Operation Purple Camp comes to Selfridge Published July 21, 2010 By 1st Lt. Anthony J. Lesterson SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MICH. -- About 20 children of 127th Wing members who have deployed or will be deploying soon participated in Operation Purple Camp here on July 17. Offered to Selfridge through the Base Family Support Center, the National Military Family Association provides free summer camps to children of deployed military men and women. The goal of these camps is to communicate to the nation's youngest heroes that "Kids Serve Too." According to the NMFA Website, the Operation Purple program was created in 2004 to fill a need identified by military parents to "help us help our kids." Since its inception nearly 30,000 military children and teens have been served by a program designed to empower them to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, in spite of the current military environment. For children of Reservists, the chance to build relationships with other military children can be rare. Military kids of active-duty military members often live in military communities surrounded by other kids who can relate to one another, especially when a parent is deployed. Reservists' children most often live the military life outside military communities and military connections. At the day camp at Selfridge, the children participated in arts and crafts, ran obstacle course, and played games. They also had an opportunity to go through a mock deployment line, assisting their understanding of what their military parent does in preparing to deploy. Near lunchtime, a nutritionist visited the kids and made a short presentation educating them on the importance of healthy eating. At the end of the day each child was given a back pack with a photo album and other small tokens to help boost their morale and keep connected to their deployed parent. "This is one of the many programs we have offered here at the Family Readiness Center," said Deborah Schroeder, Selfridge Family Readiness Center director. "Our goal is for the children to leave with a better understanding of their parent's military duty and to know they're not alone. They're part of a much larger military family and not alone in feeling sad or confused when a parent goes away."