Minnesota Operation: Military Kids
Operation: Military Kids thanks the 15,000 Minnesota youth who have been personally affected by recent troop deployment in service to our country. We are proud of YOU! We salute your sacrifice. Helping youth feel connected, active and supported are the goals of Minnesota Operation: Military Kids.
For more information about OMK, please visit the national OMK website and the Extension Family website. Minnesota Operation: Military Kids is a shared initiative of the U.S. Army Child Youth and School Services (CYS) and funded by the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
The Minnesota Operation: Military Kids state team includes partners from Minnesota 4-H, University of Minnesota Extension, National Guard, American Legion, Minnesota Department of Education, Army Reserves, U.S. Army Child, Youth and School Services, Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Military OneSource, Child Care Aware, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy Reserve, and U.S. Marine Reserve. This team works together to provide support and resources throughout the state for youth from military families.
Minnesota Operation: Military Kids provides support for youth from military families through the following elements:
Minnesota OMK has been an integral part of creating curricula that is used across the country and world. Curricula includes:
Hero Packs are given to youth from military families who have a loved one deploying to thank them for their service and courage. They are distributed at Family Prep Academies. Packs are handed out at events, not on an individual basis.
Comfort Pillows are given to military youth who have a loved one deployed to remind them that others are thinking of them and to provide them with some extra comfort. Pillows are made by non-military youth and are handed out at Family Reintegration Academies.
Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK)
SOMK is a speaker's bureau where youth are given the opportunity to speak about the experience of having a loved one deployed. Retreats are held throughout the year to train youth to speak, and to allow them to have fun with other military youth. SOMK participants are available to speak at various events, such as school functions, scout meetings, American Legion conventions.
Mobile Technology Lab (MTL)
The MTL travels the state and is available for events, enabling youth from military families to stay connected to their deployed loved one. The MTL can be used in a variety of ways, including to create Zoom Albums, SOMK presentations, greeting cards and more.
OMK holds many activities throughout the year to provide support for military kids, such as day camps and workshops, as well as at FRG meetings, holiday parties and military family days. Activities may include using the mobile technology lab, making crafts, playing games, going fishing and other activities that allow kids to grow and learn.
Ready, Set, Go! (Hidden Heroes) training
Professionals around the state visit community groups, schools and conferences to help build awareness of the issues that military youth face. At these trainings participants learn about the Emotional Cycle of Deployment, how kids are affected by deployment and ways that they can help support military youth.