Last year when 17 Navy SEALS were killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan, Donna Prince, the program coordinator for the , was deeply moved.
"A lot of our children have parents in the military," said Prince, who works out of the caregiving and teaching organization's headquarters in Texas.
Prince and her team wanted to do something to recognize the patriotic contribution the parents of many of her young charges give to the country, so they started their own demi 'boot camp'.
"We talk about the military, and about real heroes, many of them the parents of our children," Prince said.
In , the boot camp for kids was held last week - appropriately enough, in time for Independence Day.
"The children loved it," enthused Lauren Melton, who is charge of the Woodbridge 'Lighthouse' on upper Main Street.
The list of activities the 33 children at the Woodbridge Children's Lighthouse engaged in was nothing if not comprehensive. They learn about military history, how the military tells time on a 24-hour scale, their uniforms, and what they do around the world.
There is also a child-sized 'obstacle course' for the kids to run, somewhat like what real life soldiers might do in boot camp.
"They learn about pride and patriotism," Melton said. Being that the camp was held during the week of 4th of July, the children engaged in arts and crafts with a patriotic flair.
Not forgetting the Navy SEALS, some children helped make a package to send to a solider on active duty, Prince said. The pacakges included "eyedrops, socks, and they write letters and thank you notes. They also make Freedom bracelets and flags."
"We also had a parade," Melton smiled. "It's a week's worth of activities on what the miliary and the Navy SEALS do."
"It's an awesome group," she added. "A great start to summer."