Free (or discounted) camps & activities for military children & teens
Return to Military Children & Teen Directory of Resources - LINK
A Backpack Journalist summer workshops and camps
"Helping youth find their voice - through Narrative Writing, Reporting and Broadcast, Songwriting, Film making, Cowboy Poetry and Digital Storytelling. It is all about creative expression. For youth, we encourage youth between the ages of 12-18 to use the latest, greatest tech tools and their own talents! For military youth and service members, especially diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, our writing and journaling and digital storytelling are focused on helping each service member work through the issues each face.
Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard Teen Leadership Summits
The Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard Teen Leadership Summit is a week-long camp for 14-18 year old dependent teens of current or retiree Air Force Total Force military members. Teens will focus on leadership development and self-confidence, learn about programs and services available to AF dependents, and build an appreciation for and sense of belonging to the AF community.
At Summits, leadership classes will be taught throughout the week and teens will learn about the mission of the Air Force. Summits also include military traditions, community service projects, musical performances, and environmental education classes.
American Wanderer Summer Camp - RV Camp for Kids
The next generation of a traditional summer camp for boys and girls ages 11-17. Our Cabins roll and our Camp moves. Our Campers and Guides explore some of the most magnificent parks in the world - all right here in America. We offer 4 distinct 2 week sessions exploring over 34 Parks in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Scholarships - Children of Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, Retired and Former Service members are all eligible to apply. Children of Wounded Warriors must annotate their applications as such due to multiple categories of funding sources. National Guard, Military Reserve and Wounded Warriors should also see www.ourmilitarykids.org for additional funding.
Armed Services YMCA - Camp Pendleton, CA
Operation Hero - Operation Hero is a free program that meets twice weekly for 2.5 hours during a ten week period. In Operation Hero a small group of eight children learn to work as a team. The Operation Hero Facilitator leads the children in group discussions about who they are and how they fit in at home and school. They discuss how to manage feelings and friendships as well as practice conflict resolution skills. The focus of the program is on personal responsibility, enabling the children to find success in their school and home lives. Operation Hero facilitates a positive environment, encourages responsible behavior and provides the support the children need to get back on track in school. In the end, the students find there are “heroes” inside each of them.
Summer Day Camps - Each summer the Armed Services YMCA works to provide day camp activities to military children at Camp Pendleton. Offering week-long day camps from local community YMCAs and other community organizations. Low-cost YMCA Summer Overnight Camp! Deadline April 15th! Please pre-register and follow steps to sign up!'
Camp Flashhh - Each Summer, our branch supports the Marine Corps' Exceptional Family Members Program and special needs children at Camp Pendleton with Camp Flashhh (Families Laughing and Sharing Hugs, Hope, and Happiness). Camp Flashhh provides field trip opportunities for the families from June through August. Please contact your EFMP case worker for further information.
Armed Services YMCA - San Diego, CA
Camp Hero is a day camp program that serves military children as an outlet for youth to share their common experiences and receive academic, recreational and leadership-based enrichment. The Camp Hero experience is broken down by weekly themes that include weekly field trips helping enhance the learning experience.
Camp Hero curriculum is designed to help children find practical and fun ways to address the challenges of military life, introduce tools to help them succeed in school, and improve social and communication skills. These opportunities will take place in the classroom as well as in the community through multiple weekly field trips made possible through a variety of partners. Weekly themes are developed with the idea that each week will focus on a different area of learning and exploration. When school is out, we are here to serve you! Camp Hero offer a unique and safe environment for military dependents to build self-confidence and meet new friends! Sign up today for an adventure of a lifetime!
Armed Services YMCA - Operation Camp
Camps and camping opportunities offered throughout the year at our branches and affiliate locations continue to be one of ASYMCA’s most popular programs. Camps encourage healthy living as part of our core mission of strengthening our military family, and provide much needed recreational and bonding opportunities for military children and families who have experienced multiple deployments.
Army National Guard Families
Get your youth involved with the State Child & Youth Program! Contact a Child & Youth Program Coordinator (or the State Family Program Director) near you to check out the program offerings and activities they can participate in; visit: https://www.jointservicessupport.org/FP/Default.aspx and click on "Contact your local State Family Program Director, Airman & Family Readiness Program Manager, Family Readiness Support Assistant, Family Assistance Specialist or Child & Youth Program Coordinator" at the bottom of the page, then choose your state, for assistance in connecting with your Child & Youth Program Coordinator.
Badger Youth Camp (Camp Douglas, WI)
Badger Youth Camp provides families an experience that enhances Quality of Life and the Military Family Connection through promotion of Resilience and Individual Growth of our military youth.
The mission of Camp Corral is to transform the lives of children of wounded, injured, ill, and fallen military heroes by providing a unique summer camp experience.
The vision behind Camp Corral is one where kids, ages 8 to 15, are free to be kids, far away from the day-to-day challenges they face as children of military service members and veterans. We partner with some of the best camps around the United States to host each session. Camp Corral has proven to be a “week of a lifetime,” providing kids non-stop fun with activities like canoeing, swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, ropes course challenges, horseback riding, and more. Campers have the priceless opportunity to connect with other kids who understand the unique challenges that come with military life. Each of our host camps provides top-quality programming that teaches the skills needed to build emotional resilience. The positive effects may follow a child for a lifetime.
Camp Mariposa (for children impacted by substance abuse in their families)
Camp Mariposa is a free, weekend overnight camp program that supports children between the ages of 9-12 who are impacted by substance abuse in their families. Camp Mariposa gives these children the knowledge, tools and coping skills to prevent them from developing an addiction of their own and to help break the intergenerational cycle of addiction. Camp is offered six times a year and campers are encouraged to attend multiple sessions There are currently 8 locations across the United States.
Camp Southern Ground (Fayetteville, GA)
Our mission is to operate a camp to allow children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so they may reach their full potential and provide the tools necessary to achieve excellence in all facets of their lives. We serve all children from all backgrounds, races and religions, with a special focus on those young people with neurobehavioral needs; at risk populations and children from military families.
Camp Yellow Ribbon (East Troy, WI)
Camp Yellow Ribbon offers a free week of summer fun for military kids with parents who have been, are currently, or will be deployed.
Camp Yellow Ribbon provides a fun and educational outlet for children in military families, from all service branches. The goal of this specialized camp is to help them to learn how to cope with the challenges of having a family member who is deployed or has returned from overseas.
Our goal is to create a memorable camp experience and an exciting week of outdoor fun and adventure while allowing campers the opportunity to gather and learn in a safe place, vent their fears and frustrations and to meet other children who are experiencing similar challenges. Camp Yellow Ribbon also gives campers opportunities to learn, grow, and celebrate the military experience.
Channel 3 Kids Camp (Andover, CT) (awaiting 2019 info)
Channel 3 Kids Camp is offering a special week of camp for military kids ages 8-17 during the week of July 1-6, 2018! For more information visit their website.
Department of Defense Summer Camp Experiences
During the school year, it's easy to fill your children's schedules with activities - but what about during the summer? If your children are looking for something exciting to do, the Department of Defense (DoD) is here to help. Each year, the DoD provides summer camp opportunities for your children, giving them a chance to have fun, meet new people, and develop skills that will benefit them for years to come.
Freedom Hunters is a military outreach program dedicated to honoring those who protect our freedoms. Our mission is to salute the noble work of our courageous men and women of our Armed Forces. Freedom Hunters reflects the outdoor community's appreciation to our troops by taking: select active duty and combat veterans, families of fallen heroes, children of the deployed, as well as those wounded or injured, on outdoor adventures. Freedom Hunters mission is empowered by the generous support of many: sportsmen, conservation groups, state agencies, outfitters, corporations, and land owners.
Girls on Ice
Girls on Ice is a unique, FREE, wilderness science education program for high school girls. Each year two teams of 9 teenage girls and 3 instructors spend 11 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers and the alpine landscape through scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, ecologists, artists, and mountaineers. One team explores Mount Baker, an ice-covered volcano in the North Cascades of Washington State. The other team sleeps under the midnight sun exploring an Alaskan glacier. Military kids are encouraged to apply!
HomeFront Equestrians, Inc. (Ware, MA)
Founded as a way of giving back to military families, HomeFront Equestrians, Inc. offers hands on horsemanship; from grooming and groundwork to riding and showing, we offer an in-depth program for military families in a fun, positive and educational environment.
Horses for Heroes
Horses4Heroes is a Las Vegas-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth, adults and families and enriching their lives through deeply discounted recreational, instructional and morale-boosting health and wellness programs that emphasize fun and safe activities with horses. Horses4Heroes is all about Healthy Living With Horses.
Kids Camp (Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team)
WWAST Kids Camp 2019 will be held July 28 - August 4 in Virginia Beach, VA.
Recognizing the positive impact Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team™ (WWAST) players have on children with amputations or missing limbs, we created a softball camp for such children where WWAST players serve as the coaches and mentors. Twenty terrific kids attended our inaugural Kids Camp in Orlando, FL in June of 2013. Kids Camp is an annual WWAST event as we continue our mission to educate and inspire these children who face many of the same challenges as our WWAST players. We believe it is a win for the kids, and a win for the WWAST players who have already served their country, and who continue to serve in this important way.
To qualify to attend Kids Camp, children must be between 8 – 12 years old, with an amputation or missing limb, and be physically capable of participating in our daily softball clinics. We give priority to children who otherwise qualify and are from military families. Regardless of the location of Kids Camp, children from all over the country are eligible to attend. WWAST will pay all expenses for the child and a parent, including travel, meals and lodging.
Military BRAT Art Camp (Norfolk, VA) (awaiting 2019 info)
Unique Camp for Mobile Military Teens Teaches Art, Culture & Belonging - The BRAT Art Institute has teamed up with Old Dominion University to offer the inaugural Military BRAT Art Camp, August 8-12, 2016, in Norfolk, Virginia. Military youth, ages 12-17, with at least one parent or guardian from any branch of service who has served on active duty or mobilized Guard/Reserves during their childhood, are encouraged to apply. Full and partial scholarships are available.
The Military BRAT Art Camp is the first art camp in the world designed specifically for military teens. Taught by professional artists who were also raised in military families, the 2016 camp features classes in 2-D Mixed Media, Filmmaking, and Wearable Art, along with games and special guests that celebrate and explore over 200 years of Military Brat Culture and experience. A public art exhibit showcasing the campers’ work will be held at the ODU theatre on Friday, August 12th. The primary purpose of the camp is to offer a fun and safe place for military teens to artistically express themselves, while instilling a sense of belonging and acceptance with others who have shared their unique experiences, including multiple moves and deployments.
The camp will be held daily, 9 am to 5 pm, at the Barry Arts Building, 4600 Monarch on the Old Dominion University campus. The camp includes all classes, art supplies, lunches and snacks, as well as awards and gifts given during the public art exhibit celebrating the Military Brat Culture.
Military Teen Adventure Camps
Would you like to spend time whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, winter camping, backpacking, exploring the environment, running ropes courses, or practicing wilderness skills? What if you could do these activities with other military youth just like you?
Military teens (14-18 years old of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Retired personnel) will have an opportunity to participate in adventure camps at little to no cost. These high energy, high adventure, and high experience camps are planned across the United States from Washington to New York and the states in between. This is the perfect chance for you to experience the outdoors as you never have before!
Each camp offers a unique outdoor experience that will allow you to build your leadership, self-confidence, and teamwork skills while engaging with the outdoors. Camps have funding available to assist with transportation costs.
There is something for everyone!
Minnesota National Guard Youth/Teen Camp (Camp Ripley, MN)
The Minnesota National Guard Youth/Teen Camp is for children of active and retired Minnesota National Guard service members. Activities include archery, hiking, biking, canoeing and camping - all while connecting with other military kids. Exploring a training site at Camp Ripley, seeing various military vehicles and marching in formation help youth better understand the military their parents serve in.
Week 1: July 21 - 27, 2019
Week 2: July 28 to Aug. 3, 2019
Operation Purple Camp (National Military Family Association)
Operation Purple camps offer a free week of summer fun for military kids with parents who have been, are currently, or will be deployed. The goal of the Operation Purple camp program is to give military children tools to help deal with the stresses that result from a parent’s deployment, through a memorable camp experience in a “purple” environment. Operation Purple camps are open to military children of all ranks and services: active and reserve components—and give priority to children whose parents are in a deployment phase.
One-on-one quality time for younger kids - Operation Purple Buddy Camp (OPBC) allows military children, aged 5-8, to have their own unique Operation Purple Camp experience, understanding that younger kids may not be ready for an entire week of camp away from their family.
Our Military Kids - National Guard and Reserves
Children of National Guard and Reserve service members sacrifice time with their beloved military parents like every military child. However, children of National Guard and Reserve service members do not have access to the same resources available on most military installations. National Guard and Reserve families are geographically dispersed throughout the country, and often live too far from military installations to access available support services.
Many National Guard and Reserve families experience a loss of income during deployment as a result of transition from their civilian jobs to their military positions. The loss of income and lack of available local deployment resources creates a gap in support services that is detrimental to military families. In addition, military children typically experience academic challenges during the stressful time that their military parent is deployed, often resulting in a need for academic support services.
Our Military Kids, founded in 2004, fills these gaps with a simple grant program that pays for children’s activities. Eligible families apply for a grant, and within days of receiving the application in the Our Military Kids office, a packet is sent to the child thanking them for their service to our country and notifying them of the award. The check to pay for the activity is sent directly to the service provider.
Our Military Kids helps families who often fall outside the parameters of established support programs – the families of National Guard and Reserve service men and women who have been and are continuing to sacrifice so much for our country.
Our Military Kids - Program for Children of the Wounded
Children of wounded warriors face similar financial difficulties along with the challenges of learning to adapt to the physical, mental, and emotional changes in a loved one.
Our Military Kids supports the children of wounded service members/veterans by awarding grants that pay for participation in sports, fine arts, and academic tutoring programs. Activities help children cope with stress and anxiety in a positive way while parents recover from severe service-related injuries.
Pine Cove (East Texas, Central Texas, South Carolina)
Pine Cove is a gospel-centered Christian camp with ten camp properties in East Texas, Central Texas, and South Carolina, and a traveling day camp program that brings camp to dozens of locations across the Southeast. Pine Cove is a growing, longstanding ministry with 50 years of camping experience. Pine Cove energetically serves more than 30,000 campers each summer with awesome activities, highly trained counselors, and a Christ-centered, others-focused, and seriously fun outlook.
Pine Cove offers scholarships for military families, but they need to apply through their scholarship program. They offer 50% off for family or youth camps.
Plantation Military Camp Program (Broward County, FL) (awaiting 2019 info)
The Frank Veltri Tennis Center, the Plantation Community Tennis Corporation and the Broward County Veteran's Council have been working together since Summer 2010 to provide free tennis camp scholarships to children with a parent or parents on ACTIVE Duty or who are currently DEPLOYED and reside in Broward County, Florida (priority to City of Plantation Residents).
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.
Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp and Mentor Program
The Semper Fi Fund hopes to engage the children of injured service members and
provide them with unique activities and challenges, where they will experience
success as an individual and as a member of a team. Activities will facilitate bonding
of youth with a mentor who will serve as the focal point for follow-on support
during the school year. Visit outdoorodyssey.org to see a video and learn more about camp activities and programs. Sometimes a single experience can define a lifetime.
Send a Kid to Camp (Island Lake and Miracle Ranch, Washington)
Started in 2011 as a summer camp for children of military families, Operation Xtreme camps have grown to include multiple weeks and weekends that give military kids the opportunity to experience fun-filled camps.
Since then, we've welcomed over 1,500 children from military families, and our goal is to continually serve more families with special camps and events.
Seven Stars Foundation
The purpose of the Seven Stars Foundation is to make a positive impact on the children of military members which include the fallen, wounded, active, deployed, and reservists. We accomplish this mission by sponsoring the children to YMCA camps across the country for a week where they can establish lasting bonds with new friends.
S.K.I.F.F. (Texas - Fort Hood, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, Belton, Salado, and Temple)
Free fishing trips for kids separated from a parent by military duty.
S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers' Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. S.K.I.F.F. fishing trips for kids are absolutely free of charge to the children of military personnel who are away from home on military duty including field time, NTC or JRTC rotations, military schooling, TDY assignments, deployment, and unaccompanied tours.
S.K.I.F.F. trips are paid for by donations from the membership of the Austin Fly Fishers and by funds they raise for this worthy cause. Austin Fly Fishers is a fly fishing club based in Austin, Texas. Your children do not have to be referred or recommended by another individual to participate. All it takes is a phone call from a parent to get the ball rolling.
The First Tee (awaiting 2019 info)
Through a congressional appropriation, The First Tee will provide life skills education and character development to children of men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
The First Tee will be able to accomplish this by using a three-pronged impact approach:
1. The chapter based "Military Affiliate Program" on domestic installations
2. The First Tee Nine Core Values Program and
3. The First Tee Program for Children of Guardsmen and Reservists
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.
United Heroes League
United Heroes League has provided over $10 MILLION dollars worth of free sports equipment, game tickets, cash grants, skill development camps, and special experiences to military families across the US & Canada.
VFW Camp Dawson (Kingwood, WV)
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of West Virginia invites youth to attend it's annual Youth Camp. Youth must be between the ages of eleven and fourteen. The week-long camp will be conducted at the West Virginia National Guard Base located near Kingwood, WV. This is a mildly styled basic training youth camp emphasizing patriotism, life saving skills and development of self-confidence. There is no charge to those in attendance as all expenses are paid by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Anyone interested in sending a youth may contact their nearest VFW Post for additional information.
VFW Camp Trotter (Newaygo, MI)
Camp Trotter is a children’s camp located 7 miles East of Newaygo on M-82. The camp sits on the shores of one of west Michigan's beautiful and picturesque lakes. It is owned and operated by the Department of Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The management and oversight is carried out by a committee of elected members of the Michigan VFW, who take pride in keeping the camp in pristine condition to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests. The camp is fully licensed and insured with the State of Michigan.
Camp Trotter exists primarily for children of veterans, but is not limited thereto; we offer five weeks of camping to children seven to twelve years old from all over the United States. The camp includes summer activities on site including swimming, boating, hiking, biking, arts and crafts, archery, softball, volleyball, as well as campfire activities. The children are given a general knowledge of science, art, and nature, and taught patriotism, courage, self reliance and kindred virtues. We try to further instill upon our campers morals and values by combining educational activities with fun, our goal is to guide and assist our youth to build a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.
YMCA Camp Carson (Princeton, IN)
Camp Corral - 1 Week , Coed, Ages 8-15
Operation Military Support - 1 Week , Coed, Ages 7-15
YMCA Operation Camp Soles (Rockwood, PA)
June 16-21, 2019 - Operation Camp Soles is an chance for campers to connect and bond with other kids from military families in safe camp community.
Other opportunities for military kids
Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program
Would you like to honor and serve America? Do you want to prepare for your future while making new friends? Then rise to the challenge of cadet membership in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol.
Cadets fly, learn to lead, hike, camp, get in shape, and push themselves to new limits. If you’re dreaming about a career in aviation, space, or the military, CAP’s Cadet Program is for you.
To become a cadet, you must be be at least 12 years old and not yet 19 years old. Cadets meet 2 hours per week and one Saturday per month, on average, and also have opportunities to attend leadership encampments, career academies, and other activities during the summer.
Naval Sea Cadet Corps
The Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) is for American youth ages 13-17 who have a desire to learn about the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. Sea Cadets are authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to wear Navy uniforms appropriately marked with the Sea Cadet Corps insignia. The objectives of the Sea Cadet program are to introduce youth to naval life, to develop in them a sense of pride, patriotism, courage, and self-reliance, and to maintain an environment free of drugs and gangs.
The Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) is for boys and girls, at least 10 but not yet 14 years old, who are interested in the sea and ships, and our nation's seagoing services. The Navy League program is designed to introduce young people to maritime and military life, and to prepare them for later entrance into the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character building, leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.