Mary Ann Van Osdell, Schexnayder, Kathleen | 1/4/2011 1:15:41 AM
News Release Distributed 04/27/10
POLLOCK, La. – A special overnight camp for 100 military kids using an Earth Day theme was held at Camp Grant Walker on April 17-18.
This camp is one in a series of events across the state to help military families stay connected, said Kathleen Schexnayder, coordinator of the Louisiana Operation Military Kids program in the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Department.
These events help military personnel and their families meet and get to know others who are having similar experiences, Schexnayder said.
“The kids have come from across the state – Caddo to Plaquemines parishes and from Fort Polk and Fort Beauregard,” said Schexnayder. “They don’t know each other, and we want them to connect. We give them the experience of everything 4-H can bring them.”
An Earth Day theme was used for the gardening and arts and crafts lessons. The participants used recycled paper to make seed ornaments and made a take-home pizza garden. They planted herbs in take-home pots to use later as toppings for a pizza sauce they learned to make.
Other activities included archery, canoeing, riflery and gun safety, Schexnayder said.
The children were encouraged to take pictures that might be put on a website and were given a journal with pages in the back to collect names and e-mails of friends they made, Schexnayder said.
Operation Military Kids is a support network that started six years ago with the goal of educating the public about the unique stress facing military children – especially those not living on military installations, Schexnayder said.
Two military family life consultants with the U.S. Department of Defense were on hand for counseling for those who needed it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also provides funding for the program.
Upcoming activities as part of Operation Military Kids include a training camp at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La., on June 15-18, in which the youth will learn leadership skills and how to cope with anxiety, Schexnayder said.
On June 23, Operation Military Kids is sponsoring one of the seminars at Clover College, which is part of 4-H University, June 23-25 on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. On Aug. 28, there will be a science, engineering and technology 4-H camp just for military kids at Camp Grant Walker, in which the participants will learn robotics, kitchen chemistry, about the wetlands and more, Schexnayder said.
For additional information on Operation Military Kids, contact Schexnayder.Mary Ann Van Osdell