Military brats or CHAMPS? Authors' proposed name change riles up locals

News
  Lexi Vermeire spends time volunteering to teach and mentor second grade students of Ramstein Air Force Base elementary school before her own classes start in high school on Jan. 28, 2013    Bennie J. Davis III/U.S. Air Force
Lexi Vermeire spends time volunteering to teach and mentor second grade students of Ramstein Air Force Base elementary school before her own classes start in high school on Jan. 28, 2013 Bennie J. Davis III/U.S. Air Force

Military brats or CHAMPS? Authors' proposed name change riles up locals

by: Katie Tammen, Northwest Florida Daily News | .
Fort Walton Beach | .
published: November 17, 2014

(MCT) — Area military families seem less than enthused about a proposed replacement for the term “military brat.”

For about a year, the USO and other military organizations have worked with two women who wrote a book for elementary-aged children called "Little C.H.A.M.P.S.”

It encourages military children to refer to themselves as C.H.A.M.P.S., or Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel, instead of the traditional term.

A co-author Debbie Fink, told the USO in a news article from Oct. 2012, that they proposed the term change to help facilitate understanding between military and civilian children.

The word brat likely originated from an acronym that dates back to the British Empire, originally standing for British Regiment Attached Traveler.

“We declared our independence 236 years ago and it’s about time our Little C.H.A.M.P.S did the same,” Fink said in the article on the USO page. “There’s no need to give them a label that may add to their already challenging situation. Why not call them what they are? Little C.H.A.M.P.S!”

Across the Internet, and most certainly along the Emerald Coast, people seem less than inclined to agree with Fink’s rationale.

“Their term does not connect with me,” said Michelle Moeller, whose father was stationed at Eglin and Hurlburt. “So many people are looking at this like, ‘Why are they trying to take my identity?’ ”

Moeller said numerous online forums are built around the military brat term, including Brats without Borders and the Military Brat Network, which put out a release Thursday condemning the name change..

A change.org petition was also started by “All Past Present and Future Military Brats.” It was addressed to the company who published Fink’s book.

As of Friday, it had been signed by more than 2,600 people.

“I’ve been a brat my whole life,” Moeller said. “So why change it now?”

Calls to the USO were directed to the authors, who are currently on tour.

Locals react

Daily News readers on Facebook were pretty united in their opinions.

Laura LeNoir *rolls eyes* This is silly. Proud military (Air Force) BRAT right here. Grew up military and married military. I've NEVER found the term to be offensive or negative. I almost find it endearing! Leave it be already!

Jeff Williams Did some little brat get his feelings hurt? Good grief, leave the terminology alone.... nothing wrong with being called a military brat, most of us in the area wear the term with pride and honor.

Lara Lynn I'm a proud USAF brat. Not a hero. My dad was the hero.

Ashley Parks Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel sounds a bit entitled and dependent... When in reality, we military brats are very independent, highly adaptable, and not entitled at all!

———

©2014 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

Tags:
Related Content: No related content is available