By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Losing a loved one is difficult for anyone but it is especially difficult for children who lose a parent to war.
Enter Bridget Blehm, the president and CEO of For Families of Active Military. In addition to bringing active military to the mountain for a bit of R&R, Blehm has hosted Gold Star Moms for the past four years – treating women who have lost their husbands to some much-needed pampering – and, for the second year, has hosted the Gold Star Kids Camp.
This year, 20 children and eight mothers attended the camp. The children ranged in age from 4 to 16.
When they arrived at camp, they headed to Lake Arrowhead Pizza deli for dinner on the back patio. “They buddied up pretty quickly,” Blehm said, “and played games in the arcade before we had dinner.”
The dinner was followed by a candlelight tribute to their fathers, with a focus on the children’s own resiliency.
Back at the camp, Blehm said, they watched A Nightmare Before Christmas on a 16-foot outdoor movie screen.
While at camp, the children wrote holiday letters to veterans.
Then on Sunday, the day started with pancakes, eggs, bacon and fruit. The children cleaned up their cabins and packed up the cars. After breakfast the group headed to SkyPark at Santa’s Village for the day.
Later in November, from Nov. 17 to 19, Blehm will host another group of Gold Star Moms. Her plan is to cook a turkey and have the mothers make their children’s favorite side dishes.
For more information on For Families of Active Military, visit www.ffamsocal.org.