Oklahoma’s National Guard and Reserve personnel are facing some of the largest deployments our state has ever seen. This task can be daunting to service members as well as family left behind. The Guard and Reserve members are unique because they have many roles, one in a civilian career and another in a military specialty. But, what happens to the children and family when suddenly these every day people (military members) are called up to serve? Their children are now “military kids”. Before they were just any other kid; however, they still look the same to teachers, friends and the rest of the community. Their lives are turned upside down! Family dynamics have changed; many of their usual support systems may no longer be adequate because it’s hard to understand the unique issues they face. This is why an Operation: Military Kids Team was formed in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Operation: Military Kids accomplishes our mission of reaching and supporting military kids through the following elements:
1. Hero Packs
Hero Packs are given to military kids affected by deployment to acknowledge their sacrifice and involuntary service and proclaim them as a Hero! The packs can be requested from the project coordinator and distributed at deployment ceremonies, various events, day camps, retreats and other youth activities.
2. Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK)
SOMK is a speaker’s bureau where youth are given the opportunity to speak out about having a loved one deployed. Retreats are held throughout the year to train youth to speak out and to allow them to have fun with other military youth.
3. Mobile Technology Lab (MTL)
The MTL is a computer lab that travels the state and is available at events for military kids to stay connected to their deployed loved one. The MTL can be used in a variety of ways, including creating Zoom Albums (picture books), videos to email or DVDs to send to their deployed loved one, greeting cards and more.
4. Youth Activities
Oklahoma OMK holds many youth activities throughout the year to provide support for military kids. You can find Oklahoma OMK holding teambuilding retreats, workshops, military family days, and many others. Keep posted by viewing the Oklahoma calendar of events on this website.
5. Ready, Set, Go! Training
Professionals around the state go out to community groups, schools and conferences to help build awareness around the issues that military youth face. At these trainings participants learn about the deployment cycle, how kids are affected by deployment and discuss ways that we can help support military youth.