Oregon 4-H hosting camp for uniformed services children

April 13, 2006

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As of October 2005, there were more than 17,600 active duty military personnel who claimed Oregon as their state of residence. This July, the sons and daughters of those military men and women will have the chance to come together for a week of fun at a special summer camp hosted by Oregon 4-H, an Oregon State University Extension program.

The National Military Family Association developed the "Operation Purple" camp, which operates at different sites around the nation during the summer months.

Registration has begun for the only Operation Purple camp in Oregon, which will run from July 16-22 at the 4-H Conference and Education Center, west of Salem. It is open to children in third- through eighth-grade whose parents are serving in the military or other uniformed services, including the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Public Heath Service and the National Guard and Reserve.

The camp is limited to 100 campers, according to Joan Engeldinger, an OSU Extension faculty member and the camp's coordinator. Engeldinger said enrollment priority will be given to children who have a parent deployed in the war on terrorism, with other slots going to children whose parents are waiting to be deployed, have returned from deployment or are subject to deployment.

"In most ways this is a very fun, very traditional summer camp," Engeldinger said. "There will be numerous outdoor activities like canoeing, hiking and swimming, but there'll also be lots of times for the kids to talk to each other, and with trained counselors, if they want.

"Oregon doesn't have one large military base where all the kids know each other and are in similar situations. We have kids scattered all over the state and the child in Baker City, might not have a single friend whose parent is also deployed. This is a chance for us to link these kids with their peers."

Registration for Operation Purple, hosted by Oregon 4-H, runs through May 15, but Engeldinger suggests registering early. For more information, or to register, visit: http://www.operationpurple.org.

The OSU Extension Family and Community Development program has also created an online resource to help parents talk to their children about the war on terror. For more information visit http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fcd/parentchild/stopics.php

Author: Aimee Lyn Brown