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!
Are you a state team member, military unit, FRSA or FRG that would like to request support from OMK at one of your upcoming events? If so, please let us know how we can help by filling out the OMK Event Support Request Form.
The mission of Utah OMK is to support geographically dispersed school-age youth (5-18) and families of National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Duty Soldiers’ in their own backyards. The program supports military youth throughout the deployment process and focuses primarily on the reintegration phase of deployment. The OMK program bolsters resiliency in an effort to help military youth and families better navigate the up’s and down’s of military life. This mission is achieved by:
--Creating community support networks for military youth where they live, “in their own backyards”.
--Delivering a wide range of recreational, social and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities.
--Promote awareness of the public on the impact of the deployment cycle on military members, families, children and the community as a whole.
--Collaborate with schools to ensure that staff is attuned to the unique needs of military students.
--Becomes a part of the ongoing deployment support services for military children and youth.
--Builds community capacity to support geographically dispersed military youth beyond the deployment period.
Although the focus of OMK is to support military children throughout the deployment process, all military youth are welcome. DoD Contractors that are overseas in support of a contingency, Wounded Warriors, Fallen Warriors and Veteran’s children are invited to participate in OMK camps and activities.
- 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.
The Operation: Military Kids program is built upon the Army Child, Youth & School Services Framework. The Four Services Areas of the OMK School-Age & Youth Program are:
Sports, Fitness & Health
The Utah OMK program offers programming options for youth to engage in fun physical programs, to develop life-long healthy habits, and to acquire the life skills needed to achieve a balanced lifestyle. Options introduce youth to a variety traditional and non-traditional physical activities through which youth learn sportsmanship, team-building, goal-setting, and self-discipline in a positive setting.
OMK opportunities offered are the “Get Fit-Be Strong” & “Up for the Challenge” programming as well as various other Fitness & Health Skill activities.
Arts, Recreation & Leisure Activities
Arts, Recreation and Leisure activities and programs are offered in subjects such as fine arts, to include performing arts, visual arts, and literary arts. Recreation and leisure program options promote an appreciation for hobbies and the importance of relaxation in daily life.
Family Events, Month of the Military Child, “Purple Up! For Military Kids” and OMK camps are an example of some of the activities offered.
Life Skills, Citizenship & Leadership Opportunities
Life Skills, Citizenship & Leadership Opportunities are infused throughout the program. This provides opportunities for youth to serve their communities, develop leadership skills, experience the democratic process, and acquire skills needed to become productive, caring, and contributing members of society.
Teen Councils such as YLEAD & ANGTP, Workforce/Career Preparation and Leadership & Citizenship Development opportunities help military youth build necessary Resiliency Skills and contribute to overall positive youth development.
Academic Support, Mentoring & Intervention Services
Academic Support, Mentoring and Intervention, services and assistance in the areas of homework help, tutoring, study, goal-setting, and research skills. Activities promote health and prevention education, and teach conflict resolution and peer mediation.
A popular programming option that Utah OMK offers are the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Camps for military youth. Military youth are able to participate in various activities such as Lego Robotics, OMK Tech Kit activities and hand’s-on science experiments.
For more on OMK in Utah, check out the
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