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Camp for Children Helping Kids Connect with Military Parents

By Daniel Cherry | Published 29 Jun 2011 06:52pm | comments
Kids taking a ride in a M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

All this week children of military parents across Mississippi are getting the opportunity to march in their parents' footsteps. MPB's Daniel Cherry went to Camp Shelby for the 20th Annual Kids Training Camp.

The kids are getting a first hand look at training similar to what their parents do in the military. They get to ride in armored troop carriers.....and they march in formation everywhere they go.

The camp is all about having fun, but for Emily Braswell, who's father is deployed to Afghanistan it's more that that.

"We talk about where our parents are and how we've (been doing) since they've been deployed because we're going through the same stuff. We know how it feels to have our parents deployed, and we feel the same thing. We understand each other more."

Camp organizers say connecting with other military children is a big part of the camp. It's also there to help kids understand the sacrifices their parents are making. Allen Pope is the Mississippi National Guard Youth Coordinator. He says it lets the children make a connection with their parents they might not otherwise have.

"It doesn't need to be this mysterious thing. Whatever it is their parent does with the guard, there's many jobs, and we're just giving them a few of them that are available. Even if their parents aren't a gunner in a Bradley, maybe they support that person, and that's what it's all about."

Many who go through the camp stick around long after they age out. Amber Compton started as a camper 10 years she's a councilor. She says passing on her experience of having her father deployed is one of the most important parts of her job.

"First of all you've got to let them know their mom or dad is going to be ok. You've got to always reassure them that they're going to be safe, and they know what they're doing. Because they're getting to experience the same thing so they know exactly what their parents are going to do so they're trained for it."

About 150 kids are spending the week at Camp Shelby. .










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