Creating a community support network...for children and youth whose parents are deployed.

When National Guard, Army Reserve and other military parents living in civilian communities are mobilized, their children suddenly become different. Now they are "military kids" but they still "look the same" to teachers, friends and the rest of the community. Their lives are turned upside down!

Many of their usual support systems may no longer be adequate. Extensive media coverage of on-going military operations creates daily anxiety. These "new" military kids need to connect with other youth in similar situations. They seek friends and adults who can empathize and can help them cope with their new world.

State and County Cooperative Extension staff, community agencies, schools, and 4-H Club youth are reaching out to military youth ... Before, During and After their parents are deployed. This outreach effort is called Operation: Military Kids!

Operation: Military Kids

  • Creates community support network for military youth "in our own backyard" when Soldier parents are deployed.
  • Delivers recreation, social and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities.
  • Supports military kids coping with the stress of knowing their deployed parents may be in harm's way.
  • Collaborates with schools to ensure that staff are attuned to the unique needs of military students.
  • Educates the public on the impact of the deployment cycle on Soldiers, families, kids and the community as a whole.
  • Becomes a part of the ongoing 4-H Program in the locations where there are military families.


To support the social, emotional, and academic needs of National Guard children and youth.

National Guard Child and Youth Programs Strategic Plan

The National Guard Child and Youth Programs strategic plans include seventeen areas of focus. Each of the seven Regional Youth Coordinators maintains state support and program-wide responsibilities.

Awards and Recognition Provide local, state, and national programs to recognize outstanding child and youth services.
Child Care Provide quality childcare that is affordable, accessible, and accredited to families of National Guard service members.
Command Support Reinforce and encourage command support for child and youth initiatives.
Curriculum Develop curriculum for all pertinent stakeholders that meets the unique needs of National Guard children and youth.
CYS Initiatives Promote Army CYS initiatives to National Guard families, children and youth.
Educational Support Research, create and implement pertinent educational materials and resources that will aid stakeholders in their understanding and support of child and youth issues.
Faith-based Initiatives Foster faith-based relationships in support of National Guard children and youth.
Marketing Utilize marketing methods to support National Guard child and youth programming.
Partnerships Initiate new partnerships in the support of National Guard Children and Youth
Research Use research findings to support and develop National Guard children and youth programs.
Resources Facilitate access to all available resources for the children and youth of National Guard service members.
Retention Utilize child and youth programs as an effective tool for retention.
Service Learning Utilize school clubs to support the social, emotional and academic needs of National Guard children and youth.
State Support Support the development of effective youth programming in each state and territory.
Technology Promote technology-based solutions and maximize child and youth initiatives through technological innovation.
Training Maximize training opportunities and enhance current training initiatives for National Guard children and youth and their advocates.
Youth Camps Provide standards, curriculum, and assessment for state youth camps.

"America Supports You," a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense, recognizes citizens' support for our military men and women and communicates that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.

All across America, thousands of individual citizens, businesses, and groups - from local schools and establishments to nationally-known corporations and organizations - are hosting events and undertaking projects to support America's Armed Forces, especially in forward-deployed areas of the Global War on Terrorism.

The support of the American people builds and sustains the morale of those fighting to defend freedom against the tyranny of terrorism, and communicates America's recognition and appreciation of their courage and commitment to our country.

America Supports You spotlights what Americans are doing all across the land, encourages others to join the team, and allows all to tell their stories by giving voice and visibility to their efforts.