My name is Cameron Campbell, and I am the Lead Child and Youth Coordinator for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. I have been in the Child and Youth Program (CYP) for 5 years. I started as a Youth Coordinator for the Iowa Army National Guard and then was promoted to be the Wisconsin lead in 2016. With a bachelor’s degree in youth programming, I have been leading youth programs in a professional and volunteer role since 2006.
I am not a person who speaks about my connection with the military very often. I never served, and when I was a child, I never sensed the impact of having a dad in the military. I never sensed this because I didn’t know him. My dad is a Vietnam veteran, and I’ve seen him twice in my life. What I now sense from the lack of a father is nothing compared to the challenges that youth of military families go through.
As the social and communal climate changes for the youth they begin to adapt. This can take form in many ways. Since I work in youth programming, my hope is that this adaptation is a growth within themselves and their family unit. There are times that there is a greater struggle with separation and change that leads to apathy, anger, and depression. If the change begins to curve in this direction, it is important to seek professional advice from your physician.
Let’s look at something simple to portray how change can affect our normal social and communal climate. If you look at a stream of water, you will see a normal flow to its path. What happens when you place a large rock within that path? The water will be displaced at some point to compensate for the new object. But the overall path is not the same anymore. The water molds around the rock, and it becomes part of the path. We are presented with a decision when an obstacle is placed within our life. Are we going to mold around it and accept the change to grow from it? Or, are we going to continue to resist it as a dam in our stream? Take the path of least resistance and learn from these obstacles that are placed in your path. I’m not going to lie and say there will not be change when there is an obstacle placed in your life. There will be change. Always remember that anyone can adapt to their new surroundings just like when a stream of water molds to its new path.
Milly Burmesch the WI CYP State Teen Panel president adapted to her surroundings and remains strong. “It is during this month that I am connected with all military youth, not only throughout the state, but the entire country. Although every military youth has had their own experiences and struggles, we are all in this together. Celebration of military youth during this month is not only important to allow this connection to grow, but also to show that every individual is appreciated. It is this month that excites me to share a little bit of purple from my life into the world.”
April is the Month of the Military Child and is dedicated to recognizing the youth that go through a lot more than I did. They can be constantly put through a motion of change throughout their childhood. They must adapt more often and bounce back from multiple obstacles as a military family. Their age is not an indicator that they will forget or not be affected. The youth in a military family are not to be forgotten for their sacrifice. These youth make up the military family and I ask you to help recognize them in April, and beyond, for the challenges that they must endure.