer] You may need to set your recorder, as it's scheduled to air at 10:30 pm, but it will be well worth it. An intro:

PBS has resources waiting for you online, too.

Next stop, the Sesame Workshop for a really sweet video featuring Elmo coping with his father's deployment [ view | download ]. There's also a parents' video just for you. [ view | download ]. The companion website offers lots of activities for your kids as well as a way to order your own free Talk, Listen and Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment kit that includes the Sesame Street DVD featuring Elmo and his dad as he deploys, a poster showing how Elmo is dealing with the his absence, and a helpful magazine filled with tips for military parents.

FREE Summer Camp For Military Kids

Operation Purple summer camp registration begins March 15th and ends May 1st! Check out the 2007 camp locations and register today!

The Operation Purple Camp Experience

Many children are experiencing multiple deployments or have more than one parent or family member deployed. The stories from those who attended Operation Purple summer camps offer a glimpse of the heavy emotional and psychological burden that falls on the sons and daughters of service members. The goal of these free summer camps is to bring together youth who are experiencing some stage of a deployment and the stress that goes along with it. Operation Purple camps give kids the coping skills and support networks of peers to better handle life’s ups and downs.

This year more than 40 weeks of camps will be held at 34 locations in 26 states. The camps’ outreach programs provide the skills and positive outlets for their feelings, but it’s the camaraderie campers are able to build with one another that’s so important. Learning coping skills, making new friends, and experiencing life lessons at an early age are what make Operation Purple camps so unique.

Operation Purple Camp for Children of Wounded Service Members

As a pilot program in 2007, the Operation Purple camp program will provide additional help for kids who are going through a potentially difficult adjustment—an injury to a parent. This specialized, dedicated camp will incorporate additional mental health support into the daily camp activities—without losing the focus on fun!

Online Resources Worth an Exploration
Websites you may wish to check out, gathered by the Kitsap Sun:

What can you do to recognize and honor the military children in your life and community? I’m glad you asked. Consider checking out these Web sites for ideas. If you are an educator, has ideas and lesson plans to incorporate in your observance of this month in your classroom. Business leaders also can find ideas to support initiatives for military children on this Web site including sponsoring a journaling/scrapbooking event.

America Supports You ( provides ideas and opportunities to express your support for our troops and their children.

Parents, I want to recommend a few resources for you and your children, not just for this month, but throughout the year. Military Teens on the Move and MTOM for Kids is a "cool" site ( full of tips to help military youth get the most out of this "life of adventure." Helping kids and teens cope with relocation, the site provides information on each military installation, communities, schools and ways to weather the pre- and post-move periods.

Kids Information on Deployment Stuff, sponsored by DeploymentLink, strives to make moving around the world or learning of a parent’s deployment destination more fun. Games and information are presented at grade level and provide military children the opportunity to learn about cultures, religions, geography, as well as health and nutrition, family life, personal safety and even kid appropriate news. Check them out at is a great resource for parents, children and teens to find information and resources on quality-of-life issues such as relocation, deployment and education. There is a section dedicated to special-needs families, educators and military leaders to provide a central location for tools and resources to enhance both educational and social well-being.

I'd also add a stop over to Military Homefront.

A video for kids; Dr. C talks to Elwood and Dulci about PTSD after their fathers return from Iraq:

Special Base Events and Activities
Meanwhile, bases around the country and world have special programs set up for the kids this month. Here are a few examples, but be sure to contact your local base to see what they're offering.

From the Hilltop Times [Utah]:

Hill Air Force Base 'Month of the Military Child' Events

April 11, 18, and 25, Gerrity Memorial Library hosts Story Hour and crafts beginning at 10:30 a.m. for preschool age children. April 11 is “You Are What You Eat”, April 18 is “Child Abuse Prevention Puppet Show,” and April 25 is “Move It and Groove It”. For more information call 777-3833.

April 10 and 24, Hill Bowling Center will host Month of the Military Child events. April 10, 6 - 9:30 p.m., pay only $1 per game. April 24, 6:30 - 9 p.m., experience Thunder Alley for only $5 per bowler or rent-a-lane for $25. For more information call 777-6565.

April 13, Child Development Center hosts Race Day. It will be held in the parking lot from 2:30 -5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to this free event, which includes race cars and monster trucks on display that children can sit in for photos along with prize drawings, hamburgers, cookies, popcorn and beverages. There will also be a St. Judes trike-a-thon in the back parking lot by the chapel. For more information call 777-6321

April 14, Cherish Our Children 5K and One-Mile Family Events Course hosted by the Fitness Center and Family Advocacy Programs. This event Starts at 9 a.m. and is $10 to pre-register or $15 at the event. It includes T-shirt, bounce house, and prize giveaways. For more information call 777-2761.

April 16, Family Child Care Open House, 6 - 9 p.m., in Bldg. 460 (Thornton Community Center). Stop by to meet providers and learn more about becoming a home day care provider. Light refreshments and door prize drawing will be included. For more information call 777-0695.

April 18, Kid’s Deployment Day hosted by the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. The activities for children will include a tour of the deployment processing line and various aircraft, and K-9 and gas mask demonstrations. Students from Hill Field Elementary School will have designated class times to attend the event. Parents of students from other schools can call the A&FRC at 777-4681 to make reservations for the activities scheduled for after 4 p.m.

Hubbard Golf Course Free Golf - Every Saturday throughout April. Dependents ages 17 and under can enjoy complimentary golf after 1 p.m. One child can play for free per paying adult. For more information call 777-3272.

Information, Tickets & Travel is sponsoring a Month of the Military Child Coloring Contest. Children of active-duty military members can stop by ITT and pick-up a Mickey’s Coloring Sheet for a chance to win a free Lagoon Day Pass. The age categories are: 1 - 3 years, 4 - 7 years, 8 - 12 years and 13 and older. Color your picture and turn them in at ITT by April 23. One winner in each age category will be contacted by April 30. For more information call 777-3525.

Arts & Crafts Center is offering a 10 percent discount on customer framing for family and child portraits during the month of April. Individuals can show thier Members First Plus card and save an additional 10 percent off their order. For more information call 586-0567.

From Media Newswire:

The contributions of military children will be celebrated across the Defense Department as April is designated as Month of the Military Child, and the spirit of the event will be felt by military families, including members at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

Officials at Whiteman AFB are conducting a mock deployment April 28, named Operation Spirit, to celebrate the month. Operation Spirit will give military children a chance to tour the flightline, process through a deployment line, see a pallet building demonstration, and watch a military working dog demonstration. The goal of the event is to educate children about the military, said Tech. Sgt. Karen Simpson, the readiness NCO at the Whiteman AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Lots more resources to help military families in last years' post, too.

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