La. National Guard youth participate in spring camp

By Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr
159th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

POLLOCK, La. – Approximately 90 Louisiana Army and Air National Guardsmen children attended the annual Operation: Military Kids Spring Camp Lagniappe at the 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, April 30 – May 1.

“Operation: Military Kids is a program operated by the LSU AgCenter and 4-H Youth Development partnered with the Department of Defense to give military youth around the state of Louisiana … an opportunity to socialize, meet each other and just have a fun time,” said Leslie Moran, OMK Program coordinator. “We do this because it really is all about the kids and bringing families together.”

Jennifer Binka, mother of four and wife of deployed Army Sgt. Robert Binka with the 389th Cavalry, was excited about bringing her kids to another OMK camp.

“This is an amazing organization for our kids,” said Binka. “Coming to camps like these keeps their minds off the deployment, and they get to meet other kids from different branches of the military who are going through the same thing.”

The camp included several activities such as archery, canoeing, rock-wall climbing and a marksmanship training and competition.

The children also helped maintain a garden on the campground and learned the basics of growing vegetables. During arts and crafts time, they decorated garden pavers in recognition of their military parents for the “Victory Garden”.

“This is my second time here, and I had so much fun,” said nine-year-old Seth Benton, son of Louisiana Guardsman Maj. Larry Benton. “My favorite part out of everything was canoeing.”

Army Maj. Lida Eichenauer, J1 personnel operations officer for the LANG, has been a volunteer for the last several years. She said she enjoys coming out every time and participating in the traditional activities with the kids.

“Meeting other military kids is the main focus here,” said Eichenauer. “They keep in touch after leaving camp; theyre able to reach out to one another. A kid who has been through a deployment can help another kid to prepare or help cope with those emotions.

“Knowing they have friends here at Camp Lagniappe who survived a deployment helps prepare the kids, so they see that things will be ok.”

As a military member and mom, Eichenauer said programs like the LANG Child & Youth Program and OMK provide the children with a wealth of opportunities.

“Overall the camp was a great success!” concluded Moran.

The next camp will be held in late September. For more information, please contact Leslie Moran at (225) 578-2196 or e-mail LMoran@agcenter.lsu.edu

Please visit http://www.dvidshub.net/units/LAANG for the latest Louisiana National Guard releases, photos and videos.

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POLLOCK, La. – Military kids take aim at their targets at the archery range during the annual “Operation: Military Kids Spring Camp Lagniappe” at the 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, La., April 30 – May 1, 2011. The camp included several other activities such as canoeing, rock wall climbing and marksmanship training and competition. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr / RELEASED)

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POLLOCK, La. – Louisiana Army National Guardsman Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Moreau explains the rules for the marksmanship competition to children of military members participating in the annual “Operation: Military Kids Spring Camp Lagniappe” at the 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, La., April 30 – May 1, 2011. The camp included several other activities such as archery, canoeing and rock wall climbing. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr / RELEASED)

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POLLOCK, La. – Seth Benton, 9, son of Louisiana Army National Guardsman Maj. Larry Benton, overcomes his fear of heights as he scales the side of a rock climbing wall at the annual “Operation: Military Kids Spring Camp Lagniappe” at the 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, La., April 30 – May 1, 2011. The camp included several other activities such as archery, canoeing and marksmanship training and competition. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr / RELEASED)

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POLLOCK, La. – Leah Eichenauer, daughter of Louisiana Army National Guardsman Maj. Lida Eichenauer, shows off her art work on garden pavers honoring her parents at the annual “Operation: Military Kids Spring Camp Lagniappe” at the 4-H Camp Grant Walker in Pollock, La., April 30 – May 1, 2011. The pavers will be used to decorate the victory garden on the campgrounds. The camp included several other activities such as archery, canoeing, rock wall climbing, and marksmanship training and competition. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr / RELEASED)

 

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