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 (South Carolina)
"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 Space Camp and Aviation Camp
Applications are open for this year’s Air Force Youth Programs’ Virtual Teen Aviation Camp. Applications are due no later than April 14, 2021. The virtual camp, held in partnership with Air Force Aero Clubs, is June 14-25, 2021 and offers an introduction to the field of aviation and opportunities for careers and leadership roles within the Air Force and Space Force.
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 - (On hold due to COVID-19) 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 (Pending) - 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 (Pending) - 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.
Camp Hero (Offered at Deluz Family Housing) (Pending) - Camp Hero is a low-cost camp for military children ages 6-12. With an emphasis in STEAM (science, technology, art, and mathematics). Camp Hero provides military children with an opportunity to make new friends, explore, and express their creativity. Camp Hero is offered a total of 3 weeks out of the summer and will encompass weekly themes, indoor and outdoor activities, and local on-base field trips.
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!
Horse of the Sun Ranch is a program of the Armed Services YMCA San Diego that provides an array of equestrian and respite activities. We are principally focused on healing the spirits of military families and at-risk youth. Our programs include a variety of equestrian and non-equestrian physical activities that enhance the experiences through immersion in natural settings.
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.
Badger Youth Camp (Camp Douglas, WI)
Badger Youth Camp 2021 will be held at Camp Lakotah 9-11 July 2021.
Camp Lakotah - Badger Youth Camp is for dependent children of currently serving service members. The dependent children are sponsored by the USO for a reduced cost.
Children who are not dependents of currently serving service members will be offered an opportunity if places are available when registration closes. Pease note that the cost for non-dependent children will be at the Camp Lakotah standard rate. The cost per dependent child camper is $55.00.
Brats Without Borders - BRAT Art Institute Workshops (Richmond, VA) (current programs postponed due to Covid)
SPRING 2020 - A HEROES JOURNEY WEEKEND WEARABLE ART WORKSHOP
Journey Design Presents… “A Heroes Journey” Weekend Wearable Art Workshop for aspiring designers.
SUMMER 2020 - MILITARY BRAT ART WORKSHOPS
The Military BRAT Art Workshop is a unique art workshop designed specifically for children and teens who have grown up in military families. Our 2020 program is two full days and features creative art instruction in drawing/painting and documentary filmmaking. Celebrate and explore your military “brat” life and culture through art and film! Connect with others who have grown up like you have! There is no other art programming like this in the world! (This workshop is for military kids only - current or former.)
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 Soles (Rockwood, PA)
2021 SPECIAL DISCOUNTS DATES & RATES - Exclusive discounts are offered to children of parents who are active or retired military personnel or healthcare workers.
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.
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.
4-H Military Partnership Camps (2021 Coastal Georgia Adventure Camp postponed)
A list of camps for military children through 4-H across the nation. States, communities, and higher education institutions are responding to COVID-19 based on a variety of local factors, and institutions may adjust their scheduled dates, registration deadlines or other components for these camps.
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.
Georgia 4-H Military Summer Camps
- Joint Reserve Component Teen Leadership Summit (Cancelled)
- Coastal Georgia 4-H Military Adventure Camp - LINK for more info
- Islands Military Teen Adventure Camp (Cancelled)
- Agtastic Adventure Camp - LINK for more info
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.
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 25 - July 31, 2021
Week 2: August 1 - August 7, 2021
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.
Operation Teammate partners with collegiate and professional sports organizations to hold events where military children become honorary teammates for the day. These impactful athlete interactions are a fun-filled day of mentorship, games, and activities to recognize the military child for their sacrifice and also their resilience, bravery, and strength.
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.
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.
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 (2021 programs put on hold for the rest of the year)
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
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
United Heroes League for Military Kids
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.
USA Patriots Kids Camp
Kids Camp is a program established in 2014 as a result of organizational growth. Our athletes were eager to give back and while on the road had come across many kids who were finally meeting an adult who looked like they did. Having grown into our largest program, Kids Camp is now supported by our Kids Camp Annual Fund and looks to raise $180,000 annually. Through this effort, we are able to bring 20 children (between 8-12 years old) with amputations or limb loss for a week-long camp, all expenses paid! Our veterans serve as coaches and mentors for these children, teaching them adaptive techniques and life lessons. There is amazing power through putting Heroes on a field with children, all of whom can relate to living a life without limbs.
Camp attendees are selected annually, but the recruitment process is all year! If you or someone you know is eligible for Kids Camp, please contact us.
KIDS CAMP 2021 Fond du Lac, WI August 9 – 14.
VFW Camp Dawson (Kingwood, WV) (awaiting 2021 info)
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) (2021 camps cancelled)
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)
Operation Military Support - 1 Week , Coed, Ages 7-16
2021 SPECIAL DISCOUNTS DATES & RATES - Military or Healthcare Workers’ Children: Exclusive discounts are offered to children of parents who are active or retired military personnel or healthcare workers.
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.