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For every soldier deployed in service to our country there is a loved one left behind. Their families must fill the void left in their absence. It so important for all of us to remember that our soldiers are not the only ones sacrificing for our country, children in particular sacrifice a great deal in their absence.
Operation Purple Camp is an amazing organization formed to support the children who make sacrifices for our country everyday through generosity of spirit and bravery. OPC is a haven for kids, a place to commune with other children in their unique circumstances. It’s a place for healing and an opportunity for all us to offer our gratitude and humble thanks to these little soldiers through volunteer work and donations.
Operation Purple was established in 2004 by the National Military Family Association. In its first year they implemented 12 camps and helped over 1,000 kids. Now, after 6 years in operation, OPC has served over 30,000 children and their families through a variety of outdoor activities and counseling.
Eight family retreats have been planned for 2010. Operation Purple takes these families on nature hikes, canoeing trips, and beach trips along with so much more all at no cost to the participating military families! Most importantly these trips bring families together in a unique way that allows them to communicate with their peers.
Unfortunately, not nearly enough research is being done on children’s behalf. More should be done to look into the emotional effects that deployment can have on these brave children. More should be done to measure the effects of deployment on children so soldiers, parents, and children can successfully cope with the stresses of deployment, and the feeling of loss that any child would feel in the absence of their parent.
Further research is needed with regard to:
- How family relationships are affected by deployment
- Finding out what social support groups and resources can be provided to help the parents with the financial burdens they are feeling at home
- Families who may be experiencing behavioral and emotional difficulties due to the stresses of deployment
Surveys have shown that deployment influenced parental behavior. Children felt high levels of anxiety for the parent at home. Their worry for the parent left behind caused a number of issues including trouble with schoolwork and in some cases trouble interacting with peers and teachers, who had limited understanding of their deployment experience.
If you are concerned for your child, Operation Purple Camp may be able to help. OPC gives kids an opportunity to socialize, build confidence and share their experience with other children who understand them in ways no else can.
To submit direct questions regarding the Operation Purple program you can email them at: OPC@militaryfamily.org