Military families can tap into terrific programs and services – from extensive digital libraries to teen camps to resources that make moves easier. Take a look at these top resources for helping your military kids grow strong, make friends and enjoy the adventure side of military life.
Military Teen Adventure Camps: With this program from the Department of Defense, teens ages 14 to 18 can enjoy some amazing adventure camps held in partnership with universities around the country.
- Camps include high-energy, high-experience excursions like sailing, kayaking, caving and survival skills.
- Camps are offered in the summer and winter at little to no cost.
- Leadership and resiliency events are also offered.
Deployment support camps and resources
Operation Purple camps give military children a safe place to learn to cope with the emotions and reality of deployment. Operation Purple campers get to take a break from the stressors leading up to, during or following deployment by spending a fun-filled week with other military kids in the same situation.
A variety of camps may be available near you, including camps specifically for military teens or retreats for the entire family. For availability and more information, visit the National Military Family Association website.
Meanwhile, Military Kids Connect® offers a safe place online where military kids of all age groups can share experiences and talk about what it's like to be in a military family. You'll find:
- Social messaging platforms and topic boards
- Age-appropriate games
- Interactive world maps
- Videos of teens giving tours of their installations (streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks)
- There's also a section for parents
To learn more, visit our page on Military Kids Connect.
Installation Youth Centers
Installation Youth Centers offer dynamic programs for youth ages 5 through 18 years in 300 facilities worldwide. Be prepared for a new experience, as each youth center varies. Facilities can offer:
- Computer labs and game rooms
- Special field trips
- Gymnasiums and fitness rooms
- Music rooms
- Volunteer and employment listings
All programs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by a national accrediting body. To find a program on your installation, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and look for Youth Programs/Centers.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Partnership
Since 1991, the military services have worked it so kids from 6 to 18 can participate in Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which offer enriching, active and entertaining programs in youth centers and clubs around the country.
- On installation: Youth centers on installations worldwide are affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs. They offer many of the same programs as traditional clubs.
- Off installation: The collaboration allows active-duty, National Guard and reserve children to attend a local Boys & Girls Club free. Check out Mission Youth Outreach for more information.
All Boys & Girls Clubs are staffed by trained professionals. For more information, call 800-854-CLUB (2582).
4-H Military Partnership
Military youth can join 4-H clubs in their community, and they can also participate in summer camps around the country. Visit the 4-H Military Partnerships website to learn more.
A mentor is an adult your child trusts, admires and respects who provides informal support and guidance and is actively involved in your child's life. A mentor is not a babysitter, therapist or substitute parent. For mentorship programs, visit:
- Your installation youth program for programs available on your installation
- The National Mentoring Partnership
- International Telementor Program
- Find out if the Foster Grandparents program serves your community. To learn more, visit the Corporation for National & Community Service website.
Do your homework. Make sure the program conducts background checks, requires training and ask to see licenses.
Children and youth behavioral military and family life
Child and youth behavioral military and family life counselors understand the issues military children face and can provide personalized support. The programs and services offered vary from one installation to another, so it's best to check with your installation's youth programs/centers directly to discover the options available.
Call or visit Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 if you have questions about resources to enhance your family’s life. We are here for you 24/7.