A version of this post, by Bill Fortune, originally appeared on the Colorado Red Cross’ blog.
The excitement was everywhere. The conversations were lively. The laughter was contagious. The noise level elevated. Kids being kids and doing what kids do best – enjoying the moment and the outdoors, renewing friendships and creating new ones. Five days of non-stop fun and excitement seemingly without a care in the world.
Camp Corral, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, is a free summer camp for the children of wounded, disabled or fallen military members. It offers a chance for kids to share amazing adventures in the great outdoors through archery, boating, swimming, hiking and just enjoying the fresh air and nature. Camp-goers also have opportunities to make new friends, learn new skills and take risks in a safe environment. Founded in 2011, Camp Corral has served over 6,500 children at 23 camps in 19 states.
This year, the American Red Cross in partnership with Camp Corral, rolled out a new Reconnection Workshop designed especially for military kids. Camp Shady Brook, a YMCA camp near Deckers, Colorado, was the first of four camps to host the workshop, Operation 10-4: Confident Coping
, that teaches children essential life skills to help them better manage stressful social situations and unique challenges that they face as military children. Certified Red Cross Behavioral Specialists presented the workshops during “cabin time” at the end of the first two days of camp.
Oftentimes families don’t know where the military service member is going or how long they will be gone. Absences like that can be stressful for the family, especially the children. The Red Cross workshop focuses on bolstering strengths that may already exist within the child. During the lesson, children learn personal strengths for dealing with stress and how to reach out and ask for help when needed. The Red Cross will present the same workshop at three other camps this year, hoping to expand to more camps in 2017.
Find more information about Red Cross support for military families
on redcross.org, and visit Camp Corral’s website
to learn more about the camp.