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Lives changing during Roger Pepper Camp for burn survivors

Adaptive Sports Center hosting camp for teens

Up to 97 percent of their bodies have been burned due to house fires, bonfires, and car and boating accidents. They range in age from 14 to 18 years old, and hail from four different states. From January 19 to 26, 16 teenagers will come together in Crested Butte to experience an unforgettable week of adventure and camaraderie at the Adaptive Sports Center’s eighth annual Roger Pepper Camp for Young Burn Survivors.

 

 

For 15-year-old Kevin Hinson, a three-time attendee of the camp from Houston, coming to Crested Butte is a chance to try new activities as well as connect with other young people who have dealt with the unimaginable.
“I was out fishing with my friends and the engine on the boat exploded,” Hinson explained. “I flew up in the air 25 feet and then came down, shattering my left leg in five places and my right leg in seven. I had to get 20 staples in my head and I was burnt over 20 percent of my body. I was in rehab for two and a half years.”
This year’s winter camp draws new and returning attendees who will hit the slopes of Mt. Crested Butte for skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing on Crested Butte’s extensive Nordic trail system, and ice-climbing in the world-renowned Ice Park in Ouray. All activities will be led by seasoned instructors from the Adaptive Sports Center. Campers will share a beautiful Crested Butte vacation home for the week and gather for group meals and socializing in the evenings.
Hinson found new friends through the Roger Pepper Camp, some of whom he keeps in touch with on a regular basis. “It’s been really great coming to Colorado, meeting new people, and hearing stories about what happened to them,” Hinson said.
Roger Pepper Camp founder Allison Massari nearly lost her life in a fiery car accident in 1998, and established the camp in 2001. Roger Pepper was the brave man who pulled Massari from her car, saving her life and risking his own. Roger Pepper Camp has been run by the Adaptive Sports Center and is funded entirely by private donors; participants pay nothing to attend.
“It’s deeply rewarding to watch these kids improve their outdoor skills, increase their level of self-confidence and strengthen bonds with each other,” said Chris Read, winter program director for the Adaptive Sports Center. “Roger Pepper Camp is by far one of the most profound experiences we offer to any population here at the Center.”

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