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2: SERVICE

We serve, too.

For most children, turning ten means more than just entry into double digits in a military family. It’s also when a military child typically gets a personal ID card. Yup, their very own computer distorted photo, just like dad or mom. Even though they aren’t “in” the military, kids serve in many ways. They send care packages to their military parent when they are deployed. They take on new responsibilities when situations change in their families. They grow up with a sense of community and service to country.

“My dad serves in the military and we do, too.”

Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have given military kids a greater understanding of their parent’s job. Children at Ramstein Intermediate and Middle Schools in Germany asked to be in a club for children in 3rd through 8th grade called Kids4Kids. These children of deployed parents got to see what it was like to go through processing for deployment, from eating Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), to sleeping in a tent. Many kids at Operation Purple® camp said their favorite activity at camp was Military Day, which included watching Blackhawks whirl in for a landing and a Q&A with a military guest speaker. Operation Purple campers said the experience of a week at camp with other military kids going through a deployment reminded them that they, too, were part of the efforts supporting troops overseas. Use these strategies as an opportunity to reinforce the positive efforts that military kids make by supporting their parents—and by just being kids:

  • Nominate kids for awards when they have made contributions to their community.
  • Thank them! Sometimes they just need to hear their family is appreciated.

Resources:

National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Camps. Visit www.MilitaryFamily.org for more information.

Boys and Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year Program—BGCA members are recognized for overcoming obstacles and making outstanding contributions to their school, family and community. Visit www.bgca.org/YOY for more information.