Camp builds child's strength, and his will

Carol Snyder describes her son Ross in one word: relentless.

A triplet, Ross was born prematurely. When he was 8 days old, he suffered a serious infection and bleeding in his brain that caused cerebral palsy.

His illness caused motor control problems that Ross worked to overcome. When he was very young, he used a backward-facing walker to move around and later progressed to using crutches - or as he refers to them, his "sticks."

In the hopes of strengthening his legs and the muscles in his torso, the Snyders began to take him to Wings of Eagles Ranch in Concord.

At the ranch, which specializes in therapeutic horseback riding for special-needs children, Ross, 12, has been able to ride and play with other kids.

Other camp activities give Ross the chance to overcome his fears.

Despite being terrified of heights, Ross was able to climb to the top of the camp's rock wall. He also took a ride on a zip line with the help of camp volunteers.

Before leaving the ranch on the last day of camp, Carol Snyder always makes sure that Ross and his sisters are on the list to come back next year.

The week was the highlight of his summer.

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