Fun in the Sun Best Therapy for Burn Survivors
Seventeen-year-old Leah Culkar was at a neighbor's house when she was badly burned 11 years ago.
"It was the fourth of July. We were shooting off fireworks," Culkar says.
"It was a bottle rocket. The bottle tipped over. One of the fire works landed right in my lap and I had 3rd, 2nd, and 1st degree burns."
Culkar says the recovery process was long and hard- and not just for her.
"For family members and everything, It was a really really tough time for all of us."
She says Camp Hopetake helped.
"I think camp has really helped shape me as a person. Just some of the other lessons I've taken from other campers like how they're scars and accidents have played into their lives."
Camp Hopetake is paid for by grants and donations through the Tampa General Hospital Foundation and the Tampa Firefighters and Paramedics.
For 22 years, burn survivors between the ages of five and 17 have been given the chance to participate in a week long camp involving several different activities. Adventure Island in Tampa is 11- year old Kevon Martorell's favorite part.
"It's really fun. I like to see all my friends."
Tampa firefighter Jeremy Finney helps organize camp events. He knows how important these friendships are in the healing process.
"They all have physical and emotional scars they deal with on a daily basis. Kids these days in school are very cruel. They can say mean things."
"The older kids have a different perspective because they have been through it."
A surprising benefit to what may just appear on the outside to be an every day pool party.