ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — At Operation Purple Camp in Angola, military kids get to be kids. They make crafts, get in the water, play sports and games.
“We have a lot of fun going to the rock wall, going to the beach and the country store,” said Kayla Hutcheson of Kenmore.
But beyond the fun, these kids are building relationships with other kids who are also from military families.
“It helps you find people to talk to really and helps you find friends who really understand what you’re going through,” said Cameron George of Angola.
“My dad is in the army, he’s retired now and he was deployed in Iraq for 15 months in 2003,” said Hutcheson.
“Sometimes they could be the only child in their school that has a parent that’s deployed which almost singles them out,” said Joelle Waters, Camp Pioneer Agape Coordinator.
The camp brings together more than 100 military kids from all ranks and services.
“My mom is the one in the military she just got promoted to colonel,” said George.
The gold star kids lost family members who served overseas.
“Gives them a connection to other children who have lost a parent or a family member. It’s a really amazing thing to see, those children bond together over that common tragedy,” said Waters.
Many campers come back year after year, for the fun times and the camaraderie.
“I think this is my 6th or 7th,” said Hutcheson.
“They’ll take the friendships with them sometimes for the rest of their lives and that’s what we’re looking for is that bond.” said Waters.