Operation Purple creates memorable experiences in a traditional summer camp setting for children of service members. Dubbed “purple” for its joint-operations commitment (any member of any branch of the military are eligible, as well employees of the Coast Guard, U.S Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), kids can experience the outdoors with peers who are in many of the same familial situations as they are. Operating since 2004, Operation has served over 45,000 children and their families.
Operation Purple camps last approximately one week and are geared toward children from ages 7 to 17 (age and time are dependent on the camp location). Camps are located across the United States and are free; there is a $25 deposit check that is taken to hold your camper’s spot, but that check is returned to you once camp starts.
First priority in registration is given to children who have a deployed parent. Next priority is for children whose parent has been or will soon be deployed; then registration is open to all military children, regardless of parent location. Registration fills up quickly. There are always many more campers applying than spots available.
Operation Purple Healing Adventures provides Wounded Warriors and their families the opportunity to heal, relax, and have fun. Working with the USO, Operation Purple is able to offer three camps in the summer of 2012. Families must have an active duty or medically retired service member who sustained injuries, trauma, or illness during Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.
Operation Purple also sponsors family retreats in conjunction with FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress). These four-day camps held in National Parks and Forests across the country are for families who have experienced a recent deployment (within the past 15 months). Developed to help assist with family reintegration, outdoor activities are balanced with independent family time. This program is free and also provides a $200 stipend to assist in travel costs to the outing location.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn has hit Operation Purple hard; its Summer 2012 program had to be scaled down because of resources, even though demand (seen through registration applications) is as high as ever. Donations can be made here at National Military Family Association, OP’s organizational founder.