Homefront Challenge Camp
By TSgt. Chris Schepers, 175th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 24, 2011
Harford County, MD -- Rock State Park in Jarrettsville, Maryland became the home for 55 military kids from the Homefront Challenge Camp. The weeklong camp is held for any child who has a parent serving in the Maryland Army or Air National Guard. This is the fifth year of the camp and the fourth year at Rock State Park. For some of the 55 campers, including 45 ages seven to 12 and approximately 10 junior counselors ages 13 to 18, the week was filled with countless activities that gave them the opportunity to meet and socialize with other military kids.
"It's all about the kids and making them aware that they are not alone when it comes to the sacrifices that they make by being in a military family," said Beth Stoddard, state youth coordinator for the Army and Air National Guard and the camp coordinator.
About 50 percent of the kids have a parent that is currently deployed. From the volunteers, to the special guests that spoke with the campers and the visit from the Gaddis sisters, the camp works to show the campers that they have a support system and people looking out for them.
Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, the adjutant general of Maryland, and Brig. Gen. Allyson R. Solomon, the assistant adjutant general for Air, both stopped by to say hello and speak with the campers.
The Gaddis Sisters, Cassy and Alyssa, were invited to perform and speak with the campers. The sisters are a traveling duo that performs at camps all over the United States. They were very popular guest at the camp as they brought a message of positivity through their music. They performed their songs, "Price of Peace" and "Sticks and Stones".
"We use our music to help these kids and connect with them as military kids", said Cassy Gaddis. The Gaddis sisters grew up in military family. Their father is a member of the Illinois National Guard.
The Homefront Challenge Camp campers engaged in a variety of activities. There were arts and crafts activities, recreational games such as soccer, kickball, football and archery just to name a few. One evening there was a carnival where the campers could attempt to dunk someone in the dunk tank, get their face painted and enjoy a carnival favorite, cotton candy.