The children of military families generally face upbringings much different than most, and children of a parent serving in the Montana National Guard often find they are even less connected to other military families.
Now the children of Montana National Guard members can attend Camp Rotary, near Great Falls, where they meet other military kids and learn they’re not alone, ABC Fox Montana reported last month.
Camp Rotary is a completely free four-day camp for military kids, according to the report, and is targeted for those who have parents currently deployed or who recently came home.
“What we’ve got to understand is that the military is much bigger than just a soldier or an airman,” explained Brigadier Gen. Jeff Ireland. “The family plays a huge part in our success, and many times it’s the kids that get left out.”
Camp Rotary is designed to help military children cope with parental deployments that are a part of service life, and has a main goal to let them know they are not alone.
“They might be the only person or child in their community that’s experiencing a deployment; because these kids don’t live on base,” explained Jodyann Burnham, Camp Rotary’s Lead Child and Youth Program coordinator. “They live in our communities; and so this camp has been so invaluable for them to see their not the only ones going through what they’re going through. And for many, this is one of the biggest problems they face,” she added.
Military children often are forced to grow up fast, making some deployments even harder. The counselors at Camp Rotary use their life experience to help the younger kids learn how to deal with a parent’s deployment.
“I love working with them,” said Brynn Mortingeau, a camp counselor. “It’s honestly one of the best parts of my job I’d say as a teen council member and supporting those kids is also one of my favorite things.”
Sustaining that enthusiasm, according to the ABC Fox report, is a primary goal of Camp Rotary. The camp brings Montana National Guard military children together to help teach them life lessons they can then pass along to the next generation of military kids.
Photo courtesy Camp Rotary