Each year, the National Military Family Association (NMFA), with the support of many wonderful sponsors and individual donors, organizes free summer camp experiences for military children. Dubbed Operation Purple to represent the different branches of service, these fantastic camps allow military kids to experience summer camp with peers who understand their experiences.
As I understand it, first priority for these camps is given to campers who have a family member who is currently deployed, followed by campers whose military family member is preparing to deploy or has recently returned from a deployment. After that, spots are open to any military children.
My kids were blessed to attend an Operation Purple camp several years ago, about mid-way through my husband's deployment. It was great for all of us. The kids had a fabulous time doing regular summer camp things while also enjoying special activities designed just for them: eating MREs, having a helicopter come and land on one of the fields, and made cards to send to deployed folks. I had an amazing week ALONE and was able to relax and recharge and be a better mom for the rest of the year.
Details will be available when applications open on 19 March, but you can read a little bit about the program now at the NMFA Operation Purple website. Put it on your calendar!