Since 9/11 more than 2 million American men and women have deployed, and 44% are parents. Children of military families face many challenges. Now there’s a unique camp designed just for military kids to be kids.
Jennifer Malone knows it's not easy for her two daughters to have a dad in the military.
Malone told Ivanhoe, "For them, it's always the unknown, because they don't know is he coming, is he going, how long is he going to be gone?"
Then Kaitlin and her younger sister Allison found Camp Corral. It’s free for military kids.
“We send children from military families to summer camps all over the country, specifically children whose parent has been wounded, injured, ill or fallen,” Megan Ley, Former Dir. of Annual Giving explained.
Founded in 2011, the camp has grown to 19 sites in 17 states and served more than 21,000 kids.
“We understand each other and we just bond, just talk about our experiences and how we feel,” Malone said.
Camp directors go through mental health training to help campers open up like when Allison was upset her father was about to be deployed.
“It’s something that she would not have shared with me because she knows I was stressed about it too,” Malone said.
Malone has seen the confidence level in both her daughters grow.
“I think it’s given them coping skills and the independence that they would not have gotten, that I can’t give them,” she said.
“I’m just saying amazing so many times because that’s how I’m describing it, it’s just been so life-changing!” said Malone.
Camp corral solely relies on donations to fund its program and operations. The Golden Corral chain is the founding sponsor and continues to do in-store fundraisers every year. The application process opened in January. For more information and where to sign up please visit www.campcorral.org.
In Wisconsin, the camp is called Camp Lakotah. It’s in Wautoma, Wisconsin. It’s so popular, all the spots are taken and they currently have 35 campers on their waitlist.