The Operation Purple 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 those who fight America’s wars. 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.
At Operation Purple camp, children said they understand how it feels to have a parent or family member who’s away. While working in groups and having fun, the children laugh and kid around. Pull them aside to ask them directly what their worries and concerns are, however, and the children’s moods often grow somber. With their military parents deployed overseas, they are fighting their own battles at home against worry, fear, and change. In interviews, they talk about how their military parents are missing graduations, sporting events, and other milestones in their young lives. Staff members said they have to deal with issues that other camps don’t experience, like youth who worry that their deployed loved one may not return or will be a very different person than before they left. Learning coping skills, making new friends, and experiencing life lessons at an early age are what makes Operation Purple camps so unique.
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. One of the best things about Operation Purple is that these kids get to be with those who know what they are going through and they have the chance to share in some carefree fun, maybe more than they’ve had in quite a while.
REGISTRATION OPENS: MARCH 15, 2007
Link to their site: http://www.nmfa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=op_default