JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) -- They each have their own story but here the other kids get what they’re going through. It’s called Camp Corral- a week-long experience for children whose parents serve our country.
"Camp Corral was created for kids who parents have been wounded or killed in action or wounded or disabled. We also support the military community for those members or dependents who have a parent currently deployed," said Mike Spohn, camp director.
This year, 300 kids from 17 different states are taking part in the camp at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City, including Emma Deghand from Topeka whose father was killed in combat and Steven Henning whose father, a Fort Riley soldier, has completed multiple deployments.
"Being part of a military family, it gets kind of difficult at times especially when my dad has to get deployed because during that time, it stresses everybody out. We have to step up and taken on different roles we normally wouldn’t take on every day. We just have to power through it all until he gets back," Henning said.
There's a full week of activities planned for the kids, including a full range of outdoor activities and skills classes, plus a few special events, including fireworks and a Las Vegas illusionist.
"When the kids come to camp, we give them a week of a lifetime. We give them the opportunity to step away from reality, whether it be having a parent currently deployed or struggles they may be having because their mom has come injured, maybe their dad didn’t come home. So they get to come out and come to an environment that’s fun, meet friends from all over the United States, share with each other about their home life, their stories," Spohn added. "Their stories are truly touching."
Camp Corral, sponsored by the Golden Corral restaurant corporation and its franchises, has doubled in size nationally this year, expanding to 18 camps offered in 14 states, coast to coast. Some 2,000 military kids will experience Camp Corral this summer.
Golden Corral created the camp in 2011 as an extension of its commitment to disabled veterans, recognizing that the children of military families can face grave issues. The camp is free of charge to those in attendance.