Nevada Army Guard and Army Reserve families face deployment issues regularly, but the Operation Military Kids program may help children handle the absence of loved ones through leadership programs and 4-H in Nevada. With 4-H in 17 Nevada counties teaming up with the Operation Military Kids program, military children can participate in animal science, shooting sports, after school programs, leadership camps, Cloverbuds and 4-H camp at Lake Tahoe.
Operation Military Kids started nationally in 2004, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension received funding from national 4-H headquarters to launch the program in Nevada a year later to support children and youth impacted by deployment. Operation Military Kids has touched 65,000 military youth and provided information to 7,200 community members across the country.
Because the program is new in Nevada, representatives of the Operation Military Kids program want to get the word out so that more families may be helped in handling deployment of their loved ones.
Approaching its third year with the youth program, Nevada has partnered with 4-H to include military youth. Families can benefit with their children participating in the programs and strengthening awareness for Operation Military Kids.
The 4-H program is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the United States with more than 7 million members, including 38,505 young people in Nevada 4-H in 2006. It promotes life skills development through community and project clubs, military and 4-H after-school programs, special interest groups, school enrichment and camping.
Events and activities for youth provide a safe environment to share experiences, learn new skills and network with others. For example, Carson City 4-H and the National Guard hosted a bicycle safety day in September about the importance of riding safely and wearing helmets.
Operation Military Kids provided Hero Packs to help children stay connected to deployed parents. Hero Packs contain disposable cameras, journals, bracelets and stationary. Each pack contains information to parents about resources available to their child in the community.
Information at unce.unr.edu or 784-6608.