What is NH OMK?
When National Guard, Reserve, and other military families living in civilian communities become mobilized, their children experience the stress of being a military kid. These children have unique needs for special support and services, even though they still “look the same” to their friends and community. University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development partners with all branches of the military (to include the JFSAP-Joint Family Support Assistance Program office), American Legion, Red Cross, schools, the spiritual community, YMCA, Community Recreation Centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, PlusTime NH, and other youth and family organizations to form the outreach effort called Operation: Military Kids (OMK).
Goals of NH OMK:
- OMK collaborates with groups across the state to provide sustainable local support services to military youth before, during, and after their family members are deployed.
- OMK creates networks of support for the military children and connects them with other military and non-military youth through a variety of recreational, social and educational programs.
- OMK works to raise community awareness and foster understanding about the impact of the deployment cycle on the military member, family, child and larger community.
- OMK organizations act as resources for military children/families for things like summer camps, after school programs, youth councils, and more.
NH OMK Program Components:
Ready Set Go!
Ready Set Go! is an OMK training program that can be requested by any group. It is designed to offer insight into military culture, the deployment cycle and suggest ways to understand and meet the needs of military kids. This learning opportunity stimulates increased local support to these children and their families by providing participants an occasion to network and bring community resources together.
Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK)
The SOMK“speak out”program is a youth-led, adult supported activity that seeks to give voice to, and educate others about what it is like to be a military kid. Military and non-military youth join to form a “Speak Out Team.” Then, using assorted means and media (i.e. interviews, written articles, poster boards, photography or DVD productions), the team creates a project which tells their story, and is shared at various youth and/or adult activity events, camps and organization meetings.
Mobile Technology Lab (MTL)
The MTL contains video/digital cameras, laptops, scanners, printers, etc., and can be signed out by organizations for use with projects, trainings and other events. It is also a way for military kids to send pictures and DVD’s from OMK camps, after school programs, and school events to family members who are deployed.
Youth Focused Programs
Youth focused programs encompass a variety of different types of OMK events for military kids and their families across New Hampshire. These programs provide opportunities for military families to get together, have fun, and offer support to one another in an informal environment.
Hero Packs are backpacks filled with different items to thank children for the sacrifices their families have made and to help them keep in touch with their deployed love ones.