HomeAboutMembershipProgramsPublicationsNews & EventsLegislationHomeAboutMembershipProgramsPublicationsNews & EventsLegislation

Family Programs >> Family Programs Update Archive >> 2006 Archive - Family Programs Update >> March 15, 2006 Email this... Email    Print this Print

March 15, 2006

Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 5

This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to type “subscribe” in the subject line.

In This Issue

  • Operation Purple Summer Camp Program - FREE
  • Military Spouses: NMFA Scholarships are for You!
  • Families - Big Emphasis is on Child Care
  • Are Military Children Heading to Crowded Schools?
  • How to Help Children Cope with Grief
  • AAFES: "We'll Match It!"
  • AAFES: Local Exchanges Use E-Mail to Reach Troops, Families
  • America Supports You" Toyota Helps Guardsmen, Reservists Find Jobs
  • Mobilize to Protect Health Care Benefits
  • TRICARE For Life Picks up Bills after Medicare
  • Military Families Need Your Support
  • Troubled Soldiers Turn to Chaplains for Help
  • DoD Launches Public Awareness Campaign Against Domestic Violence
  • The $30,000 Question: Cash Now or Bigger Retirement Later

Operation Purple Summer Camp Program - FREE
The National Military Family Association (NMFA) announces its 2006 Operation Purple FREE residential camps for all children from all branches of the Uniformed Services. NMFA developed this free residential camp program, which is sponsored this year by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance, in response to the need for increased support for military children, especially those whose parents are or will be deployed. Operation Purple, offers children the opportunity to experience nature, develop friendships, learn life skills and enhance their self esteem. Each camp is “purple”, meaning it is open to children of any member of the uniformed services including National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and United States Public Health Service plus the Air National Guard and Reserve. Families are encouraged to apply to the location closest to their home as transportation costs are not covered. If you want to take advantage of this excellent camping opportunity, registration begins March 15th and ends May 1st. . . . Visit the National Military Family website , click on the Purple Camp closet to where you live, download the application form(s), complete, and follow mailing instructions. Applications will also be available at .

Military Spouses: NMFA Scholarships are for You!
The National Military Family Association is now accepting applications for the NMFA Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program. Any uniformed service spouse—active, retired, National Guard, Reserve or survivor—studying toward professional certification or attending post-secondary or graduate school is encouraged to apply. For more information please visit the following site:

Families – Big Emphasis on Child Care
Child care across the Defense Department isn’t what it should be. Despite the fact that there are some 800 military child development centers in 300 locations around the world, there are still not enough to go around. The Defense Department’s Office of Children and Youth estimates there is a shortage of about 31,000 child care “seats” across the globe. More on this story at:

Are Military Children Heading to Crowded Schools?
At the March 1 hearing of the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, NMFA and several other agencies and organizations presented testimony requesting funds for their various causes. One of the more interesting testimonies supported NMFA’s concern for the communities affected by
Global repositioning and BRAC. For more information click:

How to Help Children Cope with Grief
Millions of children - military and civilian - across in the United States are affected by the loss of a parent. The adults who love them are often at a loss about how to help. The Children's Grief Education Association (CGEA) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing grief education and support to bereaved children, their families and professionals. For information about this please go to this site:

AAFES “We’ll Match It!”
AAFES new program “We’ll Match It!” promotes AAFES as a price leader with a pledge that retail stores will match competitors’ current, local price on any identical stock assortment. In addition to this same-day pledge, AAFES also offers a 30-day price guarantee on any item originally purchased from AAFES and subsequently sold at a lower price by AAFES, or another local competitor (excluding unauthorized dealers and warehouse clubs). Even with consistent monitoring, AAFES found it necessary to institute a program that would ensure that, in the event AAFES doesn’t have the lowest price; authorized customers always receive the best price. Today’s “We’ll Match It!” effort works in two ways, for details please visit this site:

AAFES: Local Exchanges Use E-Mail to Reach Troops, Families
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is using e-mail technology to tailor how it reaches out to troops and their families by offering subscribers the chance to opt in to a new service through targeted, local messages. AAFES’ “Buddy List” effort began as a way for local PX/BX facilities to provide store specific information directly to authorized shoppers’ inboxes. E-mail topics range from upcoming celebrity appearances to special sales exclusive to “Buddy List” members. “This has been a great way to keep service members and their families connected to the PX/BX,” said Senior Vice President Eastern Region Julie Zills. “Instead of a general, national promotion we can now let customers know what’s going on at their local Exchange just by sending out a quick e-mail.” Local contact information is available under the “Store Locator” link at

America Supports You: Toyota Helps Guardsmen, Reservists Find Jobs
Don Esmond, a Vietnam War hero, walked into Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, Calif., one day in early 2004 and told the staff he wanted the company to develop a hiring program for guardsmen and reservists returning to civilian life from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea from Esmond, Toyota's senior vice president of automotive operations and a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran, turned into the Toyota and Lexus "Hire-a-Hero" program, launched in September 2004. Read story details at:

Mobilize to Protect Health Care Benefits
There is no question that rising health care costs are a serious and growing problem for both the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs. The administration’s proposals would sharply raise TRICARE enrollment fees and co-pays for military retirees under age 65, and create new enrollment fees and higher co-pays for veterans with at least modest incomes and no service-connected medical conditions. Click here to read the full article:

TRICARE for Life Picks up Bills after Medicare
Medicare for 2006 has a cap on the amount it will cover for treatments such as physical therapy. Under TRICARE for Life, will TRICARE pick up where Medicare leaves off? Indeed, it will. TRICARE for Life consists of full Medicare benefits plus full TRICARE benefits. It is not a Medicare supplement. A supplement is a specially written policy designed to bolster the coverage of a primary policy. For the full story:

Military Families Need Your Support Says General Schwarzkopf
An article authored by General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Ret) recently appeared in the Myrtle Beach Sun News. It provides an excellent reminder of the daily sacrifices our military families are making and the services available to them through the Armed Services YMCA. For the full article click:

Troubled Soldiers Turn to Chaplains for Help
Army chaplains have always been trustworthy confidants who help soldiers grapple with dark moral dilemmas in war's aftermath. Now, the Army's 1,400 chaplains are carving out an expanded role, working to keep soldiers mentally healthy and military families together amid the extraordinary strains of war. The top brass is aiming to recruit nearly 600 more chaplains to serve in the next five years. Like soldiers, they are assigned to units and deploy with them. In battle zones, chaplains are on the scene to counsel soldiers when they return from patrol. More on this story:

DoD Launches Public Awareness Campaign Against Domestic Violence
The Department of Defense (DoD), in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), is launching a national public awareness campaign to "Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence." The campaign is designed as an intervention message to educate military members and their families about domestic violence and to provide a vital link to life-saving services by connecting them to the hotline. For more information click:

The $30,000 Question: Cash Now or Bigger Retirement Later
If you’re approaching your 15th anniversary in uniform, the Pentagon is offering a deal with the devil: $30,000 cash now in exchange for reduced retirement benefits later. The offer is simple. But deciding which option to choose is likely one of the most important and complicated financial decisions of a service member’s life. Financial experts suggest that only a very few people will actually make out better with the bonus — and only if they invest the cash wisely for the long term. Taking the money will make sense if, for example, you are confident you can serve 30 years in uniform, instead of the usual 20. Or if you can shield some or all of bonus. Complete story details click: