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Applications to attend a free summer camp in Europe are available at Army youth centers and Army Community Service offices for children of deployed servicemembers.

Dubbed Operation Purple Camp, the program, which is funded by the National Military Family Association, offers middle and high school students a weeklong retreat that is structured to help them cope with lengthy deployments, according to an Army news release. The parent’s branch of service does not matter.

“There has to be that ‘purple’ flavor for every camp,” Sandy Hill, a child and youth services specialist for the Installation Management Agency-Europe, said of the mix of services.

The camps are for kids who have a parent deployed, about to be deployed or just returned. Priority will be given to those youths who currently have a parent downrange, followed by those who have just welcomed their parent home, Hill said.

Launched last year, the camp hosted nearly 1,000 children at 12 stateside camps last year. The program has since been extended to Europe, where there are two sessions this summer at each of the two locations: Garmisch, Germany, and Camp Darby, Italy. Each of the four sessions can accommodate up to 72 youths.

“We have had a very high level of interest” in the program, Hill said.

Middle school students who are selected will attend one of two sessions in Italy: July 17-23 or July 24-30. High school students get their chance the following month, with sessions Aug. 21-27 and Aug. 28-Sept. 3.

The deadline for applications is May 15. The mailing address is: USA IMA-E/ATTN: IMEU-MWD-C, Unit 29353, Box 200, APO AE 09014. Applicants can also fax forms to (+49) (0)6221-57-8491, or e-mail them to purple@ima-e.army.mil.

Further information is available through youth centers or ACS offices, or on the Internet.


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