Operation Purple® Camp Helps AW2 Kids Be Kids

By Patty Sands, WTC Stratcom

AW2 kids prove they are Army Strong at Operation Purple® Camp, hosted by NMFA.

I thought I saw a familiar face in the crowd of kids at Operation Purple® Camp—but I paused. It took me a second to recognize that it was my friend’s child! I befriended her mom at the start of the Symposium, and it seemed from the start we were kindred spirits for sure. Why didn’t I recognize this beautiful teenager? She was smiling! The only time I had seen her before she had a serious and mature gaze that was way beyond her years. Her face was beaming today. She and her new friends were giggling about bug bites and music. It was regular stuff for a kid—laser tag, Xbox and eating pizza. But rare for her Family.

Life changed for everyone in her Family when her cousin was injured five years ago. Her mom has stretched her time, money and talents to make all things work. Without a doubt there is great love there, but there is also a profound tiredness from the sacrifice. Just like all the kids here, they have served in their own way and with their own lives as their loved ones recover.

But this week was different—it was all about new friends and connections. The camp is relaxed and fun with friendships and connections weaving through the laughter. They know that while they have fun their parents are here to help the Army make changes to better their lives and the lives of others. It is exciting to know that this group of kids will one day be in leadership positions. They already know about love, duty and sacrifice, and now they are seeing how to work within the system to make changes. The results of this Symposium will be a wonderful legacy for them.

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