Heroes Camp gives children of active duty service members the experience of a lifetime. It’s a week-long Y.M.C.A. camp and it's nearly free of charge.
Watching Sophia Davidson dance, you'd have no idea how much the eight-year-old girl is missing her dad.
“He used to tuck me in. I miss him cooking a big dinner and having fun,” said Davidson.
Her father has been deployed on the USS Abraham Lincoln for about six months. That can feel like an eternity to a child, just ask Sophia's brother, Sam.
“He's been gone for a long time. I forgot how long,” said Sam, who’s 11 years old.
Summer camp helps pass the time until their dad comes home. Of the 110 campers, about two thirds have parents on active duty. Many are from Lemoore. Thanks to a special grant, it only costs $15 dollars for a one-week stay that usually runs $500.
“Military kids move around, their parents are deployed, they're dealing with different things. So here we just have an environment where they can just be themselves,” said camp director, Shannon Edwards.
14-year-old Ashley Chappell's dad is a captain in the army reserves and has been deployed several times.
“I think it affects my attitude towards other people because it made me tougher than some kids,” said Chappell.
At camp, kids don't have to talk about being in a military family, and sometimes it's better that way.
“I don't really talk about it because I don't want to get very emotional. Some of my friends, their dads are on the boat too and I don't want to get us all sad and stuff,” said Davidson.
It's no coincidence the camp falls during the week of the Fourth of July. Independence Day will be celebrated with a big carnival.