Brat Town Bugle was developed by Benita Koeman, founder of Operation We Are Here, to help bridge the gap between home front kids and their geographically separated parent.

When Benita's husband returned to the U.S. for his R&R (rest and recuperation) in March of 2010, their family went on a ten-day action-packed vacation. The time was spent creating a wealth of memories as a family, and when her husband returned back to Afghanistan she was blatantly aware of the memories taking place at home that he was missing out on and that the kids weren't verbalizing in phone conversations. Her children's attempts (and her own) to journal were a failure as well.

With her husband's impending birthday, the homeschool mom was given the idea of creating a newspaper, a concept that allowed their children (ages 7, 8 and 10) to have fun writing and drawing for their dad in portions that weren't overwhelming to them.

To add a more creative flair to the newspaper, Benita sought help from Beth Allen, founder of Troops in Touch. Benita knew Beth has a similar passion to connect military children with their deployed parent. Beth designed her Troops in Touch preprinted interactive postcards for children to send to their parent, or for the parent to send to their child. Beth also designs free, downloadable coloring pages for children to send to their deployed parent.

What's up with "NON-RECRUITS IN BIG BOOTS?" Military children are not recruited to be military brats; they just are. They have "big boots" to fill, and this Month of the Military Child, we celebrate and pay tribute to all military children who serve along with their parents!

Operation We Are Here has a reputation of having a clearinghouse of resources for the military family. Check out this exhaustive list of resources for children and teens!


How it works:

  • Download and print any or all of the pdf files below.
  • To create your own coloring page from a photo, visit Dumpr.
  • Lay out the pages and have your children choose which page(s) they'd like to contribute to. In our home we decided to make this a weekly event, and when the kids get excited, for example, about our pet garter snake eating a frog, I encourage them to write about that in the next issue.
  • You will need to do at least 4 pages for a complete newspaper; inserts are  an option as well.
  • You may want to wait with any coloring until after the newspaper has been photocopied.
  • Go to your local library or office supply store and make a two-sided photocopy on 11x17 paper. For a smaller newspaper, shrink 77% to reduce to fit a legal-sized paper. Fold in half.
  • Make an extra copy for yourself and to send to relatives.
  • Keep extra printed out and ready for spontaneous, creative outbursts!
  • Don't limit to your kids - Use this as an opportunity to jot a few notes to your deployed spouse; enlist friends and relatives to participate as well!
  • We have made an effort to include all ages in this project.
  • Make the newspaper your own...we've even included a blank header on the front page for you to create your own newspaper name. Just print, cut and paste your own design on the paper.
  • E-mail us or post your feedback on Facebook -- we'd like to hear from you. Send us your ideas and we'll do our best to implement them.
Front Page - Brat Town Bugle
Front Page - Brat Town Bugle - (vertical photo)
Front Page - Brat Town Bugle - (horizontal photo)
Front Page - Generic
Front Page - Generic2
Arts - Blank
Arts - Birthday
Arts - Fall, Pumpkins Coloring Page
Arts - Mothers Day Coloring Page (Boy)
Arts - Mothers Day Coloring Page (Girl)
Arts - Mothers Day Coloring Page (Female Soldier) (Boy)
Arts - Mothers Day Coloring Page (Female Soldier) (Girl)
Arts - School Coloring Page
Arts - Spring Coloring Page (Boy)
Arts - Spring Coloring Page (Girl)
Arts - Thanksgiving Day Coloring Page
Arts - Valentines Day Coloring Page (Boy)
Arts - Valentines Day Coloring Page (Girl)
Arts - Valentines Day Coloring Page (Kids) (We Serve Too!)
Arts - Winter
Auto - Repair
Back Page - Comics
Back Page 2 - Comics
Calendar - Month
Community - My Town
Education - School Bus
Education - Today at School
Finance - Saving $ For
Finance - What We Bought
Guest Column
Health - Bandages
Health - I am Growing!
Health - Lost Tooth
Home and Garden
Local News
Local News - What's New
Moved - Bucket List 
Moved - Sign
Moving - Box of Toys
Moving - Bucket List
Moving - Coloring Page
Moving - Moving Truck
Moving - Sign
National News - Australia
National News - Canada
National News - United Kingdom
National News - United States
News (horizontal photo)
News (vertical photo)
People - About Me (horizontal photo)
People - About Me (vertical photo)
People - Friends
People - Neighbors, Friends, Family, Birthdays
Pets - Dog, Cat
Religion - Bible Verse
Religion - Church
Weather - Generic
Weather - Afghanistan
Weather - Iraq
Weather - Other
World News

Pages are in PDF Format. To download the latest version of Adobe Reader, click here.

Operation We Are Here lists many more resources for military children and teens. Learn more...
The first official Brat Town Bugle to arrive in Afghanistan!

Link to Fort Lewis Ranger newspaper article

A military spouse writes:
"I was surprised by how much my kids got 'into' doing the Brat Town Bugle! My oldest (12) did the most reporter like stories, my 11 year old cracked me up with her comics and funny stories and my 5 year old loved doing the weather page and coloring pictures for the paper. My husband was surprised and impressed by how creative our kids are! He really enjoyed reading our first issue. He has the paper in plastic cover to keep it protected and is looking forward to our next issue!"
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