Hang with Ashlei & Elissa

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Ashlei, left, and Elissa, right, after taking a ride on the zip line.

As campers and counselors gather behind the Adventure Tower, two girls raise their hands to volunteer to be the first in their group to zipline.

Ashlei, 14, and Elissa, also 14, step into their harnesses, put on their helmets and take a swig of water before they approach the zipline platform. For Ashlei and Elissa, this was more than just ziplining; this was a competition. The goal: be the first one to reach the other side of the zipline platform.

As the young ladies are secured onto the cable, camp counselors sang a rendition of the Backstreet Boys’ hit, I Want It That Way—in a slightly different key than the original—while lounging under the shade.

“I’ve been on the highest roller coaster in North Carolina and South Carolina,” said Elissa. “This is nothing!”

“This is my fourth year at camp, and I love it,” said Elissa.

The counselors chant the zipline song: “Feel the rhythm; feel the run. Step right up, it’s zipline time,” and just like that, the girls were launched into motion.

Ziplining proved to be no challenge for Ashlei and Elissa; it was their favorite activity at camp. The only obstacle they didn’t predict, however, was climbing the steep hill to get back to the beginning of the platform.

However, ziplining isn’t the only thing that keeps Ashlei and Elissa coming back to camp. When Ashlei and Elissa aren’t ziplining, you can find them teaching their counselors the art of hula hooping, perfecting their aim at the archery range and swimming at the waterpark.

“I like [camp] because every time that I come, there is something different that you can do. Especially when you start getting older,” Ashlei said.

At Victory Junction, it is our purpose to provide extraordinary kids with extraordinary experiences so they are empowered to look beyond their medical diagnoses and recognize their strength and courage. Ashley and Elissa, like many of our campers, don’t let any obstacle—whether it be a medical diagnosis or the steep hill at the zipline platform—stop them from coming to camp and showing us what it means to Be Your Campself.

This summer, our camp theme is Be Your Campself, which encourages our campers to take their Victory Junction experiences back home and continue being their best self.