In summer, kids can forget their worries about homework or grades and run off to play kickball, head to the beach or spend time running through sprinklers. For some kids, however, weighty concerns can hamper summer fun. Children in military families often deal with questions like, "Is my dad safe?" or "Will my mom come home from Afghanistan?" or even "How will I adjust to a new home and school?"
Easterseals Southeast Wisconsin aims to keep their summer bright with Camp Yellow Ribbon, a week-long summer camp for kids in military families. Boys and girls ages 7 to 14 who have a parent serving in the U.S. military are welcome to join in the overnight camp, which is free after the $50 registration fee. (Space permitting.)
The Wisconsin camp started three years ago to provide emotional support to children in military families, facilitated through recreation and play. "The kids can play on rope courses, canoe, swim, make art and crafts and enjoy campfire sing-alongs. They engage in team-building activities and connect with peers who understand their unique experience as a child of a service member," says Bridget Mangan, respite supervisor at Easterseals Southeast Wisconsin.
"At the end of the day, the week ends up being a respite for the parents as well, and kids learn more about what their parents do and take pride in it."