Children from military families will participate in Operation Purple camp at Purdue

June 1, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — More than 40 children with military parents who are, will be or were deployed will spend a week at Purdue University to participate in Operation Purple camp, a free national summer program designed to offer support in a fun atmosphere.

The program, created by the National Military Family Association, will take place June 6-12. This is the third year that Purdue and the Military Family Research Institute have hosted the event.

"Our mission is to empower these military children -- our youngest heroes -- to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, in spite of the current military environment," said Mary Scott, the association’s chairman of the board. "Kids attending Operation Purple camp will have the opportunity to learn the skills to cope with the stress of a deployment and make friends with other kids who are also missing their mom or dad. The National Military Family Association is excited to work once again with Purdue and MFRI on this very worthwhile program."

The campers, who are 10-15 years old and from Indiana and surrounding states, will participate in common summer activities such as arts and crafts, judo, hiking, archery, low and high ropes challenge course, swimming, sharbade and a tour of Purdue's Animal Sciences Research and Education Center, said Bonnie Blankenship, camp director and a Purdue professor of health and kinesiology.

There also will be daily small group sessions that focus on stress management and interpersonal communication activities to encourage campers to build trust and friendships among their peers.

"Operation Purple camp is an incredible part of these children's lives, and that is especially true today as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue," said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of the Military Family Research Institute and a Purdue professor of child development and family studies. "A large number of service members have been redeployed because of these ongoing conflicts. These family changes can place stress on children, and the stress management skills that the participants learn at camp can help them when they return home."

There are 70 Operation Purple camp sites, and each camp is open to children of service members of any branch of service -- active duty, National Guard or Reserve -- as well as children of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Camps are free to all participants, thanks to support from the Sierra Club and The Sierra Club Foundation.

The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. The Military Family Research Institute is a research and outreach organization based at Purdue. It's primarily supported by the Lilly Endowment and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources: Bonnie Blankenship, 765-494-3188,
                  Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, 
                  Bailey Toombs Bernius, contact for Mary Scott at National Military Family Association, 703-931-6632,

Note to Journalists: Journalists are invited to visit Operation Purple camp on June 10. Any reporters, photographers or videographers interested in covering the camp should register with Amy Patterson Neubert, Purdue News Service, 765-494-9423,