My good friend Kep Keoppe told me about this amazing woman named Allison Massari who back in 1999 started a camp for teen burn survivors. She called it the Roger Pepper Adventure Camp, named after the man who pulled her from a burning car and saved her life. Intrigued, I started following Allison on social media and watching her TED talks. She is a phenomenal speaker. I then sent her an email and started a dialog, gathering information about her foundation. Each year Allison raises money so that these amazing camps can take place at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte Colorado. There is a summer camp and a winter camp.
Being a teen burn survivor myself, I know all too well the challenges that these kids go through, mentally as well as physically, trying to assimilate back into society after their accidents. Having a support system of people who share your pain and understand your struggle is instrumental in the rehabilitation process. I didn’t have any burn support when I was healing. It was the late 70’s and a totally different society. I vividly remember the pain that I experienced and as an adult I made a vow that I would volunteer as much as I could to help anyone to avoid similar pain. “For a young person who is suffering, it’s vital to feel like they can hang on when they feel alone. They can go back to this experience and know that they are truly cared for” Massari said. Overwhelmed with the feeling of “what can I do,” God blessed me as a guest snowboard instructor at the camp.
The camp ran from January 11-15, 2016. 12 kids from all over the United States with different degrees of burns got a chance to learn snowboarding and skiing from the great instructors at the Adaptive Sports Center. The ASC specializes in adaptive snow sports training for people who live with a disability. They do amazing work. The kids also visited downtown Crested Butte Colorado, spent the evening with the Crested Butte Fire Department, took rides in fire engines and police cars. They dressed up in fire gear and had to navigate a maze that simulated a burning building. We played pool, built snow castles and had a great time. This was such an amazing experience that will leave a lasting mark on their lives. I salute you Allison Massari and all of the team at the Adaptive Sports Center for your time and effort in creating a program which allows these kids to develop a greater sense of confidence, acceptance and self worth.
I spent 1 week on a really nice video to accompany this blog entry but because of privacy issues and the kids being minors, I was told I cannot include it. 😦 Damn you management! lol.
If you would like to learn more about how you can support the Roger Pepper Adventure Camp, please go to http://www.adaptivesports.org/adventure/roger-pepper-adventure-camp-20140506150230
We can’t help everybody, but everybody can help somebody!