Military familyWhen one or both military parents are deployed, families are turned upside-down. Logistically, financially, emotionally – the challenges are sudden and dramatic.

Since 2003, an innovative program called Operation Summer Camp (OSC) has helped families meet some of those challenges by sending military kids to camp, tuition free. Coordinated by the American Camp Association (ACA), camps have donated camperships valued in aggregate at more than half a million dollars to send hundreds of boys and girls to camp for sessions of one to ten weeks. The program has so far worked primarily with the PA Air National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing, but families associated with other troops are welcome to apply for the available camp slots.

Unlike other week-long camp programs exclusively for military children (such as Operation Purple, run by the National Military Family Association), OSC matches a child with a campership at a traditional or specialty day or overnight camp, so the child can experience a typical camp program with non-military kids. One base commander said, “It allowed my daughter to feel like a regular kid. And we never could have sent her to camp without OSC.” A sergeant said, “Before camp, our nine-year old son was afraid to leave his mother’s side. He came home a different kid – now he wants to go back to camp and someday be a counselor. He’s not shy anymore. Camp changed his life.”

OSC relies on the generous donations of camps to make this program possible. Camps may donate one or more summer camp sessions of any length, for any gender or age. Have some extra space in a bunk?

Help a military child experience the gift of camp.

For 2022 we hope to offer the camp experience to many more children. We are told that there is a large deployment leaving Horsham in the coming months, and military famlies are looking for a safe and fun summer experience for their children while they are away serving our country. Camps of all types — day, residential, sports, arts, YMCA, and religiously affiliated are invited to participate. Many thanks to camps for their generous donations in the past. We welcome new camps to OSC. We hope you’ll consider donating to support military families.

If you are intersted in donating, contact Barbara Dohner at the email below. 

We regret that for a variety of reasons, such as geography, transportation, family schedules, or parental inexperience with camp, some donated slots go unfilled each year. We do try very hard to match children from the 111th Fighter Wing or other troops with each slot, but please understand that some decisions are beyond our control. Every campership donation is greatly appreciated, and we’ll do our best to fill it!

Thanks in advance for considering a campership donation for summer 2021. Please try to make your donation before April 1, so that we can help military families make summer plans. Donations will be accepted at any time, but as we meet with 111th Wing families in early April, donations made before April 1 will be very helpful.

If you have questions or would like to donate, please contact Barbara Dohner at babsdohner@gmail.com. Thank you!