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Little Warriors

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Little Warrior’sbrCamp is a special weekend outdoor experience for the children, survivingbrspouse, and parents of a fallen Utah service member. Its purpose isn’t just forbrthe kids, it also brings together families who are in similar situations.

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Comforting relationshipsbrare a byproduct of this outdoor gathering. Camp Wapiti, a 50-acre mountainbrretreat operated by the Utah Elks, is located up Settlement Canyon above thebrtown of Tooele, Utah.  The facilitiesbrinclude numerous cabins that can accommodate up to 12 people each, a diningbrhall that can seat 250 people, numerous other buildings for various purposes,brand a large swimming pool. The camp is continually scheduled April throughbrOctober. The weekend after Pioneer Day Camp Wapiti becomes Little Warriors Camp.br

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Camp Wapiti is abrsafe place for children and spouses of those who have made the ultimatebrsacrifice for their country, no one is going to ask difficult questions or makebrcruel comments about their loss in their lives. The Little Warrior’s Camp is abrplace where they can regain their childhood for a little while. They can playbrskill and entertainment games, eat plenty of good food, and interact withbrcaring volunteer staff and personnel overseen by Robert (Bob) Pagnani who trulybrput the children first. 

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The camp opened at 3brp.m. Friday for registration, a tee-shirt, and a Little Warrior’s backpack thatbrcontains, among other things, a Walkie Talkie with batteries, a history book bybrRush Limbaugh and a blank journal for taking notes compliments of the Rush LimbaughbrFoundation. Soccer practice, basketball, and horseback riding were availablebruntil dinner time. Dinner was provided by McCoy’s Flooring and Cabinets. Thebrevening meal consisted of corn on the cob, garlic bread, spaghetti andbrmeatballs, followed by a chocolate brownie and ice cream. After dinner thebrgroup gathered at the amphitheater for a group picture. Sixty-one LittlebrWarrior’s registered, were supported by about 20 volunteers. 

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Saturday breakfast,brlunch and dinner were provided by the Wal Mart Distribution Center inbrGrantsville. Breakfast was all you can eat breakfast casserole, french toastbrcasserole and choice of white or chocolate milk. After breakfast came the Flagbrraising ceremony by a unit of the Tooele Marine Corp. The rest of the morning hadbra long list of available activities to choose from. The activities included; BBbrGun Trailer and Climbing Wall brought by the National Guard, a Zip Line, Waterbrslide, Swimming, an art painting class, basketball, and an astronomicalbrtelescope focused on the moon. Then there was a lunch break that provided abrhuge subway type sandwich and chips. A well-known local TV character, CowboybrKen provided some additional amusement. Then it was back to fun and games forbrthe rest of the afternoon. The evening meal was a salad, string beans, corn,brSalisbury steak, and potatoes. Later in the evening classic smores were createdbrat the amphitheater fire pit and everyone thought that was great fun.

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Sunday started withbran 8-9 a.m. continental breakfast. Swimming was available until 11 a.m. Then itbrwas clean -p and farewell to new and old friends. What a wonderful familybrweekend for veterans’ kids and families who have lost a loved one killed inbraction, committed suicide related to PTSD or passed away while on active duty.brPresently Utah has over 300 kids and families that fall in this category. ThebrLittle Warriors Camp 2019 was the sixth year of this much needed andbrappreciated event. It was free to those who have lost family members in thebrservice of our country. (Ed and Janice Helmick are Serve Daily contributors.

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