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Camp allows young skiers to be like any other kid

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 07 2013 04:01:05 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 07 2013 04:50:34 PM CST

Getting away for camp is a rite of passage for many kids, but for some skiers at the Camelback Mountain Ski Area, it's a chance to be like any other kid.

POCONO TWP., Pa. -

Getting away for camp is a rite of passage for many kids, but for some skiers at the Camelback Mountain Ski Area, it's a chance to be like any other kid.

Success isn't always easily measured. For Hesham "Ace" Nassar, 16, it's simply hitting the slopes.

"It's fun and for me. It's the one time of year, which is what I really enjoy," said Nassar.

 The New Jersey teen, who lost the use of his legs at the age of three, is part of the "Stars of Tomorrow" adaptive ski camp.

The week-long camp is now in its 19th year at the ski area in Pocono Twp., Monroe Co.

"We want people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as anyone else," said Jeff McGinnis, executive director, Adaptive Sports.

All the campers have something that make them a little different than everyone else, but together, the very things that separate them make them the same on the mountain.

"We're able to put them in a group setting with various abilities. Went in with peers and they respond," McGinnis said.

None more so than soon-to-be 17-year-old Stephanie Jallen.

"I love skiing. It's my passion," Jallen said.

A rare birth defect left half her body underdeveloped, but you'd never know.

Jallen is a two-time member of the U.S. Para-Olympic Ski Team. She learned to ski at the camp eight years ago.

"Being able to conquer certain mountains, physically being able to do something, I mean it helps the person with their confidence level. I believe I can do something more with it," she said.

But maybe more than anything else, the week is simply being like everyone else.