Operation C.H.A.M.P.s’ USO Tour Kicks Off in Japan

After a recent reading of her book “The Little C.H.A.M.P.s – Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel,” author Debbie Fink overheard two fourth grade girls discussing an all-too-familiar story.

Debbie Fink, co-author of “The Little C.H.A.M.P.s – Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel,” speaks to kids at Fort Meade, Md., on Oct. 25. Fink launched her USO tour in Japan this week. USO Photo by Mike Theiler

One CHAMP asked her civilian classmate what it’s like not having to move all the time. The girl said she liked staying in one place because she could keep the same friends and live in the same house.

The CHAMP admitted she’d never experience anything like that, but quickly found the silver lining, pointing out how excited she is each time she gets to redecorate her room.

With a new understanding of each other, they both agreed to give the book four out of four stars.

“The Little C.H.A.M.P.s” follows the lives of five fictional military children, celebrating their families’ service and sacrifice to our country while showing how they cope with the challenges associated with military life. The book aims to build a bridge of understanding between military kids and their civilian peers.

For the next two weeks, author Debbie Fink will be on a whirlwind tour of Japan and Okinawa “edu-taining” and delivering support and comfort to 6,000 CHAMPS currently living in the Pacific. The USO has teamed with Fink to provide the book free of charge to children in military families in an attempt to prepare them for the ups and downs of life as a dependent.

According to Fink, one of the key drives for the initiative and the inspiration for the book was the Defense Department’s Strengthening our Military Families report. The report says military children in public schools don’t feel like their peers or teachers understand them.

“We have to change that,” Fink said. “We will change that. Child by child, classroom by classroom, school by school, we can make a difference.”

As an Andrews Sisters wannabe (they clocked in 1,000 USO performances supporting our troops), Fink says she can’t think of a greater honor as a civilian than to go on tour with the USO. Fink wants to share some of this momentous experience with readers on Twitter, where they can follow her 25 performances at 13 schools, on Facebook, where they can track her adventures and like her page, and on her blog at OperationCHAMPS.org.

“We hope that by sharing, it will help build a bridge of understanding between our civilian and military worlds,” she said. “We surely owe this — and much more — to our military families.”

–Story by Joseph Andrew Lee, USO staff writer

8 thoughts on “Operation C.H.A.M.P.s’ USO Tour Kicks Off in Japan

  1. Military childs teach about their experience of life, that include play with responsabilities, play with a will that is of men, a carather already formed. They are more prepared to life and to a live that is not usual, but done them saticsfation, the best of whom is to be soldiers of today and tomorrow or military caregivers or more others. They are little big men we admire and respect. claudio alpaca

  2. BUT Why, Why are you calling us CHAMPS? We are Brats! The idea is great, But you are taking the Liberty of changing our Names! Do the REAL Brats get a say in this???

  3. The book that Debbie and Jen Fink have written is offensive to all of us Brats. We have a proud history and are not to be pitied by someone like the Finks who do not understand our culture or identity. It would appear that this is a big money maker for them. Ask us Brats what we want to be called. We are proud Brats NOT CHAMPs. It is a huge disapppintment that the USO would support this and spend so much money on a campaign that actually is so offensive to us.

  4. I cannot believe the USO is supporting this. We are proud to be called BRATS. I haven’t seen a Brat yet who agrees with this new branded designation. We are not heroes and should not have that burden placed on our shoulders. Why won’t you listen to us? If anyone can be a hero then it loses all meaning. We are quite resilient, adaptive, strong people. Acting like these children are fragile little things does nobody any good—they are stronger than you could ever imagine and that you will give them credit for. They will look back with pride on the Brat label and realize what a fraud the champ label is.

  5. Shame on the USO for trying to steal our heritage so the finks can make a fortune for themselves. May someone should have talked to the BRATS

  6. Telling these kids they are heroes is wrong, you’re setting them up for identity crisis later in life, as well as bullying by civilian kids at every opprotunity. These kids will be called chumps n chimps and exposed to ridicule for calling themselves heroes as they are not heroes,their parent or parents are. The term BRAT is not now nor has it ever been derogatory when used in connection to a military child. It is a badge of honor and pride that we BRATS carry throughout our lives. The term BRAT is never made fun of by any civilian kids or adults. I am so proud of my BRAT status I actually have “ARMY BRAT” tattooed on my shoulder. I really don’t understand how the USO or any other military organization would support any attempt by ” civilians “to change anything that pertains to BRATS or any military related issues? These people haven’t a clue as to what it takes or how to deal with any of the issues they write about in these books. Before writing on a subject you know absolutely NOTHING about, you should probably confer with the people who have lived it, know it and thrived through it. After all if you didn’t live it you can’t possibly get it!!!! I hope the voices of my fellow BRATS as well as my own will not go unnoticed? After all, if you truly care about those little brats coming up through the “ranks” you would truly want to do what’s best and cause no further harm?

  7. Your book doesn’t do a darn thing except generate you dollars under a guise of a non-profit selling books they own and publish. In the example you show above, you are SEEING the resiliency and adaptability of a military brat. I too remember that excitement of being able to choose a new room and to decorate it differently. And as we moved around, who got first ‘dibs’ on a room was always rotated among the siblings. There are a LOT of military sponsored sites to help connect the kids and to help with peer to peer interactions, and to help with different coping skills. The kids are NOT a brand or trademark. You’ve rode this snake oil train too long.

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