Purdue Extension is reaching out to youth whose lives are affected by a parent's military deployment.
Operation: Military Kids is a national 4-H program that enrolls youth who have a parent deployed with the military and creates a community support network to help youth cope with having a parent in harm's way. The program also works with schools in military communities to ensure the staff is equipped to handle special needs of military youth.
Boone County is one of several counties in Indiana participating in Operation: Military Kids. Boone County 4-H Junior Leaders were among those who assembled Hero Packs at the State Junior Leaders Conference. The packs, which included a liberty patriot bear, disposable camera, photo album and “thank-you” letter written to the military families, were distributed to National Guard representatives in Lebanon, Ind.
“We also had a Boone County Service Day this past October,” says Tony Carrell, Purdue Extension educator in Boone County . “It was a magnificent community event. About 600 people showed up to help send off National Guard troops being deployed.”
In March, youth in grades 7-12 from both military and non-military families attended the Speak Out for Military Kids training in Indianapolis. “The training helps educate youth about life in the military and life as a military family,” says Chris Cook-Leitz, Purdue Extension specialist in the Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education. “Then, they develop presentations to present in their own communities.”
Also on the schedule for 2006 is the Mobile Technology Lab, which will appear at county fairs and other events throughout the year. The lab gives community members the opportunity to create electronic greetings to send to deployed troops overseas.
For more information on Operation: Military Kids activities in Indiana , e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.