Operation Military Kids (OMK)
The primary focus of the Utah Operation: Military Kids program is to provide support to geographically-dispersed military and families where they live. When geographically-dispersed Service Members are mobilized, their children suddenly become military kids. They still look the same to teachers, friends, and the rest of the community, but they are coping with sudden changes in their lives, and their families may not be sure how to access support services of the military. Military deployment is ongoing and supports both combat and non-combat operations. While the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is drawing down, geographically-dispersed Service Members will continue to be called upon to support both peacetime and conflict missions. The OMK program provides support to these youth and families throughout the deployment process and will focus primarily on the reintegration phase of deployment and promote resiliency in an effort to help military youth and families better navigate the up's and down's of military life.
In addition, Operation: Military Kids, as part of the 4-H/Army Youth Development Project, is a vital part of supporting the Army Family Covenant, the Army Community Covenant and the Army Soldier Family Action Plan.
The Utah Operation Military Kids (OMK) Team is supported by Utah State University Extension 4-H, Utah National Guard, U. S. Army Reserve, Boys & Girls Clubs, American Legion, Child Care Aware, Thanksgiving Point, as well as numerous community based organizations and volunteers.
Are you a educator that is looking for useful information on how to best support your military youth? Utah OMK has excellent SCHOOL RESOURCES for Educators! This page is full of great information such as, fostering resilience, the impact of the deployment cycle on youth and even has tips and tricks for teachers and administrators that will help you in the classroom.
Looking for something fun, free and educational for your military child to participate in? We have lots of great opportunities for you to check out! OMK events are held year round and are designed to help youth explore the world through fun hands on activities that teach life skills, promote resiliency and support military youth in the communities where they live. To register for an OMK camp or event or to see what's coming up, visit our CAMPS AND CLASSES LINK where activities are added all the time!
- Creating networks of people, organizations and other resources to support children and youth where they live.
- Delivering a wide range of recreational, social and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities. These events provide an opportunity for youth to be with others experiencing similar situations of having a parent deployed. Kids are able to discuss the impact of deployment, how to cope and how to talk about their issues when they arise, and most of all, enjoy being a kid!
- Acknowledging the strengths and sacrifices of military kids as everyday home front heroes.
- Supporting military kids coping with the stress of knowing their deployed parents may be in harm’s way.
- Educating the public on the impact of the deployment cycle on Soldiers, families, kids and the community as a whole.
For more on OMK in Utah, check out the
Hero Packs serve as a tangible expression of support for military families from their communities and OMK Partners. Hero Packs are backpacks filled by community members with mementos and items designed to help keep kids connected with their deployed parent. They are a way to hand-deliver a salute to military children & youth for their strength and sacrifices while parents are deployed. A Hero Pack project involves youth groups and adults in a valuable community service effort that builds awareness and fosters community support for geographically dispersed military families. A key feature of Hero Packs is the handwritten letter or card to the youth – if you would like to do a group or community service project of writing letters, which go into Hero Packs, we have some wonderful guidelines available for you.
Speak Out for Military Kids
- Dear Concerned Community Citizens
- Operation Military Kids Details
- SOMK Become one of the Team
- SOMK Team Application Form
Mobile Technology Labs
The labs are used to facilitate connections between deployed soldiers and the children & youth left behind. Any OMK partner such as The American Legion, Boys & Girls Clubs, Schools, 4-H can request and use the laptop computers, digital camera, video recorder, printer, scanner and the necessary software and materials for children and youth to send personal messages to their deployed loved one.
Military 4-H Clubs
In addition to OMK, 4-H partners with military installations around the world. When youth of active duty military parents move around the country and the world, 4-H and military staff work together with local communities in providing a consistent 4-H club focus on and off the military installations.
In the military culture, the word purple, indicates all branches of the service – Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine. Military 4-H and OMK reflect this effort through strong collaboration of youth, adults, schools, civic, military, and private organizations.
In local communities and worldwide, we all work together in providing a support network for Military Kids - the everyday heroes in our own backyards.
Operation Military Kids
Office: 435-634-2697 ext# 2247
check out events at
J. Kelly Barnes
4-H Youth Development Specialist
4-H Military Liason
3003 North Thanksgiving Way
Lehi, UT 84043