Operation Purple Program

YMCA of Honolulu Camp Erdman
Operation Purple Program

“Helps me relieve stress.“
Tyler, 13 years old

“It’s cool.  You can talk to them about how you miss your mom or dad and they get it.“
Katelyn, 12 years old

I feel sad but this camp helps a lot.
Amber, 13 years old, who had both parents deployed to Afghanistan 

 Background

The national Operation Purple program was created in response to the call from military parents to “help us help our kids.”  The mission of the program is to empower military children and their families to develop and maintain healthy and connected relationships, in spite of the challenges the military life can impose on families. This is done through a variety of means, including the healing and holistic surroundings of the natural environment. The program is free and open to children of active duty, National Guard or Reserve service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service and NOAA.  However, because there has been a waiting list every year, the priority has been to offer the program to children of deployed personnel first.

Camp Erdman’s participation in the Operation Purple program over the last three years has increased our strength in delivering a refined and dependable experience by combining our environmental education, stewardship, and leadership curriculum with that set forth by the Operation Purple program. We have maintained and created new partnerships with our local military across all branches, which has created awareness around the Operation Purple mission, giving us strong endorsements within our local civilian and military communities, as well as by Senator Daniel Inouye.

We have served over 1100 military dependents through the Operation Purple program over the past three years and the sizeable military population here on Oahu has been so grateful for this opportunity for their children. It’s evident from the stories told by the campers that spending a week in the company of other children from a variety of military backgrounds is truly a rewarding experience. The Operation Purple campers make new friends while at camp, and sometimes more importantly, learn how to make new friends. Our local military families are very supportive of our camp and are acutely aware of the value of sending their children to participate in the Operation Purple program. We feel that our unique setting is the perfect place to host the Operation Purple experience and allows us the opportunity to acknowledge and serve our military kids.

Funding

The majority of funding and the curriculum have been provided by the National Military Family Association, a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 by military spouses.  Their largest sponsors have been the Sierra Club and Goldman Sachs.  A few weeks ago, we received notice that due to funding cuts, they were only able to fund 10 camps in 2012.  We were close, but ultimately did not make the list which we believe was based on percentage of military population in the area.  It is less than four months before Camp is to begin, so it is with a sense of urgency that we appeal to the local community for support to continue this popular Camp that provides a respite for military families.

In 2011, we had 320 campers with 100 on the wait list.  The cost is $550 per camper.  In 2012, we hope to offer Operation Purple to 165 children at a total cost of $90,750.

Program Details

The program is an overnight summer camp of one week for children, ages 6-17. Traditional camp activities such as swimming, archery, games, arts and crafts, hikes, skits, and campfires are all incorporated into the week as the medium for producing positive change within the campers. The campers do learn to shoot a bow or swim, but more importantly, these activities are a way for the staff and campers to develop friendships while at camp. As the campers’ skills grow and they form relationships with the staff and new friends, their self-confidence and self-worth grow as well

Objectives of the Program:

  • Communication
    • Building Trust
    • Identifying Ways to Communicate
    • Identifying and Expressing Feelings
  • Outdoor Environmental Education
    • Leave No Trace
    • Local Ecology and Fauna
  • Military Experience
    • “Kids Serve Too”
    • Military Theme Day

These are some of the ways in which Operation Purple is unique from traditional camp experiences:

  • Mental Health Counselors or Military Family Life Consultants provided by the Department Of Defense
  • Operation Purple opening Ceremony (usually an opening campfire with recognition of who is in attendance)
  • Wall of Honor
  • Leave No Trace
  • My Life as a Tree
  • Military Theme Day/ Military Speaker
  • Top Ten List
  • Keeping a Journal
  • Camper/Counselor Surveys
  • T-Shirt signing

Promotion

Operation Purple is a high-visibility program.  In 2011, the 3 TV stations covered Operation Purple.

This Video shows the news coverage:

2011 Operation Purple Media Coverage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nquOny1G8p0

 

Beware: Scam email that appears to be sent by DFAS employees

The VFW has been made aware of scam emails that appear to come from a DFAS employee and displays .mil address, but it is actually from a non-government email account.

The email indicates that individuals receiving VA disability compensation can receive additional funds from the IRS. It states that such funds can be obtained by sending copies of your VA award letter, your income tax returns, your 1099-Rs, your RAS statements, and a copy of your DD 214, to a so-called retired Colonel at an address in Florida. Do not follow the suggestions in the email because you will be providing a significant amount of your personal information to a complete stranger, which could result in a financial loss to you. Please share this information with your fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, military retirees and families so they are aware of this scam.

The 1099-Rs that are issued by DFAS reflect only the taxable portion of a member’s retired pay. DFAS is not aware of any legal basis for the alleged additional funds that the IRS would supposedly pay over. By ignoring the email, you will avoid frustration, the release of personal information to a stranger, and the possibility of financial loss by ignoring the email. If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other tax issues, you should contact a known, reputable tax consultant, tax attorney, or legal assistance officer for advice and assistance. Read our agency email policy that has been developed to protect customer privacy.

Below is the text of the scam email:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sent: Thu, March 17, 2011 7:04:17 PM

Subject: FW: Income Tax

Sandra,

here you go!

I been informed that you can receive additional funds from IRS for SM who retired with 20 years of AFS, information required to receive this entitlement is as follows:

Copy of your VA award letter (note: if your VA rating has been increase within the last three years, you’ll need to send all

ratings).

Copies of your 1040’s for tax years: 08, 09 and 10

Any copy of your 1009R for year 08, 09 and 10

Copies of your RAS statements (Retired pay statements) for year 08, 09 and 10

Copy of your DD Form 214

This information should be mailed by Priority Mail to:

>

Willie Brooks

726 Mayflower Ave.

Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547-3175

850-862-1673.

Mr. Brooks, is a retired AF COL who worked for IRS and charges you 10% of what you receive. I have known of several within the AW2 program who has received from $8.000.00 to $19,000.00. For additional information concerning this matter below is the link to verify this information.

http://cfr.vlex.com/vid/122-relating-reduced-uniformed-pay-19700943

You can pass this on to any of your friends who has a VA rating and 20 or more years of AFS.

IMPORTANT NOTICE! This email message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient and may contain privileged and/or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution of this electronic information and/or any attachment is prohibited. If you have received this email message in error, please notify the sender immediately and then delete the electronic message and any attachments.

Benefits

HAWAII OFFICE OF VETERANS SERVICES

MISSION

The Office of Veterans Services (OVS) is the principal state office responsible for the development and management of policies and programs related to veterans, their dependents, and/or survivors. The OVS acts as a liaison between the Governor and veterans’ organizations and also between the Department of Veterans Affairs and individual veterans. Our objectives are to assist veterans in obtaining State and federal entitlements, to supply the latest information on veterans’ issues and to provide advice and support to veterans making the transition back into civilian life.

OVS is the State’s primary advocate for veterans applying for and receiving benefits and services. The OVS may take action on behalf of veterans, their families and survivors to secure appropriate rights, benefits and services. This process includes the reception, investigation and resolution of disputes and complaints.