Kids flock to Sanger Champ Camp

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Dozens of kids from across California are at Sanger's Wonder Valley Ranch this week for what's called "Champ Camp." (KFSN)

Dozens of kids from across California are at Sanger's Wonder Valley Ranch this week for what's called "Champ Camp."

It's put on by the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation for children with burn injuries.

"I've got a full body harness and so they attach me to that and then they pull me and then they just let me go," camper Megan McKeon exclaimed. "And I just fly."

McKeon, 16, is brave, confident and strong.

"I feel pretty good with who I am right now, but it took me a long time to get there," she said.

As a baby, she was badly burned, leaving her with only one leg.

Megan was scarred both physically and emotionally, but 10 years ago, she started coming to Champ Camp. It's a safe place for young burn survivors.

"I think it's changed me a lot," she said. It's made me become more comfortable with my burns and comfortable in my own skin I guess you can say.>

"Champ Camp provides a week of normal, a week of fun," executive director Jennifer Radics-Johnson said. "Just a chance to be a kid."

"They take your mind off of things and you can relate to them," camper Pradnya Bergdahl said. "Even though you live in different areas, there's still a lot of similarities."

"You don't get the looks, you don't get the stares, here," counselor Tina Martinez explained. "You're welcomed here, you're hugged here, you're loved here by everyone all the time."

"You get back to the real world and then here come the looks again, here comes the stares, here comes those awkward, uncomfortable questions."

Martinez has been coming for 30 years, first as a camper and now as a counselor.

She's gone through the life-changing experience, just like Megan has.

"She's an amazing girl," Martinez said. "She has such a tough spirit and she has no fear. Like watching her climb the wall. I'm not surprised, but it just amazes me."

And now Megan's passing that along to other kids and hopes to one day be a counselor herself.

"I really want to make sure kids know, to be comfortable in their own skin," Megan said. "And I think being a counselor who is a burn survivor I think it can really help them."
Related Topics:
newsfresno countyburn injuriesSanger
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