More than 40 children, many with parents or siblings who are deployed or about to be deployed for military service, took part in a week-long camp designed to provide support for children of Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers.

The camp, called "Homefront Challenge" and sponsored by the University of Maryland and the Maryland National Guard's Operation Military Kids, took place last month at the 74-acre Patuxent River 4-H Center in Upper Marlboro.

Participants fished, hiked and took canoe trips. The children also took part in a "Military Kids Speak Out" activity, in which they talked or wrote about their experiences as military dependents. Youth counselors who are also part of military families directed many of the week's activities.

"It's a really good opportunity for them," said Laura Gluck of Bel Air, Md., whose children, Savannah, 10, and Cory, 13, attended the camp. Gluck's husband is a member of the Maryland National Guard and served in Afghanistan.


Families attending the "Homefront Challenge" camp at the Patuxent River 4-H Center gather for an evening flag-lowering ceremony.Chris Canpos, 9, of Hanover, Pa., participates in a "Military Kids Speak Out" writing exercise. More than 40 children attended the camp.