The National Military Family Association (NMFA) and Sears, Roebuck and Co. today announced the sites for the 2005 Operation Purple Summer Camps. The camps provide unique experiences to more than 2,000 children whose parents are deployed in the U.S. Armed Forces. The 22 Operation Purple Camps provide children from U.S. military families with fun and memorable opportunities to learn new skills for coping with deployment-related stress. The camps are funded through the Sears American Dream Campaign, a $100 million commitment to strengthen families, homes and communities.
Operation Purple is the only summer camp program that focuses on helping kids deal with deployment-related issues and is open to children of personnel from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces ("purple" is a military term representing inclusion of all branches). Applications for the camps will be available April 15 through May 15 on the NMFA web site at http://www.nmfa.org/ . Sears, Roebuck's funding enables children to attend the camps at no charge.
NMFA developed Operation Purple camps last year in response to the need for increased support services benefiting children of men and women serving in the Armed Forces, especially those whose parents are or will be deployed. With funding from Sears, Roebuck in 2004, NMFA conducted 12 camps reaching nearly 1,000 young people. This year, the program has expanded to host more than 2,000 kids. NMFA estimates that more than 135,000 children are experiencing the absence of a parent due to a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. This statistic does not include children who have parents deployed elsewhere around the world.
"Operation Purple Summer Camps fulfill a critical need in the military community," says Candace Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer of NMFA. "We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support and gratitude we've received from children, parents, the Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau and Members of Congress. We are thrilled to be able to expand the program this year."
"Sears prides itself on serving the needs of homes and families, and our affiliation with the NMFA provides advocacy programs for the families of men and women actively serving in our armed forces," said Alan J. Lacy, vice chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Corporation. "Our support of the summer camps enables a fabulous developmental experience for thousands of children and enriches the lives of their families."
One in four American children will grow up to serve in the military or marry a servicemember, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center, making an investment in today's military kids important for positively affecting tomorrow's military community.
Operation Purple Camp Details
The camps, which last from five to seven days, give kids ages eight to 18 an exciting and memorable camp experience, providing tools to help them deal with the stress resulting from a parent's deployment. Each camp is joint and "purple" -- encompassing all service branches, including the National Guard and Reserve -- and offered free of charge to all participants.
Interested children from military families are encouraged to apply for the camp located nearest their home. More than 30 weeks of Operation Purple camps are offered in 18 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah), three international locations (Germany, Italy and Japan) and one unincorporated U.S. territory (Guam). A list of camp dates, sites and other information is now available on NMFA's web site. Applications will be available on April 15.
The National Military Family Association, a nonprofit organization, is the only national organization whose sole focus is the military family and whose goal is to influence the development and implementation of policies that will improve the lives of those family members. The association's mission is to serve the families of the seven uniformed services through education, information and advocacy. For more than 35 years its staff and volunteers, comprised mostly of military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues.
About Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Sears, Roebuck has a long tradition of support for the men and women of the armed forces and their families dating back to 1916. Today, for qualified Sears, Roebuck employees activated for duty through the National Guard or Reserves, the company pays the difference between the soldiers' Sears, Roebuck salary and military pay and offers extended employment benefits for up to 60 months. Since 2003, Sears, Roebuck has provided NMFA with more than $2 million to address the unique challenges faced by military families.
Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,400 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 14 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at http://www.sears.com/ or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at http://www.searsholdings.com/ .
SOURCE: National Military Family Association; Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CONTACT: Media Contacts, for NMFA, Michelle Joyner, +1-703-931-6632,
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