Children Heal Emotionally At Vanderbilt's Camp Hope

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jul 23, 2015

COLUMBIA, Tenn. - It's a camp like no other giving children like 15-year-old Jarrett Roden, who has suffered from burn injuries, a chance to heal emotionally.

"There are kids with worse burns than I have, and we can all come here and feel safe," Roden said.

Vanderbilt's Camp Hope in Columbia hosted 33 kids this year. Camp Hope has given them hope, and that's what it’s all about.

Roden was burned during a trash fire when he was just 8.

"I tried to cover it up to get us out of trouble and it blew up on me," he said. "When I did, I got burnt from my finger tips to shirt line then right side of my face."

Roden no longer has the scars to prove it, but said he never let his burns get him down.

"I thought it was pretty cool because it was different,” said Roden.

Erik Goehring, age 11, suffered burns to his leg after a brush fire a few years ago.

"I was in shock," he said. "I was like is this a dream or what? I felt like the whole day was a dream."

Goehring, just like Roden, has held his head up high and given thanks for a camp that helps him shine.

Camp Hope has been put on by Vanderbilt burn nurses and therapists who have believed in the program so much they actually use their own vacation time to put on the four day camp every year.

Rebekah Lemley has been the program's director.

"To hear the joy that they get out of the week, it is so worth my time to put in to it thru out the year of planning," she said.

The campers’ biggest joy has come from the annual firefighters challenge. Roden said it has allowed them to get wet, have fun, and forget any insecurities.

"I feel like everyone is beautiful in their own way, so if they're different just accept the difference and be glad that we’re all not the same," he said.

Camp Hope has been free and it’s been around for 26 years. For anyone interested in sending their child or making a donation, visit the Camp Hope program online by clicking here