Camp Beyond the Scars

Uploaded by KPBSSanDiego on 20.07.2011

It’s called the Camp Beyond the Scars.That phrase has special meaning to each one of
the campers here. That’s because they’ve all survived burn
injuries. 12-year-old Tiffany Vargas has been coming
to this camp in the Cuyamaca Mountains for the last five years. She loves it.
You get to be with other burn survivors like yourself. You don’t have to hide your scars
Tiffany got her scars a long time ago. I was four years old, in the kitchen looking for
something to eat. And my aunt was cooking some soup, and the pot broke and it fell on
me. Tiffany has been through a number of skin grafts and other operations. But she doesn’t
feel sorry for herself. I’ve loved my scar ever since I was a little kid. I always called
it my secret dragon. So, I just love my scar, and I’m proud to have it on me. That’s
the attitude this camp tries to foster in young burn survivors, WHILE TEACHING THE KIDS
TO LET LOSE AND HAVE FUN. Jim Floros heads up the Burn Institute, the San Diego non-profit
that runs the camp. A lot of people don’t realize that when you’re severely burned,
you’re a burn survivor for life. It is something you will deal with every day of your life.
There’s never going to be a day where you woke up and say, okay, I’m better now. There’s
the physical trauma that a burn survivor goes through, it’s the initial injury, it’s
the treatment, and there’s post traumatic stress disorder that goes along with that,
but then there’s the psychological challenges, mental challenges, that burn survivors face.
By being with fellow burn survivors, kids learn to feel better about themselves. They
also learn some coping skills. And during the weeklong camp, they’re kept plenty busy.
  Here in this beautiful setting, the kids not
only have physical activities, they have arts & crafts. Peer counseling sessions, individual
counseling sessions. And then, they make time for some more genteel activities. This is
just one part of an obstacle course that runs throughout the camp. While campers are having
fun, they’re also developing a sense of camaraderie, and teamwork. And each day, campers
and counselors gather to recognize each other’s accomplishments-bringing the spirit of Camp
Beyond the Scars full circle. I would like to recognize Talie, for opening up with us
at camp, and she’s been having a lot of fun and trying new things. I’d like to recognize
Memo, for shaving off most of the first level of skin on his finger, when he was doing the
rock climbing. ://I’d like to recognize Jason for trying really hard on the skateboard.