April is Month Of The Military Child! I love that we have a whole month dedicated to honoring our brave military children. Military Kids are courageous, resilient, and sacrifice so much. I also love that there are so many fantastic programs and non-profits now available for our military children. Below is a list of 25 different opportunities for your military kiddos that you may not have known about. Please help pass this post along to other military families so more and more families can be aware of some of the great programs out there for our brave Military Children.
As we all know, this Month of the Military Child and summer programs for military kids are much different this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of the summer camps and activities are either virtual or offering in-person opportunities. Please check applicable websites to get more information about any changes.
Military Programs & Non-Profits Offering Support For Our Military Children
Offers several different resources for military children. NMFA is proud to offer their Operation Purple Program which includes Operation Purple Camp (offering a free week of camp for military kids to connect), Operation Purple Healing Adventures (A Free 3-day experience to celebrate rediscovering family-fun and togetherness after an injury), Operation Purple Family Retreats (brings families from all uniformed services to beautiful outdoor locations to spend quality time reconnecting after a deployment) You can also learn about educational and Deployment resources on their website.
This years Operation Purple Camp dates and locations have been announced and will be offered both virtual and in-person this year.
The work of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) is focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. Learn more about their Resources and Programs on their website.
BSF offers loads of programs, events and support systems designed to keep our military children happy and healthy! Beginning with literacy, transitioning to new schools and new neighborhoods, deployments, developing as budding civi assets bullying . Visit BSF to learn about their programs, MilKidz Resources, Way Cool Creativity Contest and Blue Star Books events. Another great program for military members and their families is their Blue Star Museums and Blue Star Theatres Programs offering FREE ADMISSION to participating museums and theatres. Blue Star Museums is open May 15, 2021 to Labor Day Weekend offering great opportunity for military families to visit local museums. The BSM offerings should be announced soon.
Offers several great resources for military families whether you are a parent looking for information about child development, a preteen or teen looking for tips on saving money or getting involved in your community, or help with deployment and PCSing. MilitaryOneSource offers fantastic resources and support.
A department of defense website that helps military kids, tweens and teens understand that they can overcome obstacles. The struggles they face do have solutions. No matter where they are in the world, no matter what time of day, military kids can watch personal story videos, view animated graphic novels, play games and communicate with other military kids.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the U.S. Armed Forces partnered to help children of military families face the unique challenges of military life. Today, this enduring partnership continues to provide children of military personnel with critical youth development programs and activities, giving families the vital support they need. Every year, some 500 BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide provide more than 460,000 youth with the same high-quality programs and curriculums that traditional Boys & Girls Clubs provide. In addition, one-year, no-cost memberships are provided to children of the approximately 70 percent of families who live outside military installations.
United Through Reading offers a fantastic program for military families. United Through Reading provides opportunities for emotional bonding that relieve the stress of separation and instill a love of reading by providing the opportunity for family members to read aloud to children on video while separated.
A quarterly magazine for military kids ages 6 and up. The first stop for fun ideas, up-to-date information, and creative products for military kids. Their goal is to help military kids see the bright side of their military life, even at the most challenging of times.
Is an online bookstore dedicated to books all about military life. This company shares great books on topics such as deployment, PCSing, and all aspects of military life.
(10) Armed Services YMCA:
Offers several opportunities for Support (camp information found below). ASYMCA offers Operation Kid Comfort at participating bases. Volunteers at the Armed Services YMCA create custom-made photo transfer quilts and pillows. Each child receives a quilt or pillow; children 7 and under receive a quilt, 8 and older receive a pillow. Operation Kid Comfort quilts and pillows are for the children of our deployed active duty U.S. military service men and women. The quilts and pillows are personally handcrafted to help children cope with the emotional stress during a parent’s deployment. Other great programs available through ASYMCA include Operation Hero: an onsite after-school program, which focuses on character development and skill building within military children who have been identified by school personnel and parents exhibiting low self-esteem, or difficulty adjusting both academically and socially in the school environment. Curriculum is designed to help children handle the challenges of military life, provide tools to help them succeed in school, and help develop a positive self-image while improving social and communication skills. Operation Kid Comfort: Help young military children cope with deployment stress. Volunteers at the Armed Services YMCA create custom-made photo transfer quilts and pillows to help with the seperation of deployement. Each child receives a quilt or pillow; children 7 and under receive a quilt, 8 and older receive a pillow. Operation Kid Comfort quilts and pillows are for the children of our deployed active duty U.S. military service men and women. The hand-crafted quilts and pillow help children cope with emotional stress during a parent’s deployment. Operation Kid Comfort is offered to all active duty children, and created by loving volunteers at our branch locations across the country. They also offer in partnership with the Armed Services YMCA, the Y is proud to offer memberships and respite child care services to eligible military families and personnel through the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Military Outreach Initiative. The Armed Services YMCA has partnered with YMCAs, as well as national and independent fitness centers nationwide, to offer service members and families free access to fitness centers and respite child care services*. The Military Outreach Initiative gives service members and military families extra support and access to vital resources that promote youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. It’s another way of giving back to those who dedicate themselves to serving our country.
The USO has been lifting the spirits of troops and military families for more than 70 years. While this mission has not changed, the USO has continually adapted to meet the changing needs of our troops. Military families today are enduring the stresses of multiple deployments; coping with their loved ones’ visible and invisible wounds of wars, and struggling with the grief accompanying the loss of a family member. The USO uses its presence around the world -- and the trust of troops and military families earned over a 70-year history -- to help understand and meet these needs. The USO’s broad reach and reputation attracts valuable resources and partner organizations to create a comprehensive array of programs and facilities with the scale to make a meaningful difference for our military families while sending a powerful message of gratitude from the American people. The USO has many different programs to help our military families and children. USO centers nationwide also participate in many different FUN events for our military children. Follow your local USO on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and events.
Sesame Street for Military Families is a free, bilingual (English and Spanish) website where families can find information and multimedia resources on the topics of military deployments, multiple deployments, homecomings, injuries, grief, and self-expression.
Sesame Street provides much-needed support and practical education with Talk, Listen, Connect, a multiphase outreach initiative to help kids through deployments, combat-related injuries, and the death of a loved one. Videos, storybooks, and workbooks especially created for this program guide families through these tough transitions by showing how real families — as well as furry monsters — deal with similar circumstances. Plus, learn about Military Families Near And Far a great resource for parents and military kids to help with deployments, homecomings, changes, and grief. This website has many different activities such as mobile apps, downloadable PDFs, and other helpful links.
Tutor.com for Military Families is available for help during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have hired more staff to help assist children with virtual learning and tutoring needs.
Educational Support for Military Children funded by the DoD MWR Library Program, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, and Navy General Library Program. Get homework and studying help from a professional tutor any time you need it. FREE for students in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Reserve families. Expert tutors are online 24/7 and available to help in more than 16 subjects, including test prep, proofreading, Math, Science, English and Social Studies. Visit the website to learn more.
Scholarship Opportunities For Military Children
This scholarship was created in recognition of the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military family community. It is the intent of the program that a scholarship funded through contributions be awarded annually for each commissary operated by the Defense Commissary Agency worldwide. The Fisher House Foundation is honored to be involved with the Scholarships for Military Children Program. A minimum of one $2,000 scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location where qualified applications are received. This Scholarship is application process is in February and is currently closed. Learn more about this opportunity here.
(15) Our Military Kids:
Our Military Kids provides grants to children 3 years of age through the 12th grade (program recently changed from ages 5-18 to now offer grants for children ages 3-18) of deployed National Guard and Reserve personnel and children of all Wounded Warriors. Our Military Kids supports the children of wounded service members/veterans by awarding grants that pay for participation in sports, fine arts, and academic tutoring programs. Activities help children cope with stress and anxiety in a positive way while parents recover from severe service-related injuries.
(16) Thanks USA:
Join us in our mission of providing college, technical and vocational school need-based scholarships for the children and spouses of US military personnel. The deadline to Apply is April 15th.
Fun Activities and Camps Available For Military Children:
(17) Camp Corral:
A free summer camp for military children, registration for its 2021 summer camps are open. The nonprofit organization has expanded its reach since last summer, and will now offer summer camp sessions at even more camps in more states. Although any child from a military family is eligible, registration priority is given to children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members.
(18) Armed Services YMCA:
The Armed Services YMCA offers junior enlisted families the chance to participate in family, youth, and teen camps year-round at our 34 branches and affiliate locations through our Operation Outdoors program. Operation Outdoors encourages healthy living as part of our core mission of making military life easier. In partnership with sponsors like Newman’s Own Foundation, ASYMCA camps and retreats provide much needed recreational and bonding opportunities for military children and families who have experienced multiple deployments.
Create opportunities and provide support to military connected youth whether they live on or near an installation, in our communities, or on overseas installations. 4-H clubs and opportunities provide consistency in belonging and an opportunity to develop life skills through a positive youth development framework. 4-H clubs are offered on installations world-wide and in the communities where you live. Camping opportunities are available for military children, youth, and families.
There are tons of great opportunities at your local military base for summer fun through different programs and camp opportunities. Check with your local Morale, Welfare, and Recreation & Child and Youth Programs to see what summer camps and programs are available. Visit the link above and search programs and resources, MWR, local installation to find out more details.
(22) The First Tee
The First Tee teaches life skills to children using the game of golf. Some locations offer a Military Voucher Program funded by outside sources. This Military Voucher allows a military child to attend camp or class for free. This voucher is available until funds are depleted. Learn more.
Looking for something FUN to do this summer? Thanks to SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment the Waves of Honor Program permits any U.S. active duty military, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman to one complimentary admission per year for military personnel and as many as three direct dependents to SeaWorld (Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego), Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Tampa, Sesame Street Langhorne, Aquatica San Diego, and Adventure Island Tampa. Get this offer here!
This non-profit offers several programs for children (and adults, too). Our mission is to make horseback riding affordable for and accessible to, our service members, veterans, survivors, First Responders and their immediate families. Heroes come in all sizes and Horses4Heroes serves them all, every day, with affordable recreational, instructional and morale-boosting health & Wellness programs at more than 200 able-bodied and therapeutic equestrian centers throughout the country.
The Comfort Crew for Military Kids delivers proven resources to help military kids and their family connect and build resiliency in the face of extraordinary challenges. The Comfort Crew Programs combine customized in-person live experiences, animated DVD's, guided journals, and an online web-portal to help kids through the unique situations they experience as a military kid in an extremely efficient and effective manner.
We hope that this list is helpful to you and your military family! If we missed any fantastic programs or opportunities for our military children please feel free to share in the comments below. Give your military child/children an extra special hug today and in April when we as a country celebrate the month of the military child. Make sure they know how AWESOME they really are. It is important to remember that our #MilKids Serve Too!
Visit MilitaryBridge.com or Follow Us on Facebook to keep up to date with other military related programs, non-profits, fun events around town, military discounts, and military-friendly businesses in your military community.