Operation Military KidsThe UK Cooperative Extension sponsored free family camps, called Operation: Military Kids (OMK), for Military families May 29-31 at the West Kentucky 4-H Camp and June 12-14 at the Lake Cumberland 4-H Center. OMK Camp is open to Kentucky families, both parents and children, from any branch of the military. This includes Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard families.

The camp provided an educational, recreational, and social outreach program for military families. The goal was to offer opportunities for family team building and fun, holistic health and reintegration after deployment, and quality time together as a family unit. The primary audience was those who have an injured/wounded service member in their family.

Dr. Kerri Ashurst, Kentucky OMK Director, commented, “There are more and more opportunities being offered for military children and youth in Kentucky, but very little for the whole family. Through this grant, we had an opportunity to offer a full weekend of fun and time together as a family. It was a very special experience.”

Operation Military Kids ActivitiesLots of exciting programs and activities included fishing, swimming, digital photography, sewing, scrapbooking, parenting, and financial planning. Family time was built in to explore camp and to enjoy leisurely activities as well, such as canoeing and nature hikes.

When asked about the first camp, Stephanie Moses, Coordinator for the OMK Camps, stated, “Overall it was a great weekend, especially for being our first-ever family camp offered through Kentucky Operation: Military Kids!”

At the end of the first camp, a family that participated remarked, “We truly appreciate all you did. It has made such a difference in our lives and really made our family stronger.”

UK Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Cooperative Extension improves the quality of individual and family life through education, research, and outreach. Professionals in FCS Extension enable individuals and families to develop capacity for strengthening families and building community for an ever-changing society. For more information about Operation: Military Kids, contact Kerri Ashurst at kgoodman@email.uky.edu or 859-257-3032 or go to http://www.operationmilitarykids.org