Operation Purple: Where Military Children Find Comfort and Support

Article courtesy of our guest blogger Joyce Wessel Raezer

Deployment. It’s a term that makes many military families cringe. It’s a term that often brings thoughts of sadness, emotional distress and many moments of loneliness. And frankly, no matter how much support is given for those deployed and their families – nobody fully understands what deployment feels like unless they’ve been through it. For children, it’s a world that often can’t be fully expressed through their words, but rather in sharing moments with others that make them realize they are not alone.

Children need and deserve an opportunity to get away from the stressors that deployment brings them. That’s why the National Military Family Association created Operation Purple® Camp. Spending a week in, as the military calls it, a “purple” environment, helps military kids learn they are not alone in these lifestyle struggles.

Operation Purple camp offers military kids a time to get away and be kids in a stress free environment. Campers ride horses, climb towers, plummet down water slides, and more in a “purple” environment. The very name of the game is to bring kids of all ranks and services, including reserve and guard components, together to enjoy a very special week of camp. This experience is unmatched by any other programs currently serving military kids.

All military kids experiencing deployment would benefit from this amazing experience and are encouraged to have their parents apply now! The application is available online for only four weeks, beginning February 4 and closing out March 4 of this year. If you’d like more information about Operation Purple Camp, visit the National Military Family Association’s website at


Find the best resources for family support – Parenting Resources, Special Needs Family Resources, Charities Supporting Military Kids, and more – all on!


Joyce Wessel Raezer

Executive Director

National Military Family Association

Joyce became the Executive Director of the National Military Family Association in 2007 after serving at various staff positions in the Government Relations Department since 1995. She guides the management of the Association’s programs and initiatives that serve the families of the seven Uniformed Services and that promote improvements in their quality of life. Joyce has represented military families on several committees and task forces for offices and agencies of the Department of Defense (DoD) and military Services. She served on the first national Board of Directors for the Military Child Education Coalition. In 2004, she authored a chapter on “Transforming Support to Military Families and Communities” in a book published by the MIT Press, Filling the Ranks: Transforming the U.S. Military Personnel System. A Maryland native, Joyce earned a B.A. in History from Gettysburg College, and a M.A. in History from the University of Virginia. An Army spouse and mother of two children, she has lived in the Washington, D.C. area (4 tours), Virginia, Kentucky, and California. She is a former teacher and served on the Fort Knox Community Schools Board of Education from 1993 to 1995.