Operation CHAMPS Defends Itself Against False Criticisms
BETHESDA, MD, November 24, 2014 – Operation CHAMPS, a nonprofit organization that provides free babysitting services to families of wounded warriors and other military and veteran families, defended itself today against a spate of harsh, unfair and incorrect assertions on social media that Operation CHAMPS was trying to supplant or undercut the widely used term BRATS to describe the children of military and veteran families.
“CHAMP” stands for Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel. The acronym was coined in the popular children’s book The Little CHAMPS, which extols the virtues of military life and spotlights challenges children face in military families. Sales of The Little CHAMPS book help cover the costs of programs, training and overhead of the nonprofit organization Operation CHAMPS. (www.operationchamps.org).
In recent weeks, Operation CHAMPS’ Facebook pages, Twitter and email accounts have been barraged by accusations that Operation CHAMPS was trying to substitute “CHAMPS” for the widely used term “BRATS” in public discourse as a way to describe the children of those who serve in the United States military. Jennifer Fink, CEO of Operation CHAMPS, called those assertions “unfounded, uninformed and untrue.”
“The members of Operation CHAMPS understand that many children of military and veteran families proudly call themselves BRATS. We also understand that many people in the civilian and military-connected communities see the term brat in a less favorable light,” Fink added. “Neither the book, The Little CHAMPS, nor the organization it supports, Operation CHAMPS, intend in any way to replace BRATS as a term in wide usage or to demean the term in the minds of the public or the people who proudly call themselves military BRATS. The acronym CHAMPS in no way rejects or denigrates the term BRATS. Operation CHAMPS exists to provide necessary support and gratitude for military-connected children and their families.”
Operation CHAMPS Calls for Unity as Nonprofit Closes
Pro Bono Babysitting and Educational Programs for Children of Military Families End
BETHESDA, MD, December 10, 2014 – Operation CHAMPS, which provides programs including free babysitting services to families of Wounded Warriors and other military and veteran families, has decided to shut down. Following is a statement from CEO Jennifer Fink:
After weeks of deliberation and conversations with supporters who share our commitment to champion the needs of military-connected children, we have decided that it is time to conclude the Operation CHAMPS project. We have reached this decision reluctantly, following weeks of escalated divisive attacks from a group of adult children of military Servicemembers, which began as a difference of opinion regarding terminology.
The criticism arose from Operation CHAMPS referring to children of military families as “CHAMPS” rather than “BRATS.” Whether today’s military kids are referred to – by themselves, their parents, or others – as “BRATS,” “CHAMPS,” or any other term, we believe that today’s children of military Servicemembers make heroic sacrifices and deserve the undivided support of the American people.
Operation CHAMPS has since become the target of distorted and increasingly abusive accusations on Facebook, Twitter, and email. Volunteers of the organization have been threatened, and Operation CHAMPS’ supporters have been besieged with emails and posts requesting that they withdraw their endorsements and support. As a result, Operation CHAMPS has decided to close its doors.
In a few short years, Operation CHAMPS has brought together countless military-connected and civilian volunteers of all ages to support these kids. As a 100% volunteer-run, alliance-based organization, we have much to be proud of, including:
- Providing thousands of hours of volunteer service and free babysitting to families of Wounded Warriors, Servicemembers, and veterans;
- Delivering morale-building, uplifting educational programming through live performances to thousands of elementary school-aged children in the United States and abroad; and,
- Distributing copies of The Little CHAMPS book to children throughout the United States and abroad at no cost to their families.
We hope that in the absence of Operation CHAMPS, the military-connected community can refocus on the shared goal of channeling our nation’s support of the men and women in uniform into tangible help for their families. We challenge the adult Brats who have put so much energy casting aspersions on Operation CHAMPS and its supporters to now redirect their attention and resources to constructively serve the young people they believe only they can represent.
Finally, we want to thank the many individuals, organizations, and corporations who joined us in this effort.
We will always remember your support for the many, many deserving children and families whose lives we were able to enrich together.
Founder & CEO