Alabama became an OMK state in 2008, and seeks to offer services and support to the youth of our deployed and returning military personnel.
OMK strives to provide a Hero Pack to each child of a deploying parent or guardian at the time of deployment. These packs contain books, journals, a cuddly stuffed animal, and other items for the child based on his/her age. Companies donate items for these packs in recognition that “kids also serve”.
Alabama OMK partners include the State of Alabama Board of Education, the Office of the Governor of Alabama, Alabama National Guard, the American Legion, Alabama Childcare Resource Network, The Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Hospital of Birmingham, the School of Nursing for the University of Alabama, Army Reserve Child and Youth Services, Delta Company of Auburn University Navy ROTC, and Alabama 4-H.
Connecticut is proud to be an Operation: Military Kids (OMK) State! It is important for us to reach out to all military children throughout the state of Connecticut.
To bring awareness to the state of Connecticut about the military community that resides within it.
To bring civilian and military communities together in a unified effort to support military children socially, emotionally, physically, and academically statewide.
Our State Team Members!
UConn Cooperative Extension System
2-1-1 Child Care
American Legion Auxiliary Department of Connecticut
American Red Cross
Army Reserve Child and Youth Services
Coast Guard Academy Child Development Center
Connecticut 4-H Program
Connecticut State Department of Education
Joint Family Support Assistance Program
National Guard Family and Youth Programs
Navy Submarine Base NLON Child and Youth Program.
Operation: Military Kids (OMK) in Florida reaches out to youth with a deployed military family member through a variety of ways. OMK state and community partners are proud to provide support to Florida citizens and communities addressing the issues facing military families.
Through state and local partnerships involving UF Extension 4-H Youth Development Programs, National Guard, Army Reserves, Tyndall and MacDill Air Force Bases, Veterans Affairs, American Legion, Boys and Girls Clubs, local school districts, and numerous Community Civic Groups, we are able to extend a helping hand as well as an educational arm in helping Floridians learn about the issues facing a military child faced with an absentee parent through deployment.
Operation: Military Kids in Georgia reaches out to youth with a deployed family member through a variety of events and activities. Each summer, Georgia Operation: Military Kids partners with the Georgia National Guard to deliver a special week of 4-H Summer Camp with National Guard youth and military youth experiencing deployment.
Hero Packs assembled by 4-H members and other community organizations are distributed to youth when their parent is deployed. Military families can request a Georgia Hero Pack from the Georgia OMK website, request one through one of the fourteen Family Assistance Centers around the state or receive them at multiple events and activities sponsored by Georgia OMK.
The SOMK Ambassadors in the state of Georgia discuss the pressures and stresses of military youth and their families, covering every region of the state. Military and non-military youth and adults come together to learn about these issues and then return to their counties to spread information and support for these families. These activities help youth to make connections with others, build skills, and find positive meaning in their situation.
OMK partners include the Colleges of Agriculture and Environmental Science and Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia, Georgia 4-H, Georgia National Guard, Army Reserve, American Legion, Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Georgia Public Schools.
Idaho’s Operation: Military Kids program is part of a national USDA/Army youth development initiative that encourages community partnerships to offer support, training and recognition for the suddenly military children of deployed Guard and Reserve personnel.
A Statewide Steering Committee works as a team and includes military Family Assistance staff, 4-H and Extension staff, community volunteers and youth.
The team plans activities to help youth learn targeted life skills and community members learn the unique stresses and challenges that Guard and Reserve families face in times of conflict and war.
Activities include distributing Hero Packs to children and youth, providing scholarships to teen leadership conferences, hosting youth overnight retreats, sponsoring training in public speaking (Speak Out for Military Kids/SOMK), providing babysitting and photography classes, hosting a teem/adult winter survival camp, and hosting a Military Family Camp.
Maine Operation Military Kids builds communication networks and trusting relationships between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, military families and youth, youth leaders, schools, veterans, and community organizations.
The OMK partnership team includes representatives of: American Legion, Department of Education, After School Network, 4-H, Maine Parent Federation, and Boys & Girls Clubs which will strive to provide positive youth development programs and community based support for children and families impacted by the increased mobilization and deployment of troops to fight in the Global War on Terrorism. Ready, Set, Go and Speak Out for Military Kids trainings, Hero Packs, the Mobile Tech Lab and other events, presentations, activities and opportunities to help youth to feel self-confident and supported.
Specific projects to support military youth in Massachusetts include:
- Presenting free Ready, Set, Go! Workshops around the state to increase awareness of the impact of deployment on military youth and families.
- Serving as guest speakers at meetings throughout the state.
- Organizing and training teams of teens to Speak Out for Military Kids at school and local events along with working with local cable access to develop PSA’s.
- Packing and delivering Hero Packs to military youth to show our appreciation for their sacrifices. Youth and civic groups are encouraged to participate in writing letters and collecting items for the Hero Packs which are delivered to military youth through events such as youth deployment days, Family Readiness Group meetings, and school presentations.
- Providing support to local and state OMK partners such as the Boys & Girls Club and Family Readiness Groups to provide a variety of activities for youth across the state of Massachusetts from the Berkshires to the Cape.
- Running local OMK Networks to do this work in their own communities and build the local capacity for supporting military youth.
- Offering free trainings and materials to community members to support military youth and family activities.
If you would like to get involved, please use the contact information provided. The University of Massachusetts 4-H Program is coordinating OMK in Massachusetts and is seeking local partners to bring this effort into every community in the Commonwealth. We can never have too many hands!
Michigan State University Extension – 4-H Youth Development has launched the Operation: Military Kids (OMK)program. Michigan OMK mission is to build community partnerships to increase capacity for youth, families and communities to support youth of military families.
We are reaching out to youth and military families through educational programming such as:
- Ready, Set, Go! training to build community awareness, support and capacity
- Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK) youth speaker bureau
- We support our military youth with Hero Packs, filled with fun items to help keep youth connected to their deployed loved one
- Mobile Tech Lab (MTL), connects deployed parents to families
- Events that recognize and appreciate our military youth such as Military Child Appreciation Day and Month of the Military Child events as well as summer camping opportunities
OMK is a partnership of Army Child and Youth Services, and USDA National 4-H Headquarters and Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. Our effort is to build community partnerships and helping engage youth in making vital connections, with similar youth, adults, and volunteers in order to help promote leadership, stress management, coping skills, and resiliency through tough deployment cycles. If you want to know how you can get involved by volunteering, becoming part of the state OMK StateTeam and or helping expand upon positive youth development through Operation Military Kids throughout the state of Michigan please contact us!
While men and woman are fighting for the freedom we get to live with everyday, the families of the deployed need a support network. Montana is striving to build military youth support in the communities stretched out over Montana’s 56 counties. Providing support to families dealing with the deployment of their loved ones overseas is crucial. The mobilization and deployment are at record highs, Operation Military Kids of Montana wants to reach out and provide opportunities and resources to these families.
The program goals are:
- Create community support and involvement for youth when a soldier is deployed,
- Military kids that are coping with stress will obtain support to deal with the deployment,
- Have recreational, social, and educational programs available for military youth in all communities,
- Education programs for the public to become more aware but also an opportunity for them to give back to a soldier through their family and kids,
- The prospect for the military family to become involved in many of the ongoing national and Montana Partner Programs: Montana 4-H, National Guard, Reserves, Boys & Girls Club of America, The American Legion, American Red Cross of America,
- Create a support network of adults, youth, and organizations, reaching out to dispersed youth across our large state.
“I made new friends, learned new things, and I got many chances to help people out.”
– Quote from youth in program
Through Summer Camps, Hero Packs, and Speak Out for Military Kids, we are connecting/integrating military youth in 4-H and other programs that help build skills and provide a sense of belonging with their peers before, during and after the deployment of a loved one. With Ready, Set, Go! Training we are educating all school counselors in Nevada to better equip them to understand and deal with the issues that arise in the lives of youth and their families during the deployment cycle. (See description below.)
“I can be myself and I will look back on this experience the rest of my life.”
– Quote from youth in program
Nevada OMK focuses on fostering local community connections for military families, and builds on the strengths of its partners. Nevada’s OMK Team is supported by Nevada 4-H Youth Development, Nellis Air Force Base Youth Programs, U.S. Army Child and Youth Services, Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserves, Boys & Girls Clubs, American Legion, Military Child Education Coalition, Nevada Department of Education, and youth from military and non-military families.
We currently have a 12 member statewide management team that oversees our OMK programs:
- Summer Camps
- Speak Out for Military Kids
- Mobile Technology Lab
- Ready, Set, Go! Training
- Youth Activities
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.
Operation: Military Kids thanks the New Jersey kids that have been affected through recent troop deployment in service to our country. We are proud of YOU! And salute your sacrifice. Helping kids feel connected, active and supported are the goals of New Jersey Operation: Military Kids.
New Jersey Operation: Military Kids provides support for military kids through the following elements:
- Hero Packs
- Hero Packs are given to military kids who have a loved one deployed to thank them for their service and courage. The packs are distributed at various events, including briefings, holiday parties and other youth activities.
- 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. SOMK participants are available to speak at various events, including school functions, scout meetings, Legion Conventions and more.
- Mobile Technology Lab (MTL)
- The MTL is a lab that travels the state and is available at events for military kids to stay connected to their deployed loved one. The MTL is can be used in a variety of ways, including to create Zoom Albums, SOMK presentations, greeting cards and more.
- Youth Activities
- OMK holds many youth activities throughout the year to provide support for military kids. You can find OMK holding day camps and workshops, as well as at FRG meetings, holiday parties and military family days. Activities may include using the MTL, making crafts, playing games, going fishing and a variety of other activities that allow kids to grow and learn.
- 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 ways that they can help support military youth.
The New Jersey Operation: Military Kids State Team includes partners from the Rutgers University, the National Guard and Family Assistance Centers, the American Legion, 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, the New Jersey Department of Education, and the Army Reserves. This team works together to provide support and resources throughout the state for military kids.
Our mission is to support National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty Service Members’ children living in our own backyards by increasing community awareness of issues faced before, during and after deployment through education; and by creating a network of services and resources available locally for affected military kids.
As the military deployments continue, it is becoming increasingly apparent that New York needs to reach out and support our Military Families of Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve.
New York State is home to three Active Duty Army installations – Ft. Drum, West Point, and Ft. Hamilton. Ft. Drum houses the 10th Mountain Division with 5 brigades (19,000 Soldiers) and is the most deployed Army Division in the country. In addition to the constant state of deployment at Ft. Drum, most Soldiers and their Families reside beyond the gates in communities that are often as far as 70 miles from the installation – away from the key Military Family supports.
Furthermore, there are over 15,000 geographically dispersed National Guard and Reserve Soldiers in New York State – living in our backyards, not on military installations. More often than not they live where they do not have easy access to an Active Duty installation. Compounding the deployment issues there are financial losses being incurred, military services not easily accessible, and schools not prepared for the “out of norm” student stressors (i.e., safety of a parent, parent unable to attend a special event). There is a general lack of community awareness and support, too much war dramatization by the media, and child care is not always available or does not meet the needs of the family. Consequently, NYS National Guard’s Adjutant General has identified the need to provide geographically dispersed Military Families with meaningful, comprehensive and effective family readiness and care before, during and after deployment.
Through the work of the NYS OMK State Team Partners: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Army and Army Reserve Child Youth & School Services programs, NY National Guard, the US Military Academy at West Point, Ft. Hamilton, and Ft. Drum Army Community Services programs, the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, Joint Forces Support Assistance Program (JFSAP) team, the National Association of Child Care Reference & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), and the Ft. Drum USO, NYS OMK implements the four core program support elements (Ready, Set Go! Training, Hero Packs, Speak Out for Military Kids, Mobile Technology Lab) of Operation: Military Kids. These elements prepare communities to effectively assist Military Families before, during and after deployment. We also provide babysitting courses, assist with Jr Deployment and Jr Reunion briefings, Yellow Ribbon events, and other events as requested.
April is the “Month of the Military Child.” More than 1.7 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military. This month is a perfect time to recognize their sacrifices and applaud their courage.
“Supporting Military Families In Our Own Backyard”
New Mexico Operation: Military Kids has just completed our first year as an active OMK state. It has been a busy year full of many sucesses. If you have not got involved in OMK, now is the time to do so! We have a full year of support ahead to offer to our Military Youth as deployments approach. Our corporate report in available to partners at their request.
Welcome to the North Carolina 4-H Operation: Military Kids State Website. North Carolina 4-H provides quality education experiences for youth utilizing a network of volunteers, members and professional staff. Through expanded collaborations, NC/OMK will:
- Continue to provide training programs to enable youth and adults to “Speak Out for Military Kids” and increase community awareness/understanding,
- Provide “Ready, Set, Go!” trainings to offer insight into military culture and deployment cycles and suggest ways to understand the needs, and
- Develop educational programs that will build support and extend networks to address the needs of geographically isolated military youth. North Carolina’s Operation: Military Kids program (NC/OMK) works with military and non-military groups to develop a support network for families and youth of deployed soldiers impacted by the Global War on Terrorism.
Major initiatives for the project include:
- assembling and distributing Hero Packs to military youth;
- training youth advocates through the Speak Out for Military Kids Project;
- connecting children and youth with deployed soldiers through the Mobile Technology Lab (MTL), a suite of 15 laptop computers, DVD burners, digital and video cameras; (4) building support for Military Families in all 100 NC counties North Carolina’s OMK partners include NC 4-H, Army Reserve, National Guard, Community in Schools, American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, educators and other community organizations and individuals.
Our website is under construction and currently contains minimal info regarding Operation Military Kids. However, North Carolina 4-H web site is http://www.nc4h.org and the OMK placeholder is now at http://www.nc4h.org/military/index.html
North Dakota OMK Mission Statement:
To support youth of North Dakota military families from all branches of service through collaboration with community partners during all stages of deployment including peacetime.
South Carolina’s Operation: Military Kids program supports families and youth of military personnel, emphasizing reaching out to families of deployed Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers. SC OMK is providing positive youth development programming for the youth and helping mobilize communities to support families of deployed military members. We are reaching the kids through Speak Out for Military Kids, Hero Packs and the Mobile Technology Lab. We have built a strong coalition with various agencies and volunteer groups across the state. The coalition consists of 4-H (both state and local), Boys and Girls Clubs, Army, Air Force and Navy Reserves, American Legion, schools, military installations, and more.
The Rhode Island National Guard’s Family Assistance Center is located at The Rhode Island National Guard Armory at 1051 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904. Contact information for Family Program personnel are listed below. The RI National Guard’s Family program and the Family Assistance Center provides services for all branches of Military service.
The goal of the South Dakota chapter of Operation Military Kids (OMK) is to support the children and youth who have a parent or parents who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. The South Dakota OMK state team has four main goals:
To raise awareness of military kids,
To build community capacity to deliver outreach services,
To implement outreach support services, and
To provide OMK Ready, Set, Go! Training to educators and outreach groups who will come into contact with military kids.
We would also like to recognize our OMK partners in South Dakota:
U.S. Army Children and Youth Services (Active and Reserve Components) and Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Services (CSREES)
4-H * Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA)
Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
The American Legion
South Dakota Department of Education
The Global War on Terrorism affects us all worldwide, including military families living in the state of Tennessee. Operation: Military Kids of Tennessee proudly extends various events, activities and opportunities to Tennessee-based military families, especially their kids. Check the Calendar for latest dates and times, and locations of Events and Activities.
National Guard and Reserve
When National Guard, Army and Air Force Reserve, and other military parents living in civilian communities are mobilized, the lives of their children become different. They still look the same to teachers, friends, and the rest of the community, but they are coping with changes in their lives, and their families may not be sure how to access support services of the military.
Operation: Military Kids (OMK)
The mission of Operation: Military Kids is to support deployed National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Duty Soldiers’ children living in communities across the country by:
- Creating networks of people, organizations and other resources to support
military children and youth where they live.
- Delivering a wide range of recreational, social, and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities.
- Acknowledging the strengths and sacrifices of military kids as everyday home front heroes.
- Supporting military kids coping with stress of knowing their deployed parents may be in harm’s way.
- Educating the public on the impact of the deployment cycle on Soldiers, kids, and the community as a whole.
U.S. Military and 4-H Join Forces to Support Youth and Families
Currently, 4-H clubs on Army and Air Force installations in the U.S. and around the world support over 16,000 youth who are involved in recreational, social, and educational programs.
Washington State Operation: Military Kids reaches geographically dispersed youth of National Guard and Reserves in four different ways. Through Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK), Hero Packs, the Mobile Technology Lab (MTL) and Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Training. The focus in the early going has been on the RSG! training and program development at the local level into which we try to incorporate the MTL, SOMK and Hero Packs as appropriate.
Our OMK Team consists of 4-H, National Guard and Staff from other branches of the service. Involving the active military is important for our state. We have major Army, Air Force and Navy installations. Washington OMK is able to work with the installations to leverage programs and gain access to facilities they have.
What is the West Virginia Operation: Military Kids Program?
West Virginia’s OMK program is a collaborative effort to provide support to military children in our communities that have been impacted by deployment and the Global War on Terror. We work to ensure that an effort is made to create a smooth transition through the deployment process by offering fun, social, and educational experiences to military children.
West Virginia OMK supports deployed National Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty Soldiers’ children living in communities across our state by:
- Helping to create networks of people, organizations, and other resources to help support military children
- Helping children better understand and cope with military life, family member deployment and reintegration, as well as the unique challenges facing their families
- Offering a wide array of recreational, social, and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities
- Educate and increase community awareness of the impact of the deployment cycle on soldiers, families, kids, and the community as a whole
Major Components of WV OMK:
Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK): SOMK is a youth-led, adult facilitated program that helps increase community awareness of the challenges faced by military youth and their families. The participants include both military and non-military youth who work together to develop presentations, public service announcements, videos, and other materials to share with communities across the state.
Mobile Technology Lab (MTL): The labs are used to facilitate and maintain connections between deployed service members and their children. The lab contains laptop computers, digital and video cameras, printer, scanner, and software to help children and youth send personal messages to their loved ones. The lab can be requested and used by any OMK partner.
Hero Packs: Hero Packs serve as an expression of support towards military families from their communities and OMK partners. Hero Packs are backpacks filled by non-military youth with items designed to help kids connect with their deployed parent and help find positive meaning in their situation.
Ready, Set, Go! Training (RSG): Trained facilitators deliver workshops designed to develop local support networks of youth workers, educators, counselors, and community service agencies. The training offers an insight into military culture and the deployment cycle and suggests way to understand the needs of and provide support to military kids and their families through community resources.
OMK in Wyoming has grown to be a huge project, as well as a huge success. We have lots of plans for the coming year, including an OMK sponsored Purple Camp, Teen retreats, and lots of awareness events.
Check Out Some Of Our Other Great OMK Content Below: