Opportunities - Vacations, camps, resorts, retreats, theme parks, events
Additional camp opportunities for Gold Star children may be found HERE
American Widow Project
The American Widow Project lists various events:
A Soldier's Child Journey Camp
ASC Journey Camp goals: to bring together children of fallen soldiers; help children form friendships with other children who have a similar experience (the loss of a military parent); letting kids just be kids while having a blast for a week. We have so much fun we don’t need to spend much time on grief counseling.
YMCA Camp Widjiwagon, Nashville Tennessee
Free. Open to children between the ages of 10 – 14 who live in Tennessee or bordering states. Limited space available (only the first 30 children registered will be accepted).
America's Mighty Warriors' Annual Gold Star Family & Wounded Warrior Retreat (Hawkins, TX)
America's Mighty Warriors honors the sacrifices of our Gold Star families and Wounded Warriors with their annual retreat at Allaso Ranch. This one-of-a-kind retreat offers Gold Star families and Wounded Warriors (who have been awarded Purple Hearts) the chance to relax, rejuvenate and connect!
Allaso Ranch offers an incredible atmosphere that instantly helps adults and children unwind, break away from the daily grind, and reflect on the positive. Enjoy boating, swimming, horseback riding or reading a book in a quiet nook. The food is great and company can't be beat! May 8-10, 2015 (Register by May 1, 2015)
Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial NASA Space Camp Scholarship (Huntsville, AL)
The Space Camp is a six-day program that shows young men and women firsthand what it takes to be an astronaut. Activities include simulated Space Shuttle missions, training simulators, rocket building and launches, scientific experiments, and lectures of the past, present, and future of space exploration.
Space Camp is offered in Huntsville, Alabama, and takes a unique, fun and hands-on approach to learning outside the classroom – and students leave with a greater appreciation for school and their studies. Each child learns about astronauts and space travel, but they also experience something even more important: developing bonds of friendship. For more detailed information about Space Camp, visit their web site at www.spacecamp.com.
The Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp scholarship is funded by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC). The scholarship covers full tuition to include:
- Round trip transportation (from student’s home base to Space Camp)
Student applicant must first meet the requirements below:
- The child of a military member on active duty or mobilized Guard or Reserves, post 9/11 veteran; OR
- The child of a military member who died while serving on active duty or mobilized Guard or
- Reserve status; AND enrolled in grades 6 through 9
Brat Pack 11
Brat Pack 11 is an organization founded by Kenzie Hall to show honor and gratitude to our nation’s youngest boots on the ground. Brat Pack 11 is dedicated to supporting the children of our wounded and fallen heroes by providing them with unforgettable experiences and connecting them with a network for continued support throughout their childhood.
Bravehearts Veterans Retreats (Illinois)
BraveHearts hosts weekend retreats throughout the year at our peaceful and picturesque farm in Harvard. The retreats are geared towards veterans who have experienced combat related trauma, military sexual trauma, veteran couples and Gold Star families.
During the retreats, veterans are able to utilize experiences with horses and group process to gain to mastery, life skills and healing while spending time with other veterans. The horses and Bravehearts environment enable veterans who have endured profound psychological wounds to make strides that often take years to actualize sitting in a room engaged in psychotherapy.
The retreats are facilitated by Vet Center counselors. Participants are housed at BraveHearts with communal meals provided. Expert staff and volunteers provide activities with horses. Opportunities to participate in meditation, group discussions and free time are often included. Grooming, leading, riding, carriage driving and foundation horsemanship are some of the equine activities used.
Camp C.O.P.E. provides military families with an unforgettable weekend at camp. Camp C.O.P.E. gives these children hope and patience and courage. Camp C.O.P.E lets them be just kids- again! Through therapeutic interventions, certified therapists teach children and their families how to cope with their changed world due to deployment, injury or loss of a family member as a result of their service in our country’s military. Camp C.O.P.E. provides weekend camps across the country free of charge to children and families of military personnel.
Camp Corral is a free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members. Since its founding, in 2011 as a one camp pilot program, Camp Corral has grown over 700%. Over 6,500 children have been served and the program has expanded to 23 camps in 19 states. Although any child from a military family is eligible, registration priority is given to children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members.
Camp Erin is a free, weekend bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6-17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Campers participate in fun, traditional camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support, led by bereavement professionals and trained volunteers. There are currently 46 camp locations across the United States.
Camp Hometown Heroes (Grafton, WI)
Camp Hometown Heroes is a national free week-long overnight summer camp for children and siblings between the ages of seven to seventeen of fallen U.S. service members who died in any manner: combat, accident, illness or suicide.
During their visit to camp, perhaps for the first time in their young lives, the children have the opportunity to openly discuss their feelings and experiences. Through the support of pediatric grief specialists the children partake in art and music therapy programs and optional discussion groups.
The children are afforded the opportunity to enjoy typical summer camp activities such as swimming, dance, arts and crafts, archery, drama, canoeing, fishing, climbing and more. But more importantly, the children are given many opportunities to begin or continue the healing process.
Camp Life! is a non-profit connecting families of fallen heroes through a summer camp experience providing encouragement, inspiration and adventure.
Champion Kids Camp (Houston, TX)
Champions Kids Camp is dedicated to the nurturing of children who have survived a traumatic injury, illness, or personal loss, such as the loss of a parent or sibling. This also includes separation from a parent who is serving abroad in the military or who have now returned home. Through a week-long camp, children between the ages of 8 and 12 are able to heal from the “emotional scarring” they have experienced in their young lives.
Camp consists of music, art, sports, recreation and special guests. Children are nurtured physically, mentally and emotionally. We teach them at camp that they are over-comers. Camp is free of charge to those who are accepted; we do fill up by our May 31st deadline (camp is July 19-24, 2015) so apply soon.
Children of Wounded Warriors (Grants for extra-curricular activities)
Children of Wounded Warriors work relentlessly with the local community to organize awareness for the need to support the children of our fallen heroes or have suffered a financial hardship due to a death or medical condition. Many times the children are over looked during such tragedies as that of a loss of a US Military, Law Enforcement Officer, or Fire Rescue personnel. During this time it is important the children get to continue with their extra-curricular activities in order to maintain a level of normalcy and be able to use these activities to relieve the stress that accompanies during such tragedies.
Children of Wounded Warriors organize fundraising events such as the Cake Off, White Party, Quarter Auction, 5k-10k races etc. in order to assist with grant awards. These grants are awarded to the families of the Children of Wounded Warriors in order to assist the families suffering the loss of hero or have suffered a significant loss of income due to a death or medical condition. These grants help fund the children’s extra-curricular activities sports, dance, or any other type of activities which helps the child spiritually and emotionally.
Colors of Heroes Foundation
Outdoor adventures for Gold Star families and combat wounded veterans - Colors of Heroes Foundation was thought of years ago when the founders went on a hunting trip with Bob and Cathy Duhadaway. The therapeutic value of being in the outdoors was priceless for Robb's recovery. Robb wanted to reach out to other families that are also struggling. One day, while in conversation with Ivan Carter of Safari Classics and Dan Catlin of The Wildlife Gallery, the idea of auctioning off Robb's combat helmet to raise money to take children of fallen soldiers on a hunt was raised. The helmet was auctioned off at the Dallas Safari Club International convention. Robb was hoping to get enough to take two children on a hunt. Amazingly, the helmet was auctioned off, returned, and auctioned off again raising enough funding to start The Gustafson's Colors of Heroes Foundation.
Comfort Zone Camp
Comfort Zone Camp is a non-profit bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. The free camps include confidence building programs and age-based support groups that break the emotional isolation grief often brings. Comfort Zone Camps are offered to children 7-17, and are held year-round across the country. We have offices in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Disabled Veterans Rest Camp (Washington County, MN)
The Disabled Veterans Rest Camp provides facilities and opportunities for recreation, rest, and well being for all women and men who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, along with their families. The campground is open to all military personnel in good standing: Active duty, Reservists/Guard, veterans, disabled, retirees, families and friends. Widows of fallen warriors,as long as they are not remarried, are welcome to come and bring their families with them. We ask for a DD214.
Edelweiss Lodge and Resort Survivor Package (Germany)
Save 50% off room rates. The Survivor Support Package is designed to embrace and reassure our Survivors that our nation will always be there for them. The Family and MWR Command is proud to offer discounts at the Armed Forces Recreation Center Resorts honoring Survivors from all services.
Freedom Hunters - Hunting and fishing
Saluting the noble work of our courageous men and women of the Armed Forces is our mission. For the Gold Star families that have sacrificed all, we are working on retreats and individual opportunities to remember the brave. Families that know the full price of freedom hold a special place in our heart.
Gold Star Family Weekend, Inc. (Little Falls, MN)
In recognition of our military fallen heroes from all wars and their families, the Gold Star Family Weekend, Inc. is honored to invite families of our Military fallen heroes to a weekend of camaraderie, fun, and sharing.
We invite families of military fallen from all wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, WWII and the conflicts in-between) to be our guests for an amazing weekend planned exclusively for you and your family at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota.
Camp Ripley is a 53,000 acre regional training facility for our military, federal, state, local and civilian communities. Camp Ripley relies on its expertise in environmental stewardship to maintain its training resources. The staff at Camp Ripley have opened their gates to our families for this special weekend.
Gold Star Teen Adventures
Gold Star Teen Adventures enables healing, fosters enduring relationships, and develops character and leadership skills through adventure experiences to the surviving youth of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Good Grief Camps (TAPS and USO)
TAPS Good Grief Camp for children and teens provides a safe and supportive atmosphere to conduct activities and opportunities to learn coping skills, establish and identify support systems and create awareness that they are not alone in the grief of their loved one. Children and teens meet others of their own age group to share and learn, together.
Got Your Back Network
Widows and children are given the opportunity free of costs to experience events that they would probably never have had the ability to do. Examples of GYBN sponsored events are:
- New Jersey Nets Basketball Game
- Miss America Pagent Finals in Las Vegas
- Martinis and Makeovers in Washington DC
- A Day at the Races at the Monmouth Park Race Track in NJ
Guide On Leadership Camps
Guide On supports the families of fallen American military heroes. We provide leadership training and outdoor experience to children who have lost their adult role models. Guide On is an organization where children who have been affected by the loss of a military parent will be provided with leadership and skills training along with peers who have shared similar experiences. Professional staff will provide the leadership training, oversight and support for children attending Guide On Leadership Camps.
Hope for Warriors Outdoor Adventure Program
Hope For The Warriors® Outdoor Adventures Program provides adaptive opportunities for wounded heroes to participate in sporting activities in the great outdoors. Service members, who previously embraced an outdoorsman lifestyle, as well as those new to wilderness sports, are introduced to recreational opportunities on the road to recovery.
Hope For The Warriors® created the Outdoor Adventures Program in 2010 to provide adaptive opportunities for wounded heroes to participate in sporting activities in the great outdoors. In 2012, the organization recognized the therapeutic benefits for the family members and expanded the program to include spouses and children of wounded and fallen service members.
House in the Woods, Inc (Lee, Maine)
A free, outdoor self-help program which remains flexible to the needs of those whom we serve. The only expense to participants is their transportation to Lee, Maine. Using the recreational, therapeutic, and educational properties of Maine’s great wilderness and outdoor heritage, we form short-term retreats for participants to meet others with common military-related challenges and experiences. Activities are led by licensed Maine guides and staffed with caring volunteers and assistance from the local VA Center and health professionals from the community upon request. Maine is a four season climate, so activities will be dependent on weather and availability.
Hunters Helping Soldiers
The mission of Hunters Helping Soldiers is to provide a means to enhance physical and emotional healing through comradery during hunting and fishing trips as well as mentorship to help ease the transition from military life to civilian life and help families of returning, wounded, and mortally wounded soldiers cope with the challenges they face.
Kids of our Heroes - Adventure Camp (Aurora, MO)
Kids Of Our Heroes – Adventure Camp is a non-profit organization committed to helping the children of Fallen and Wounded Warriors. Our mission is to help children (ages 11-17) of our heroes to develop the coping skills of courage, confidence, and resiliency to overcome the fears and challenges of living with a wounded warrior, or rise above the loss of a parent or family member who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. We provide a one-week adventure camp at NO COST to our campers!
Knights of Heroes
The Knights of Heroes mission is to provide young men who have lost their fathers in military service the opportunity to experience character building events with the positive support of a male mentor.
Boys are given the opportunity to develop lasting friendships with similarly situated boys from across the country while participating in exciting outdoor activities in Colorado. The four elements of the "knight's code" are instilled through exposure to caring and compassionate men in an outdoor high adventure setting.
Families with boys between the ages of 10 and 17 are invited to attend at absolutely no cost. While the boys are at camp, the moms and daughters spend the week visiting sights in and around Colorado Springs. Lodging and travel arrangements are made for the families that attend from outside the local area.
Activities for the moms and daughters take place throughout the week. The camp was founded on Christian faith, but is not a Bible camp. Boys of all beliefs and from every background are welcome.
Leap of Faith (Operation Support Our Troops - America)
Leap of Faith is a three day seminar and healing experience based on the idea that those families of fallen service members could live life fully and in a way that honors the life of their service member, despite there terrible loss.
Mount Olivet Rolling Acres (Victoria, MN)
In an effort to thank wounded service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan for their service to our country, Mount Olivet Rolling Acres began offering no cost vacations for wounded veterans and their families at our McGregor Cabins in 2008. Our resort property, used primarily by our consumers with disabilities, provides accessible facilities in a scenic, peaceful setting where these deserving service members can relax, recreate, recover, and reconnect with family. Gold Star families are also welcomed during these designated vacation periods when the entire property is reserved for military families.
No Barriers Warriors
No Barriers Warriors empower veterans and transitioning service members with disabilities, and survivors of the fallen, to overcome barriers and unleash their potential. Our experiences serve as both an opportunity for growth and catalyst for change as these brave men and women stretch boundaries, build teams, innovate through adversity and step up to lead and serve others. Complementing the reintegration process, this program provides quality transformative experiences that inspire warriors to grow and continue to contribute their absolute best to the world.
Operation Ensuring Christmas
Operation Ensuring Christmas provides financial, moral and rehabilitative support to the Children of Fallen American Troops by providing them Christmas Gift Cards at Christmas and a ‘Christmas in July’, VIP theme park trip to Orlando Florida. This support is to help them recover from the grief and trauma caused by the ultimate sacrifice a child can make for their country...the loss of a parent in war.
Operation One Voice
Warrior Weekend - Provides a weekend retreat at a southeastern resort hosting 35 to 45 fallen and wounded Special Operations Forces families. The board of directors and several project leaders host the event in which all SOF families are treated to a weekend of relaxation and the SOF wives receive a spa package.
Operation R&R (South Carolina, Texas)
The leadership of Operation R and R, USA identified a need to further support given to surviving family members of service members killed in the line of duty during overseas deployments. Recognizing the unique challenges these families now face, it was determined to expand the current construct of Operation R and R, USA to include a special part of Operation R and R, USA known as Families of Fallen Hero's Program.
Operation 300 is a not for profit organization that hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their fathers as a result of military service.
The camps provide an opportunity to participate in activities that embody the spirit of adventure that characterized the lives of their absent fathers while fostering a culture of courage, strength, freedom, endurance, honor and godly morality embodied by fearless patriots throughout the history of our American Republic.
Operation Welcome Home at Miracle Lodge Retreat and Conference Center
The Miracle Lodge has become the premier facility for retreats for soldiers and their families. Operation Welcome Home got started in 2007 and has now served over 300 families. We have a list of upcoming military retreats in 2015. These retreats are free of charge for all military. Help spread the word and sign up today.
Project New Hope Inc. (Worcester, Massachusetts)
Project New Hope Inc. mission is to assist veterans and their families with PTSD, TBI, Military Sexual Trauma, Marital Issues, Chronic Pain Issues and Suicidal thoughts, and other issues that might arise. We are an organization that helps U.S. veterans and their families with addressing the challenges, fears and stigma that they face during and after they have served in our Armed Services. Project New Hope is committed to aiding our service members and their families by providing them the opportunity to get away and reconnect by attending one of our retreats. The organization offers tools for recognizing the symptoms and triggers of military-related occupational stress and injuries, as well as assist in developing coping mechanisms through holistic approaches to healing. All our staff and volunteers are committed to assisting our service members in their pursuit of New Hope and success in all they do.
Project New Hope Inc. now offers a free weekend Gold Star & Survivor Retreat.
Purple Heart Ranch (Sterling City, TX)
Military Warriors Hero Support Foundation
Purple Heart Ranch is open exclusively to combat wounded heroes and to Gold Star families. The ranch is also open to children of combat wounded heroes and those who have a parent currently deployed to a combat zone. Both the families of the wounded heroes and the parents of the children are encouraged to come and enjoy the experience with the hunters. There is fishing available at both properties and many other activities for the families. Both ranches are rich in history and are littered with Native American artifacts, especially arrow heads.
Seven Stars Foundation (Big Bear City, CA)
The Seven Stars Foundation, Inc. sponsors children of fallen and wounded military members to a local camp in Big Bear Lake to help them establish lasting bonds with other grieving children.
Sisters under Sail - Daughters of US Military Sailing Scholarship
Sisters Under Sail is a non-profit dedicated to teaching teenage girls leadership skills and life lessons through sail training.
Daughters of U.S. military and Canadian Forces, age 13 – 18, have been invited to sail aboard Tall Ship Unicorn with Sisters Under Sail as we sail the Great Lakes in 2015. Sailing as the only all-female crewed tall ship in the world, Sisters Under Sail is dedicated to teaching teen girls leadership skills and life lessons through sail training.
To honor their service and sacrifice, Sisters will award several scholarships to teens whose parent(s) is a fallen warrior or active duty, active status in the military, including the National Guard, Reservists and Coast Guard.
Creating memories for the children of fallen military heroes
Snowball Express is the charity for the children of our fallen military heroes. We started in 2006 with a simple idea: Provide hope and new memories to the children of our fallen military heroes who died while on active duty since September 11, 2001. Memorials at a cemetery or listening to a long speech are not the kind of memories a child wishes to endure again . Yet that is how we honor our heroes...it is what adults do.
By attending Snowball Express a child can see that "service above self" is honored by others and is a value they should subscribe to as they continue to mature as adults. They also realize they can honor their fallen hero in ways other than by being sad or at a somber place. Snowball Express gives them a piece of their childhood back, allowing them to have fun and that it's OK to laugh.
Special Ops Survivors
Each weekend-long survivors’ conference is designed to be a practical learning experience providing life skills advice in areas such as coping and resilience, nutrition, and financial planning. Moreover, it is the bonding and connections forged amongst the survivors that are truly priceless.
Sportsmen's Foundation for Military Families
The Sportsmen’s Foundation for Military Families (SFMF), a charitable organization, is established to provide combat veterans a chance to participate in the hunting sports. Any combat veteran of the United States Armed Forces, or an immediate family member of a veteran killed in combat, is eligible to apply. Our hunts have proven to be extremely therapeutic to those in need. However, participation is not limited to those who have been wounded in battle or are suffering, any combat veteran may apply. All hunts are professionally guided. It is our way of saying thank you for your service.
Spring Reins of Life (Clinton, NJ)
Spring Reins of Life's military programs are divided into two sections – Operation Horse and Coming HOME. All services within SROL are funded and free of charge to military service members and their families.
TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar
Join us as we bring together survivors and leading professionals in the grief and trauma field, to share a weekend of understanding, hope, courage, and love.
Since 1995, TAPS has welcomed all who are grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving, providing a full weekend of events for adults and children alike. In Washington, DC, we are surrounded by the monuments of our nation that honor the service and sacrifice of our loved ones and remind everyone that “Freedom is Not Free.”
The Little Warriors - A Brian Bill Project
(for children of Naval Special Warfare)
The Little Warriors A Brian Bill Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing outdoor adventure to the children of Naval Special Warfare (current, former, retired, KIA families).
The Little Warriors A Brian Bill Project is working with Outward Bound to bring the best possible adventure to you.
Canyoneering is the sport of exploring and navigating rugged, often steep-walled, and narrow canyons. Nowhere is this sport more challenging than in Utah, whose spectacular terrain features huge mesas, towering mountains, ancient rock paintings and cliff dwellings of Native Americans. Open deserts have been carved by rivers into deep canyons, ravines, and precipitous drops, that require you to rappel down sections of these slot canyons. Outward Bound’s canyoneering trips take you far beyond hiking camps and hiking adventures, into some of the most fragile environments and inspiring landscapes.
Experience Moab on this extraordinary expedition, combining a beautiful and challenging environment, with activities that place an emphasis on individual growth and community.
Travis Manion Foundation
Expeditions are service-based trips that are developed and organized by the Travis Manion Foundation for families of the fallen and veterans to come together and serve others in honor of their fallen heroes. The nation’s fallen heroes made the ultimate sacrifice while selflessly serving our nation; these group trips provide opportunities for veterans and survivors to continue that legacy of selfless service. Expeditions help participants continue to heal and develop of a community of support as they serve beside other veterans and survivors. The trips are fully funded by the Travis Manion Foundation, and are organized in locations across the country and around the world throughout the year.
Veteran Tickets Foundation
Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) provides FREE event tickets to family members of troops Killed In Action (K.I.A.), our military and veterans to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities.
Attending these events reduces stress through entertainment, strengthens family bonds, builds life long memories and encourages service members to stay engaged with American life and local communities.
Giving free event tickets is an expression of appreciation, acknowledgement and an enduring symbol that we, as a nation, honor the service of our troops today and long after their tour of duty has passed. Helping our veterans attend events provides positive family and life experiences after their years of service to our country.
West Virginia National Guard Gold Star Family Weekend (Camp Dawson, WV)
Wounded Warrior Family Support
Our mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations. The families of our casualties suffer in many ways: some financially, some psychologically.
Wounded Warriors Family Support owns five fully furnished condominium units for use by the families of our wounded or injured veterans and widows and families of our fallen heroes. Preference goes to those with children and the greatest financial need.
Four of our units are in the beautiful Bahama Bay Resort, minutes from Universal Orlando, Wet 'n Wild Orlando, and Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Passes are provided to families free of charge. Other opportunities include: The Victorian Resort, Take Flight Farms, Shenandoah, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
Opportunities - Other
LINK - A listing of organizations that desire to help make dreams come true for the military community.