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Is Your Kid Military Child of the Year Fodder?

Military kids constantly wow me. As the mommy of two of them, I see how they just take military life in stride. For my three-year-old gate guards aren't weird -- they are just a chance to show a captive audience his shoes. The"Where’d my Daddy go?” question is just a normal question, not a meltdown in progress.

And wouldn’t you know that my baby didn’t even notice that his Dad wasn’t there when he was born? He just took it all in stride, latching on to his father later the second he saw him without even batting an eye.

Military kids are amazing.

Which is why it’s so great that an organization takes time to recognize and reward the ones that really stand out. Operation Homefront, a military family support nonprofit, holds a yearly Military Child of the Year contest honoring the top military kids from all five services. as well as four additional finalists from each service.

You can take a look at the kids who won this award last year here. You'll notice that even though the award is open to kids between the ages of 8 and 18, most of the winners are on the older end. But that shouldn’t stop you from nominating an extraordinary littler person – as long your kid is within the age bracket you’re good.

To enter a child all you need to do is visit this site, fill in the questions and submit a short, no more than 300 word, essay on why your nominee is worthy. They also look at other information such as volunteer hours. And while an 8-year-old is not going to contribute volunteer hours the same way a 18-year-old is, little guys still contribute in all sorts of ways – if only just by helping you in your outreach.

Worth noting: National Guard and Reserve families can apply – just select the service you’re affiliated with. Kids of retirees can also apply, but not children of other types of veterans. Bummer, I know.

Winners will receive $5,000, a laptop and a trip to D.C. to be presented with their award. The four runners-up in each category will also receive a laptop.

You have until Dec. 15 to apply, and the finalists will be announced in mid-February.

Good luck!

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