Operation Purple Camp
The 2022 season at Camp K kicked off with one of our favorite sessions of the summer, Operation Purple Camp in partnership with the National Military Family Association (NMFA)! Operation Purple Camps have been running at Camp K for 11 years and allow us to provide free camp programming to our campers that live in military families.
Operation Purple® Camp (OPC) was launched in 2004 by the National Military Family Association (NMFA) to serve children impacted by having a parent serve in any branch of the eight uniformed services of United States. The program is intended to create a space where kids who share a military-connected life can build bonds. Their common stories may range from frequent relocations to periods of separation from parents due to deployments to living with family members who may be wounded, ill or injured from their time in service.
OPC curriculum tailors elements of the camp experience for military kids without disrupting the typical camp environment of fun, learning, and connection. The activities are imbedded with elements universal to Operation Purple campers across the country, so when they cross paths on their military family journey with other OPC kids, they can connect through their Purple experience” (Operation Purple Website).
OPC always has a unique feel to it. Many of our campers have parents that have been, or are currently deployed. They face stresses and challenges that are incredibly difficult, from the worry of where their parents are to changing schools and moving many times. OPC gives them the opportunity to unite with other military kids and connect over their shared challenges and unique experiences while also having fun at Camp K. Often these campers come home with a lot of new friends who know exactly what it means to be a military kid!
This special camp session includes many military centered activities. One of our favorite activities is the “Wall of Honor”. All of our campers bring a photo of their military family member to camp, each cabin group has an opportunity to share with their fellow campers any special facts about their military family member, and then we post their photo on a special display we made. We display these photos the whole week in our dining hall and inspire a lot of great conversation and sharing. This year, we also got the opportunity to honor our camp staff who are military veterans, like Chef Guamps, Bud, and Merlin!
This summer we had a few special guests during OPC week, including military service members from the 611th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) at JBER. This amazing group spent the day at camp with our kiddos and ran a very challenging and fun boot camp inspired obstacle course on our field. They also engaged all of our campers in a connective Q&A session. Their involvement in this week makes the OPC week extra special!
We are honored to have a long-lasting partnership with the NMFA and are so grateful to be able to serve so many military families. We understand and honor that our campers serve along side of their family members and hope to see many more years of OPC at Camp K!
We are also grateful for the donors who support Operation Purple Camp and military families by ensuring that this camp is provided at no-cost.
John C. Hughes Foundation
American Legion Jack Henry Post 1
Navy League of the United States, Anchorage Council 151
American Legion Post 5
And many generous individuals
For more information on Operation Purple Camps, please visit their website or reach out to Camp Fire Alaska with any questions!