A look inside a special camp for some special kids - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

A look inside a special camp for some special kids

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The students of the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy with their families. The students of the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy with their families.
Stormi Murtie Stormi Murtie
Monique Baker Monique Baker
Colt Cogan riding a horse Colt Cogan riding a horse
Betty Campbell (Source: The Center for Courageous Kids) Betty Campbell (Source: The Center for Courageous Kids)

SCOTTSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You might have fond memories of camp - spending time outdoors, running, and laughing with friends. For some children, that experience wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for one special woman. 

The Center for Courageous Kids is located in Scottsville, Kentucky.  The white buildings and blue rooftops light up the rural landscape.

"This is the happiest place on earth," said Stormi Murtie with The Center for Courageous Kids.

I got to experience the camp firsthand with my own family. The students of the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy were all invited to a weekend retreat at The Center for Courageous Kids and their families got to join them. My son Colt has hearing loss.

At the Center for Courageous Kids, Colt was surrounded by other children like him -with hearing aids or cochlear implants - in a relaxed setting away from school.  Many of these children face other challenges as well.

"This place is one of the most amazing places I've ever been in my life," said Monique Baker, the mother of Abby.  "It's beautiful, safe, clean, it's amazing."

Every minute is filled with activities for the children. Things like horseback riding, something that usually scares Colt. But this day Colt got right on the horse without crying. It's clear that he felt safe here.

Some of the other activities available are archery, arts and crafts, bowling, boating, and fishing.

"This place becomes magic," said Stormi. "I feel like we are on sacred ground."

Brynna O'Hagan, 9, has noticed something while being here.

"It's kind of telling me I'm not the only one to have hearing aids," said Brynna.

The kids are so busy having fun they forget this camp also has a medical center and medical staff, as well as a helipad. That's so that children with severe disabilities and illnesses can come and if there's a life-threatening emergency, be airlifted out.

Tom O'Hagan, Brynna's father, is a pulmonologist and has volunteered for asthma camp.

"They do a good job with integrating medical piece while allowing the kids to have fun and play and not worry about it," said Tom O'Hagan. "That's the best thing about this camp for those kiddos."

Betty Campbell is the woman behind The Center for Courageous Kids. She's the daughter of Dollar General's founder and a mother who lost her son early to cancer.

"(Betty) knew only too well what money can and cannot do for you," said Stormi.

Betty died in 2011, three years after The Center for Courageous Kids opened. It's welcomed 15,000 children from 39 states and three foreign countries.

"This is a shining spot in the Commonwealth," said Stormi. "To be in the Bluegrass state. We are one of only a handful of medical camps of this caliber nationwide."

The Center is funded party through a trust Ms. Betty left behind as well as donations. There's no charge for the family weekend retreats or the weeklong medical camps that children can attend without their parents.

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