Children who recover from serious burns can carry those scars with them for the rest of their lives, often having to endure the curious stares of strangers, but there's one place amidst the sand and sea oats of Cape San Blas where all burn victims have to worry about is having a good time.
"I was in a house fire, there was this candle in my room..."
Tasha Hunter remembers the day vividly; a tipped candle started a fire in her home. Now, six years later, she is one of 45 children attending Camp Amigo where all the other children know exactly how it feels to sport those scars.
Tasha Hunter says, "I'm relieved because usually at school I don't see anyone, except for once in a blue moon, I'll see someone who is burned like me."
Lucy Meeks, a camper from Perry, Florida, said, "It means a lot because you get to come and hang out with people who have been burned and know what you're going through and you get to see how they're doing and everything."
Lucy Meeks fell into a campfire as a toddler, and now more than 10 years later she still comes to share a week of activity and acceptance at this camp for burn survivors.
It's all good clean fun, fishing, swimming, you name it. A week when no one stares or asks what happened and the firefighters who serve as counselors are reminded why they do what they do.
Billy Fox of the Tallahassee Fire Department said, "We pack 'em in an ambulance and send them off and this a chance, you know, now to see how they've been able to adapt to their environment and the situation that they're in and I just can't explain the courage these children show."
The Tallahassee Fire Department and the Burn Unit at Shands host this camp every summer. This year, 45 children from all over north Florida and south Georgia are making the most of every minute of it.
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