'We accept each other because we're all burn survivors'

'We accept each other because we're all burn survivors'
NORTH BEND, Wash. -- Thousands of kids make special memories at summer camps, but there's one in North Bend that's faced adversity on many levels and succeeded.

Looking at the kids gathered there this week, you see scars, because Camp Eyabsut is a camp solely for children who've survived being burned.

"Everybody is different here and every body's the same," said Camp Director and burn survivor Jeanette '"JD" Day. "And that's the heart and soul. We just accept each other because we're all burn survivors."

Every child here survived being burned. And now, once a year, they come together as regular kids.

"When I first came I was overwhelmed with happiness and emotions and the people and the environment because it was such a fun place to be," said Jessica Martinez.

Day says no one here stares at them because of the way they look.

"You know nobody walks around them because of their scars. And nobody talks behind their backs," Day said. "It's pretty awesome."

Camp Eyabsut almost died last year, but a last ditch fund-raising effort kept it going. Now in its 26th year, they're really growing, with 10 counselors in training -- kids who grew up here and now want to give back.

"I fell in love with it," Martinez said. "I fell in love with the people and clicked with my friends."

Martinez was burned as a toddler. She first came to Camp Eyabsut in grade school. Now 19, she's leading others.

"A lot of us can say that while being burned was probably one of the worst things that ever happened to us... after we come here, it turns into one of the best things that ever happened to us," she said.

Martinez said this is a family -- supportive and loving, building strength and courage in each other. Even if it's just one week at time.

The camp name - Eyabsut, from the Skagit Tribe, says it all.

"It means to rise above anything," Day said. "Because that's what they said these kids had done -- they had risen above all the trials and tribulations that come with being burned."

The camp is sponsored by the Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation.