ASYMCA’s Operation Hero camp for military kids teaches core values

CAMP PENDLETON — The Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA is finishing the last session in its Operation Hero summer camp for military kids, which runs through Aug. 1,

Three camp sessions of two weeks each have been running since June 17 drawing nearly 100 base kids in first through fifth grades to several community centers and a school on base. For the second year in a row, the theme is “Mad Scientist,” which made a big hit last year with science experiments.

The camp opened seven years ago as a summer extension of the base’s Operation Hero after school mentoring and tutoring program to continue learning over the summer, said Samantha Holt, director of programs at the base’s YMCA. Both programs are aimed at boosting academic and social skills while helping kids deal with life in a military family, including deployment of parents.

Like the afterschool program, the camp reinforces core values, such as respect, responsibility, caring and honesty.

Children, who are new to the base are recruited to the camp along with children in the Operation Hero program, but it is open to all base kids.

The camp fee of $25 is refunded to students who have perfect attendance. The program is funded in part by the Day at the Races event July 18 at the Del Mar Race Track.

For more information about Operation Hero, call (760) 385-4921 or visit camppendletonasymca.org.

  By Linda McIntosh San Diego | San Diego Union Tribune | July 15, 2013