Military kids come in all shapes and sizes, and all have their own circumstances. But they all share a bond as part of the military community. And many of them have a story to tell. That’s why Janine Boldrin and Amy Crispino launched chameleonkids.com and Military Kids’ Life, a magazine for military kids that is filled with stories by … military kids.
Boldrin, the spouse of an Army officer and the mother of three, recently took some time out of her busy schedule to give us her take on military kids and why she and Crispino launched their business.
Q. What’s the main difference between military kids and civilians?
A. Military kids are just kids! They want the same things as civilian kids but their parent’s job gives them experiences that are often unlike that of their peers. Some of our military kids move a lot while some don’t move at all. Some military kids live overseas while some will never move out of their hometown. Their parents deploy and some never deploy. So there is no one description of a military kid, but what makes them “different” from most civilian kids is the insight into life that their unique experiences give them.
Q. As a military spouse and mom, what’s the key to navigating life in the military?
A. As a military spouse and mom, I’ve found the key to navigating life in the military as a family member is to figure out the areas of it that you can embrace even if it doesn’t come naturally at first. Find areas of military life that you can enjoy and focus on those instead of focusing on everything that is not in your control or is frustrating. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be part of fixing the problems but just don’t make every problem, your problem. It is okay to find parts of military life frustrating, uncomfortable, and upsetting, but don’t make that the sum total of your experience. Find the areas that that can make it enjoyable for you: traveling, meeting new people, the opportunity for new adventures or something else! And encourage your kids to do the same.
Q. Tell us why you launched Chameleon Kids and the mag?
A. The company and magazine came from the thought that our kids were being exposed to a lot of negative information and media about military life. So many ads told them their parents were broken and most people boiled down their life to moving and deployments. Amy (my business partner) and I wanted our kids to see the bright side of the life as a military kid so we launched the company and magazine with that goal.
Q. What’s your target audience?
A. Our target audience is all military kids, but the magazine is geared toward kids ages 6 to 14; however, older kids and grown-ups love to read our magazine. Surprisingly, grandparents especially love it because they learn so much about their military grandkids, and teachers love it to learn more about their military-connected students.
Q. What’s the message you want to send?
A. Life as a military kid is pretty cool! Let’s celebrate it and find the adventure no matter where we live or what is going on.
Q. It’s been two years, how are things going? Are you achieving your goals and reaching your audience?
A. It is going great! Every magazine gets filled up pretty fast. As soon as I put out a call for writers, we have kids wanting to contribute. We’re on Amazon.com, in Barnes & Noble, most of the major catalogs serving schools and libraries. You can find our magazines in schools and libraries across the world!
Q. How can folks get your mag?
A. The easiest way is to subscribe on our site: www.chameleonkids.com/magazine.
Q. Tell us how kids can write for you?
A. They can reach out to me at email@example.com. I can send them our editorial calendar and writers’ guidelines. I also have a database of military kid reporters who I contact before I put together the articles for our next issue, so I can add them to that with their parents’ permission.
To learn more about Chameleon Kids and Military Kids’ Life, visit www.chameleonkids.com
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