HomeNewsArticle Display

Operation Purple reconnects children, parents after deployments

Capt. Gregory Izdepski (center) and his family, Brent Wyatt (front), Jessica Wyatt (center right) and Alec Wyatt (back) take a lunch break in the Grand Teton National Park during Operation Purple Military Family Retreat March 20 in Jackson, Wyo. The camp, sponsored by National Military Family Association, is free and designed for families to reconnect after a parent has been deployed. (Courtesy photo)

Capt. Gregory Izdepski (center) and his family, Brent Wyatt (front), Jessica Wyatt (center right) and Alec Wyatt (back) take a lunch break in the Grand Teton National Park during Operation Purple Military Family Retreat March 20 in Jackson, Wyo. The camp, sponsored by National Military Family Association, is free and designed for families to reconnect after a parent has been deployed. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- It wasn't a typical cross country skiing race where skill and speed are factors. In this race, it was all about cooperation.

Three children and two parents, lined up like a caterpillar with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them, inching along in unison and trying not to trip one another while racing toward the finish line.

"We all really worked well together, I noticed," said Alec Wyatt, 11, who won that ski relay with his teammates -- brother Brent Wyatt, 17, sister Jessica Wyatt, 13, and parents Karen and Capt. Gregory Izdepski. The ski race was one of dozens of events at Operation Purple Military Family Retreat in Jackson Wyo., March 19 to 23 designed specifically for military families to reconnect after one or both parents have been deployed.

Captain Izdepski of the Rapid Reaction Squadron at Air Force Space Command had been deployed from June 2009 to January 2010.

"I enjoyed getting outside again with the family," Captain Izdepski said.

His family spent five days in the Grand Teton National Park, which is just south of Yellowstone National Park. They saw moose, elk, big horn sheep and even spied on trumpet swans late at night by moonlight. They hiked, skied and played games.

"As soon as I read about (the camp), I knew that it was totally for our family," said Mrs. Izdepski, the sexual assault response coordinator assistant at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "I think the winter months scare some people away, but we love snow activities."

Operation Purple started in 2004 with the slogan, "Kids serve too!" Sponsored by the National Military Family Association, Operation Purple includes family retreats and summer camps. To date, more than 30,000 military children have participated in Operation Purple programs.

The family retreat in Wyoming included hiking, skiing, visiting a wildlife refuge and night hiking.

"I loved the location," Brent said. "It was such a beautiful place. The Tetons are just gorgeous."

A key aspect of the Operation Purple program is allowing military children to talk about how they feel about a parent's deployment. At Operation Purple Camp in Wyoming, military family life consultants checked in with all of the families to make sure everyone was handling deployments and the stress that can come with it. At camp Shady Brook this summer, military officers will talk with children about their role in their parents' deployments.

"National Military Family runs an absolutely amazing program," Ms. Izdepski said. "We got backpacks, hats water bottles, purple wrist bands; everything was first rate. It was not only an opportunity for us to be together, but they checked in on us. It was definitely taking care of families in that regard."

Jessica said she liked all the games that her family played and the time the family spent together.

"My mom actually said at the end, I'm going to miss seeing so much of you guys because usually we get home and we spread out and do our individual things," Jessica said. "But, with this we got to spend so much time together, all the time. That was fun."

Camp Shady Brook is located on 140 acres in the Pike National Forest. Sign up online at www.militaryfamily.org, click on programs, Operation Purple Camps, traditional camps, Sedalia, Colo. The camp is limited to 110 youth.

Engage

Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: Every inch, quart, and pound matters to the @grandslamwing EMXS Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory flight! The enti…
Twitter
.@USAF_ACC & @PACAF Airmen are practicing dynamic force employment ops during Exercise Pacific Iron. This training… https://t.co/tVThyHIDh2
Twitter
An F-16 Fighting Falcon received an in-flight software update during an Advanced Battle Management System demo at… https://t.co/PNPrxVTntf
Twitter
.@AFResearchLab is building an advanced high-power microwave weapon system to defend against increasing threats of… https://t.co/EoVbWbTIR4
Twitter
RT @Travis60AMW: Smoke on the water... or flight line... or whatever Deep Purple said 🎸 Yes, it does look this cool every time. 😎 https:/…
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force’s Chief Architect Office integrated commercial technologies to achieve decision sup… https://t.co/ddoCJB8fRF
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Using Agile Combat Employment concepts, the @147thAttackWing transported MQ-9 aircraft/equipment over 450 miles from Hous…
Twitter
Juniper Falcon has ended. This in-person opportunity for U.S. military personnel and Israel Defense Forces to test… https://t.co/Enx1S0rI9X
Twitter
C-130 Hercules crews @374AirliftWing, Japan, helped @USArmy soldiers and @JASDF_PAO members drop from the sky durin… https://t.co/bHIdKk7yJv
Twitter
RT @GeorgiaGuard: #ICYMI: Members of the @165thAW had the opportunity to be a part of taking cadets from the Georgia Wing, Civil Air Patro…
Twitter
#ICYMI - Following guidance issued by the @CDCgov, the @DeptofDefense has directed employees working in areas of hi… https://t.co/3RUlbWvMNS
Twitter
Defenders at @EielsonAirForce Base, AK, are in a new weapons qualification course for defenders, rookies and vetera… https://t.co/jcahFIcT8J
Twitter
Excellence in all we do! https://t.co/Cp9gZucoz3
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Accelerate, Change, or Lose: @GenCQBrownJr's call to action for the service and how Airmen can play a key role in #innovation
Twitter
Dover AFB Airmen transported 2 CH-47F Chinook helicopters to Royal Australian Air Force Base, Townsville, Australia… https://t.co/yc1fOZc3Lr
Twitter
A Cyber Operations Specialty Training and Requirements Team conference was held recently at @81trwKeeslerAFB, Miss.… https://t.co/kXMAUz5xGd
Twitter
.@HQ_AFMC released an additional $5M in support of "The AFMC We Need" initiative, empowering #Airmen to be a drivin… https://t.co/yFRwx625C5
Twitter
RT @NORADCommand: #BTF deployments are an integral part of our globally integrated defense operations that provide left-of-launch #Deterren
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall’s message to #Airmen & #Guardians on our collective responsibility to overcome COVID-19 ⬇️ For resources…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Good enough today will fail tomorrow. #acceleratechangeorlose https://t.co/5dAU3Q9Ouy
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,355,518
Follow Us