USDA and the Military Support Youth through Positive Youth Development
Through their numerous collaborative programs, the USDA and the military have been able to impact the lives of youth across the nation and on military instillations throughout the world. For example:
- 4-H Military Clubs provide opportunities for 30,000 military-connected youth in 47 states and two territories annually.
- In 2011, 33,229 children of armed forces families participated as members of 4-H Clubs through the Army, Navy, and Air Force Youth Development Projects. These included 13,076 children of Army families, 3,261 children of Navy families, and 16,892 children of Air Force families.
- 1,059 military-connected youth attended adventure camps in 2011.
- The Military Extension Internship Program has placed 155 students from 90 universities on 28 Army installations, 17 Navy bases, and 33 Air Force bases, both in the United States and abroad. The program is currently resulting in a hiring rate of 25 percent of eligible interns into military child care programs.
- In 2011, Project YES! supported 100 events in 25 states and Guam, reaching 2,572 children and youth. Organizations served included the Air and Army National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, Army and Navy Reserve, Operation: Military Kids, and the Wounded Warrior Program.
- In fiscal year 2011, 9,201 children and youth from all branches of service participated in OMK camps, resulting in a total of 9,949 hours of camp programming in 260 camps.
- A 2011 evaluation conducted by Virginia Tech University on Operation: Military Kids shows the following:
- Almost 80 percent of service members with children under 18 years of age, or their family members, have participated in at least one of the support programs, services, and activities offered through the military.
- Ninety percent of participating service members reported that they believed the support programs, services, or activities had met the needs of their families, and 71 percent reported that the programs had a positive impact on their decision to remain in the military.
- Of youth who participated in a summer camp supported by the collaboration, 59 percent reported having lower stress levels related to dealing with a family member’s deployment.
- Of the spouses of service members, 79 percent reported that the programs, services, and activities have helped them and their children support their service member’s military readiness and commitment.