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Camp Hope for kids with burn injuries underway in Columbia

Camp Hope
Posted at 5:02 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 20:32:19-04

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Kids are making memories this week at a special summer camp in Columbia.

Camp Hope is for 6 to 16-year-old burn survivors who spent time at Vanderbilt Burn Center.

"Some accidents, some intentional — which is very sad — but the great thing is these kids are resilient and they bounce back," Camp Hope Camp director Brittni Davis said.

Jesse Adkisson, 9, is a first-time camper.

"Why it's called Camp Hope is because it has hope and it's a camp," Jesse Adkisson said.

When Jesse was a baby he was burned in a house fire.

"You can have hope that you feel better... hope, like, you heal... hope, like, you do better," he said.

Camp counselors say just a few days in this environment can be life-changing.

"These kids spend their days feeling different every single day of their life. Well, the four days that they come to camp they're not different because all the kids who are here are like them, and they have the same scar, some have similar stories, they can show their scars, they can tell their stories and not feel like they're being judged, or looked at differently or being made fun of," Davis said.

After eight years as a camper, 16-year-old Abby Harlow is thankful for her experience.

"I think eventually, whenever you grow up, it gets a lot easier because you realize it happened for a reason. Like this, you get to come here every year," Abby Harlow said.

It costs about $450 for a camper to attend, but campers don't have to pay. Camp Hope raises funds throughout the year to keep the camp free.