For a week in August, Kelleys Island on Lake Erie was home for 227 campers from all over Ohio, including Columbus, Pickerington and Mansfield, participating in the Operation: Military Kids (OMK) program, which held its 5th annual camp this year. The camp, a joint effort of Ohio 4-H and the Ohio National Guard’s Family Readiness Program, is for youths who have parents in any branch of the military who have been deployed, are currently deployed, or are preparing to deploy overseas. Camps provide an opportunity to be with other youth in the same situation, to learn new things, and to have fun in an outdoor setting.
The American Red Cross has a long history of providing support to families of military personnel, so we were thrilled to show campers how we help families during times of disaster. We also shared information about preparedness and served lunch out of our emergency kitchen trailer. It was heartwarming to see these kids, who face unbelievable stress when a parent is deployed, have fun in the beautiful camp setting on Lake Erie. Can’t wait to go back next year!