EXTRA
a CAMP FOR CARING
JANUARY 1994
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY ELLEN MAK


219E-129-003

For 14 year old Misty Muncy (above), 1992 was a terrible year. She spent many months lying in a hospital bed after she had been badly burned in an accident. "It was horrible. You can't see the sky. You can't feel the fresh air. All you feel is pain," says Misty.

But things have improved for Misty. Now she feels less pain. What's even better is that she has had a chance to see the sky and feel the fresh air. Why? Because last summer, Misty was a camper at Camp Janus.

Camp Janus, in Navasota, Texas, is a camp for kids aged 5 to 17 who have been badly burned. For Misty and the other young people, Camp Janus is a special place where they can share their feelings with other kids who have suffered the same pain.

Camp Janus was started seven years ago by Cyndy Thomas, a counselor who worked with burned children in a hospital. Thomas knew that no matter how much she helped those kids, their future would be unhappy. They had nothing to look forward to except pain‑from burns and from feeling different because of their terrible scars.

Thomas decided to start a camp where burned kids could learn from one another. She also wanted to help kids feel better about themselves.

But campers don't just sit around talking at Camp Janus. They're busy almost all the time. Some campers learn to use tools to build wooden puzzles and toys. Others take karate lessons, run races, or play games.

All the campers enjoy the swimming pool even though, for many, wearing a bathing suit is very difficult. Badly burned children often have thick, red scars over large areas of their bodies. Away from the camp, other kids sometimes make fun of them. At the camp, kids who have been burned can swim and not worry about how they look.

All the campers agree there is only one bad thing about Camp Janus‑going home.

"It's like a different world here," says one camper. "It keeps my hopes up."

END