Lexington, KY – IT WAS A FUN-FILLED WEEKEND FOR MILITARY FAMILIES AT THE LIFE ADVENTURE CENTER IN WOODFORD COUNTY AS THEY PLAYED GAMES UNDERNEATH A LARGE PICNIC SHELTER IN THE SUMMER HEAT. THEY TRIED TO BEAT THE HEAT WITH A WATER FIGHT USING SUPER SOAKERS, BUCKETS AND EVEN THE GARDEN HOSE TO PROPERLY COOL EACH OTHER DOWN.
OPERATION MILITARY KIDS IS A GRANT-FUNDED PRORGRAM FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND ADMINISTERED THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE. THE PROGRAM STRIVES TO RAISE PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT ISSUES AND CHALLENGES FACING CHILDREN OF MILITARY SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN. KERRI ASHURST IS A UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY EXTENSION SPECIALIST.
"It's very much about holistic healing. Reintegration, because they have all experienced deployment. The idea is reunification of the family."
PART OF THAT IS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH TEAM BUILDING SKILLS WITH THE FAMILIES ON A CHALLENGE COURSE. THEY USED TEAMWORK TO PROBLEM SOLVE HOW TO GET ON AND OFF AN IMAGINERY BOAT WITHOUT TIPPING IT OVER. FAMILY MEMBERS SAY THEY CAN TAKE WHAT THEY LEARNED BACK HOME WITH THEM.
"A lot of the discussion we had throughout the exercise, we can reflect back on that later. Some of the things we were required to do, we can reflect back on later, and nest it with things we do already."
THAT IS MAJOR RICHARD PALMER, COMMANDER OF THE 149th BATTILON OUT OF BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY. PALMER HAS BEEN BACK FROM AFGHANISTAN FOR ABOUT A YEAR, HE AND HIS FAMILY CAME TO OPERATION MILITARY KIDS CAMP WITH THEIR FRIEND BETH BATES AND HER THREE SONS WHILE HER HUSBAND MAJOR FRED BATES IS IN AFGHANISTAN.
"I just really appreciate the chance to come to something like this. I am a mom, I'm not going to take my kids camping, so this is great to have this opportunity for them to go camping, just to make some memories and have a good time this weekend."
THE UK COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE HOSTED 24 FAMILIES AT TWO FAMILY CAMPS THIS YEAR, IN JUNE AT LAKE CUMBERLAND 4-H CAMP IN PULASKI COUNTY AND IN JULY AT THE LIFE ADVENTURE CENTER IN WOODFORD COUNTY, A 575- ACRE, HANDS-ON LEARNING FARM. THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR FOR THE LIFE ADVENTURE CENTER TO HOST THE CAMP AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DON FULFORD WAS PROUD TO DO SO.
"We learned a lot about ourselves and the people who visited us last year. This year we were honored to do it again and we're excited about it. It's a great way for us to connect and give back to the community as well."
A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE WAS ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEKEND AT THE LIFE ADVENTURE CENTER CAMP. ALTHOUGH THE BALLOON WAS TEATHERED TO THE GROUND THAT DIDN'T TAKE AWAY THE EXCITEMENT TO GO UP, UP, AND AWAY.