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Kids connect, gain life skills at Operation: Military Kids summer camp

Military kids and families from around the state are invited to attend "Operation: Military Kids" camp this summer. There are currently approximately 17,000 kids in Minnesota who are affected by having a family member deployed.

Operation: Military Kids will offer eight opportunities for youth and families to attend camp this summer. Camps are delivered by University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H program and other partners to help youth understand the deployment process, cope with the stress of a deployment, build communication skills valuable for a homecoming, and connect with other Military youth. There is no tuition to attend, but a low program fee will cover the cost of camp T-shirts and other minor expenses.

"Our intent is to give kids tools to cope with different stages of deployment," said Michele VanDyke, a 4-H program manager and Operation: Military Kids camp director. "They also get to connect with other kids who are going through the same experiences."

Memories made at summer camps last a lifetime, and so do the skills learned. Youth will participate in traditional outdoor camping activities like swimming, canoeing and campfires while building valuable life skills like communication, team work, and critical thinking. 

Registration information is available by going to Click on State Information, then MN and you will find it under the News/Events section. People with questions about Operation: Military Kids camps should contact Michele VanDyke at 507-337-2811 or

Operation: Military Kids camp dates and locations are as follows:

For grades 4-12:

July 11-14 at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul

July 25-28 at the University of Minnesota, Morris

For families with youth grades K-12:

June 17-19 at the YMCA Camp Cormorant, Lake Park

Aug. 12-14 at the Ironwood Springs Ranch, Stewartville

Aug. 26-28 at the Camp Lebanon, Upsala

June 17 at the Voyageur Environmental Center, Mound

July 23 at the Prairie Woods Environmental Center, Spicer

Aug. 6 at the Hartley Nature Center, Duluth

Operation: Military Kids camps are a program delivered by University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H program in partnership with American Legion, Minnesota Department of Education, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, Army Reserve, National Guard, and youth.