LIT­TLE WAR­RIORS

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Some are wait­ing for their par­ents to re­turn; some will never see them again. Chil­dren of all ages, from all races and across so­cio-eco­nomic classes. As dif­fer­ent as they are, they all have one thing in com­mon: they are the chil­dren of the brave men and women who pro­tect our coun­try, who serve this great na­tion in the armed forces. Dur­ing the week­end of July 24-26, vol­un­teers from the Utah Elks As­so­ci­a­tion, Dug­way Medics, BML Con­struc­tion, Con­tinue Mis­sion, Hand in Hand, Sur­vivors Out­reach, Home De­pot and Wal­mart (to name a few) helped pro­vide the Lit­tle War­riors Camp free of charge to these chil­dren.

The camp of­fers three days of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties and recre­ation. There are all kinds of ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams for our sol­diers and vet­er­ans, but it is al­ways the chil­dren who get left out. The Utah Elks and other or­ga­ni­za­tions wanted to in­clude the chil­dren as they also sac­ri­fice for their coun­try. In 2014, the first year of the camp, 17 war­riors and their guardians par­tic­i­pated. This year, there were 52 par­tic­i­pants as well as their guardians and vol­un­teers, to­taled well over 100. The Lit­tle War­riors were able to en­joy a mini sum­mer camp in the hills above Tooele called Camp Wapiti. But thanks to the con­tri­bu­tions of time, money and prod­ucts, scores of vol­un­teers were able to di­rectly im­pact the lives of these chil­dren.

The kids en­joyed swimming, fish­ing, a BB gun range, arts and crafts, s’mores and lots and lots of food. For many, the fish­ing was the big­gest draw, in­tro­duc­ing many chil­dren who had never dipped lines in the wa­ter to the joy of the sport. For many of these chil­dren, those who have lost a loved one to war or sui­cide be­cause of war, their lives are any­thing but nor­mal. The Utah Elks and many vol­un­teers will con­tinue with this re­treat and hope­fully bring some bright­ness and joy to the kids and their fam­i­lies, said Robert “Papa” Pag­nani, Utah Elks vet­er­ans chair­man.

The Utah Elks As­so­ci­a­tion along with other or­ga­ni­za­tions and vol­un­teers con­ducted the lit­tle War­riors Camp dur­ing July for the chil­dren of those who serve our coun­try in the armed forces.

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