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Summer Camp Helps Children of Deployed Parents

Every summer at Operation Purple Camp in Colorado, more than half of the campers are children whose parents are deployed in military service. Spencer Michels visits the nurturing site for youth with special needs.

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  • MAN:

    You guys ready to sound off?

  • CHILDREN:

    Yes!

  • MAN:

    OK.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    This military mission has been dubbed Operation Purple. The deployed? Children age 10 to 17.

  • MAN:

    What kind of summer camp?

  • CHILDREN:

    What kind of summer camp?

  • MAN:

    Operation Purple camp.

  • CHILDREN:

    Operation Purple camp.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Operation Purple is a free weeklong summer camp for children whose military parents have been deployed. And as the number of deployments has escalated, so, too, has the number of campers and camp sites.

  • WOMAN:

    That's it. Perfect. Perfect.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    This camp in the woods 40 miles south of Denver, Colorado, is one of 62 sites in 37 states that will host 10,000 campers this summer.

  • PATTY BARRON, National Military Families Association:

    This is the first time in our nation's history where we have these multiple and extended deployments where the same families are being sent back over and over again.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Patty Barron, who oversees Operation Purple for the National Military Families Association, says the camp's popularity is driven by an immediate need.

  • PATTY BARRON:

    It's not unusual for a child to have been 4 years old when the war first started. Now we're five years into it. That's an 8-year-old child that for five years has had a parent gone for 33 months. That's a long time in a child's life.

  • WOMAN:

    Fiona, you ready?