Friday, July 25, 2014

A Great Experience at NMFA Operation Purple Camp

Earlier this summer we had the chance to attend the National Military Family Association Operation Purple Camp. What an amazing experience. I would recommend if you're eligible to get your applications in now for upcoming Operation Purple Family Retreats and Operation Purple Healing Adventures. There is also Operation Purple Camp just for military kids.

The setting was Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. What an amazing place to spend every day for a week. The landscapes were just unbelievably breathtaking. The Teton Science Camp, where the camp took place, was lovely. The program was super well organized and the staff at all levels was top notch professional, friendly and kind. The lodging facilities were great too. Comfortable beds, nice rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Even more amazing is that the food at the camp was fantastic. You don't generally expect that any place that is feeding masses of people, particularly at a mountain camp. Everyone was full and happy after every meal and every meal pleased the crowds.

We saw all kinds of amazing animals including bison, moose, caribou, deer, antelope, bald eagles, beavers, sandhill cranes and so many more. We hiked, canoed, river rafted, watercolor painted in nature and did a service project in the national park too.

The best part of the camp was that we were grouped with two other families who had kids the same age as ours. This worked out so fantastically. The kids had an amazing fun time from the moment they met up in the morning until they were shipped off to bed every night. In fact they had so much fun that it was pretty tough to get them up at the 6:30 a.m. wake up call every morning. They needed more sleep.

Our three families were so compatible and we ended up making friendships that are so precious to us now. Because we don't live near any military families, thanks to Operation Purple Family Retreat we have close military family friends now. I really appreciate that! Amazing. Did not expect that to happen but what a gift.

It's was wonderful to have had time to talk and share and learn from each other's experiences. We also had the opportunity to participate in workshops put on by FOCUS (Families Overcoming Under Stress), which focused on resiliency, self and family care in the military family environment. It was great to get couples and families together to talk about such important issues that are a challenge to the military community at large.

Can I just take a moment to say if you are a military family who is struggling, there is so much help out there. Don't suffer in silence. You can contact me if you want and I will help you get connected with the right people. But please don't suffer in silence when things could be so much better.

It was tough to say goodbye and boy do we miss our friends! But I think we'll remember for a lifetime the great experiences we had at Operation Purple Family Retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Thanks National Military Family Association and everyone who has contributed to the success of this program.

If you're able, may I suggest a donation, big or small, to this great organization that is doing so much to strengthen the military families of the United States. These families have sacrificed a lot for our nation.