Stokes County camp supports military children

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- It’s estimated that since 9/11, more than two million American service members have been deployed -- and about 44 percent of them are parents.

Their families make tremendous sacrifices, including those involving their children.

Throughout this week, Camp Corral at YMCA Camp Hanes in Stokes County is offering a fun-filled week for military kids ages 8-15.

The camp is specifically for children of military families, giving priority to children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members.

“When you think about a military family and you think about the service, the children are drafted. The parents, they volunteer for that service. They sign-up for that service,” Val Elliott, executive director of YMCA Camp Hanes, said.

“We’ll see campers that have moved eight to 10 times and that can be very challenging,” Elliott added.

And along with moving, the distance itself is tough.

Twin sisters Madison Lyon and Caitlin Lyon have gone as long as a year without seeing their dad, who serves in the United States Army.

“We would get to see each other on a computer and we used to do phone or letters,” Madison said.

As young as some of the kids may be, they understand and are proud of their parents’ sacrifices.

The camp has given them support.

"It makes me feel good because I know that I’m not alone. I'm not the only one who is going through all this,” Josiah Smith said.

“They get to tell me about their dads,” Caitlin Lyon said.

Camp Corral is held at locations across the United States. Golden Corral is the founding sponsor.