BUFFALO, Iowa - It’s no ordinary summer camp if children’s conversations are regularly punctuated by an exclamatory “Hooah!”

At the YMCA’s Camp Abe Lincoln, several dozen military family children bonded with their peers July 3-8.

At the invitation of camp organizers, Col. Richard Dix, Army Sustainment Command's chief of staff, spoke with campers. He pointed out that kids whose parents deploy overseas, especially to combat areas, bear a part of the burden of military service.

Dix stressed that families need a “battle buddy” to get them through the challenges of military life and encouraged the campers to help each other through difficult times.

Quoted in a Quad City Times report, Dix said, "Heroes are people who make sacrifices and give of themselves and ask for nothing in return. Each one of you who attend this camp is a hero in my eyes."

The campers showed their appreciation by presenting him with a hand-made painting of the United States flag.

Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers led campers through a variety of military field activities such as applying camouflage face paint and preparing military packaged meals, known as MREs.

Among the campers’ other activities were swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, tower climbing, hiking, singing and dancing.