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EFMP campers come together for STEM

Ethan McMickle, center, and David Clark, right, race their hand-painted derby cars at the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 9, 2018. Camp attendees completed a variety of activities related to STEM throughout the week-long camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Ethan McMickle, center, and David Clark, right, race their hand-painted derby cars at the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 9, 2018. Camp attendees completed a variety of activities related to STEM throughout the week-long camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Marshall Stuckey, left, and Jaylen Pitter take part in a science experiment during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Camp attendees were special-needs military dependent children enrolled in EFMP and their siblings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Marshall Stuckey, left, and Jaylen Pitter take part in a science experiment during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Camp attendees were special-needs military dependent children enrolled in EFMP and their siblings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Master Sgt. Crystal Cunningham, 89th Operations Support Squadron mission operations flight chief, helps kids with a science experiment during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Campers were guided through a week of STEM activities by a group of active-duty Air Force and Navy volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Master Sgt. Crystal Cunningham, 89th Operations Support Squadron mission operations flight chief, helps kids with a science experiment during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Campers were guided through a week of STEM activities by a group of active-duty Air Force and Navy volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Cooper Mathewson examines a dragonfly cast with a magnifying glass during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Campers completed guided STEM activities, including an elephant toothpaste science experiment, examining the contents of a science box and building a marble maze. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Cooper Mathewson examines a dragonfly cast with a magnifying glass during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. Campers completed guided STEM activities, including an elephant toothpaste science experiment, examining the contents of a science box and building a marble maze. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Painted derby cars are left in the sun to dry during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 9, 2018. Camp attendees decorated and raced the cars as part of the weeklong STEM-based camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Painted derby cars are left in the sun to dry during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 9, 2018. Camp attendees decorated and raced the cars as part of the weeklong STEM-based camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Gabrielle Scott examines objects with a magnifying glass during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. The camp focused on STEM-related activities and culminated in a field trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

Gabrielle Scott examines objects with a magnifying glass during the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 7, 2018. The camp focused on STEM-related activities and culminated in a field trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Abby L. Richardson)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

Twenty-eight campers attended the 7th Annual Exceptional Family Member Program Summer Camp Experience here Aug. 6-10.

Camp attendees comprised special-needs military dependent children enrolled in the EFMP program and their siblings. The campers were from Air Force, Navy and Army families stationed around the National Capital Region.

 The free weeklong camp focused on providing a fun and safe environment for children to learn, socialize and play.

“The purpose of this camp is for the children to have fun,” said Adreinne Barnett, 11th Force Support Squadron EFMP support specialist. “A lot of the time, if a child has a diagnosis or disability, programs are not as inclusive as they should be. The main thing here is to let them know that they’re included in the community.”

Each year, there is also an academic component that is intertwined with the fun and games. This year the focus was on science, technology, engineering and math.

Kids completed guided STEM activities each day including an elephant toothpaste science experiment, building a marble maze, and painting and racing derby cars.

“My favorite part was painting the cars and racing them,” said camper Ethan McMickle. “Doing the design and racing the cars to see who wins—that’s fun.”

Each of the activities was run by a group of volunteer active-duty Airmen and Sailors who worked with the children daily.

“I always say the success of the camp over the years is totally reflected on our mentors,” Barnett said. “They come with lots and lots of energy and ideas. They’re always there encouraging the campers, making sure they’re having fun and enjoying it.”

After four days of games and activities, the camp culminated in a field trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 10.

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