July 20, 2006
Many kids look forward to hanging out at summer camp each year. The kids at Camp Holiday trails are no exception, but they're stories are a little different. All of them are burn survivors.
"For one week I get to feel like I’m normal," said Solara Jaafar.
Solara Jaafar is like any other little 10-year-old girl with one exception, Solara is severely burned. But at the Central Virginia Burn Camp, there is no taunting, no stares, no pointing because everyone has scars.
"It feels like I'm not the only one burned, they make me feel right," said Jaafar.
Solara was burned at two years old when an indoor heating unit exploded. Her brother died. That is just one story of dozens and it's that unique bond that keeps them coming back.
"Most people say I've been through it, you know what they've been through, because I've through it to," said Brandon Trice.
For the past 13 years, kids between the ages of seven and 17 have come to the burn camp from all over Central Virginia. They spend a week doing activities such as crafts, horse-back riding and martial arts.
"They're a lot more comfortable just being kids, wearing shorts, bathing suits, without the stares that they get in everyday life," said Leslie Baruch, Camp Co-Director.
For Solara, her time at the camp has been life-changing. She's not shy anymore or the outcast. She's simply Solara, a little girl who is slowly overcoming the emotional scars--the scars you can't see.
"It feels like I'm not human, not normal, but when I come here I feel like a normal person," said Jaafar.
To learn more about how to get involved with the burn camp, call 434- 263-6566 or log onto their Web site at www.vaburncamp.org.