The following article provided by Camp Soaring Eagle in Cornville, Arizona is one of the many organizations Tee It Up for the Troops works with to help and support disabled veteran’s families. We recently made a donation and received this great article for the folks at Camp Soaring Eagle.
When Aaron gripped the end of the arrow and drew back the bow no one could have suspected that it was his first time at an archery course. But for Aaron, who has autism, the Bull’s-Eye he shot propelled him beyond his disorder and amazed the counselors and his friends. Aaron and his parents were participating in the inaugural camping weekend for Arizona’s Veteran’s kids, November 7 -9th at Camp Soaring Eagle in Cornville that was sponsored in large part by Tee It Up For The Troops.
The Bull’s Eye was just one of many “firsts” for Aaron that weekend. He caught his first fish and volunteered to sing Wings of an Eagle on stage during the talent show. His father, an airman stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Glendale, AZ said, “This has been a great experience for my son. Heck, I didn’t even know he liked fishing! We are so grateful to those who made this camping experience possible for our son and for all the other military dependent children here this weekend. There are no other resources like this available that I know of for military kids.”
Thanks to the financial contribution from Tee It Up for the Troops, twenty-six children whose parents serve in the Army, Air Force, and the National Guard/ Reserve came together for a fun-filled weekend with other kids facing the same issues unique to military dependent children. During the camping weekend, these kids found solace in the realization that they weren’t alone in their struggles and that there are other kids who understand what they are going through.
Recent studies by Child Trends, a nonprofit research center, found that while children are resilient having a parent go to war can take a steep and potentially long-lasting toll during their critical early years when the brain is growing rapidly and children are developing a sense of trust in the world. Children who have a soldier parent often endure multiple deployments, extended separations and often tense and awkward reunions when that parent returns to the home. This creates much of the same anxiety, depression, aggression and withdrawal that adults experience, particularly when a parent has been physically or mentally traumatized.
A first-of-its-kind nationwide assessment, Study on Children of Seriously Wounded Service Members, reveals that while over 400 organizations exist to provide support and resources to seriously wounded service members and their families, the research reveals current offerings are limited and almost nonexistent in directly supporting children.
Camp Soaring Eagle’s founder Max James served honorably as an Air Force rescue helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. It was his desire to create a FREE camp for children in Arizona who have serious illnesses. Max soon recognized that children of military families often suffer pain and wounds, although invisible, that are very much as serious as physical illness. For that reason he added a camping weekend to the year-round schedule dedicated to serving the children of Arizona’s service members.
“We are honored”, Max James said, “to be supported by the Tee It Up For The Troops organization that helped fund this important camping weekend for the kids of military personnel stationed in Arizona. This inaugural weekend saw healthy veteran’s kids as well as dependent children who suffer from AIDS, asthma, autism, and blood disorders.” Max James emotionally added, “Our military families sacrifice so much for the good of our country, whether it’s the deployed troops, the spouses who hold down the fort at home or the innocent children simply trying to cope with an absent parent. The generosity of Tee It Up For The Troops is essential for us to continue to offer this kind of camping experience and we are eternally grateful to them.” For more information and ways that you can help Camp Soaring Eagle continue their mission, go to www.campsoaringeagle.org.