Camp helps wounded veterans, children with disabilities bond over softball

PHOTO: Cody Rice and Kaylynn McSmith attend the kids camp by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. The camp connects military veterans on the team with children who have missing limbs.PlayAnastasia Meenach of Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team
WATCH Wounded military veterans help children with disabilities

It's a week of fun, encouragement and softball, and it comes complete with a military hero.

Since Monday, seventeen children with disabilities have been taking the field with members of the USA Patriots — once known as the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team — at it's Kids Camp.

The softball team is made up of veterans who've lost limbs in combat and non-combat-related injuries and it travels around the U.S., competing against able-bodied teams.

PHOTO: Nolan Edwards takes a swing at the kids camp by Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. The team changed its name to USA Patriots and plays across the U.S. Anastasia Meenach of Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team
Nolan Edwards takes a swing at the kids camp by Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. The team changed its name to USA Patriots and plays across the U.S.

This week, however, the athletes took up another role: coaching children in life and sports.

The weeklong, annual Kids Camp accepts children ages 8 to 12. The USA Patriots pays for all the expenses for each child and one guardian.

"During this weeklong event, the USA Patriots will teach kids, who have been living with congenital limb loss or have suffered amputation from illness or injury, the basic fundamentals of playing ball sports. The USA Patriots team members lend a firsthand experience, demonstrating the correct way to maneuver basic fundamentals of running bases, batting, pitching and catching while overcoming obstacles and adapting to everyday challenges," the website said.

The alumni camp, for children who previously attended, is expected to start Thursday. The camp's final game was scheduled for Saturday.

Currently in its seventh year, this year's camp is hosted by Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach.

PHOTO: A team photo at the kids camp by Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. This years camp was hosted by Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach. Anastasia Meenach of Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team
A team photo at the kids camp by Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. This year's camp was hosted by Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach.

Retired Lance Cpl. Josh Wege, a member of the USA Patriots, said that he was in Afghanistan when his vehicle hit a 200-pound improvised explosive device. He lost both of his legs below the knee.

"My injury is honestly one of the biggest blessings in my life," Wege told CBS' WTKR-TV. "Life taught me perspective. My injury taught me perspective and I can share that with anybody else that comes out."

He said that despite their disability, the young campers deserve to have fun and simply be kids.

"We get to bring them out, teach them how we've gotten through it," he said, "but we also learn from them, too."