He likes to play games on his tablet, play with his dog and go hunting and fishing.

He also likes working on cars with his grandpa and riding a four-wheeler.

Camdyn Burrell sounds like a typical 4-year-old boy.

But there’s something that makes him a little more special — he’s a leap year baby.

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Since he was born Feb. 29, 2012, today is his first official birthday.

“I don’t think he has realized how unique it is. He’s more interested in riding his bike and playing with the dog,” said his father, Mike Burrell.

“I could go on about him all day,” his mother, Chelsea Burrell said. “He just is sassy and full of energy and unique like the birthday. He’s a unique child.”

Another interesting thing about Camdyn is he was born six weeks early.

On the evening of Feb. 28, 2012, the Burrells, who both grew up in Jackson County and now live near Paris Crossing, were sitting at home watching an Indiana University basketball game on television when Chelsea felt like she was going into labor.

She then headed up to the hospital in Columbus.

“It was our first kid. Heck, we didn’t know anything about anything, and I didn’t know if I would know if I was in labor,” she said.

She was 5 centimeters dilated when she arrived at the hospital, and the doctor tried to stop the labor because it was six weeks before she was due.

After about 14 hours of Chelsea Burrell being in the hospital, Camdyn was born at 6:02 p.m. Feb. 29, 2012.

“The doctor’s words were, ‘Whether you like it or not, he’s coming. He’s not responding to any of this stuff that we’re doing, so we’re just going to let you go,’” Chelsea Burrell said. “He just had a mind of his own. It still stands true to this day.”

The Burrells were so caught up in the moment that it didn’t immediately hit them that Camdyn was born on a leap day.

Then Chelsea Burrell saw a birth board on the delivery floor of the hospital, and Camdyn’s name was the only one listed.

“We were so caught up in having the baby I had no clue that this was this magical day,” she said. “My first reaction was like, ‘Oh my gosh, how are we going to celebrate his birthday? What about when he turns 16? What about when he turns 21? What do you put down?’”

Chelsea Burrell then remembered a past discussion with her friend, Chelsea Richards, who was born on a leap day.

“She was like, ‘You’re going to have him on my birthday,’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s six weeks early. There’s no way,’” Chelsea Burrell said. “Sure enough, he ended up coming on her birthday.”

The Burrells wound up choosing Richards as Camdyn’s godmother.

For the past three years, the family has celebrated Camdyn’s birthday in unique ways. In 2013, they had cake Feb. 28 and March 1. One year, family and friends gathered at the Masonic lodge in Seymour.

This year, they decided to rent out the Girls Inc. of Jackson County facility in Seymour, which has a large gathering area, a basketball court, a foam pit, a trampoline and a spring floor.

“His favorite thing to do is run and rump, and we figured the theme would be leap frog, so all of the decorations are related to frogs,” Chelsea Burrell said.

Children typically get a smash cake to play with on their first birthday, so Camdyn will have one of those since it’s his first official birthday.

“He gets a cake to himself, and it says ‘Happy 4thst birthday,’” Chelsea Burrell said, noting how he was born four years ago but is technically 1.

Camdyn said he is looking forward to enjoying his cake and his first time at Girls Inc.

He already has received one of his birthday presents. Two weeks ago, he picked out his own dog, an Australian Shepherd. The family now has three dogs.

“He wanted a puppy for his birthday,” Mike Burrell said. “On the ride home, I asked him, ‘What do you want to name your puppy?’ And he goes, ‘Rocky.’”

Since Camdyn gets to celebrate in different ways each year, Chelsea Burrell joked she wishes she would have been born on a leap day.

“I would like to have my birthday every four years if I got to have cake two days every year, and then every four years, you get this massive birthday,” she said.

Camdyn also will be a part of another special celebration. Tonight, the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County is conducting a birthday party for leap year babies at the Bicentennial Headquarters in Brownstown.

Committee members, who are planning events to celebrate the bicentennials of the county, state and Brownstown, learned about local residents who were born on a leap day and decided to throw them a birthday party.

“It’s pretty neat they would actually recognize that and have a celebration for it,” Mike Burrell said. “It’s pretty unique. I’ve never heard of anybody doing that.”

Chelsea Burrell also learned the bicentennial committee is planning to commemorate leap day with a special postmark.

“You go to the post office, and they do special postage on postcards and have them cancel it, and it will have the date Feb. 29, 2016,” she said. “Then you do the same thing four years from now so you have a way to track those dates. I thought that was really great.”

At a glance

The Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County is hosting a birthday party tonight for leap year babies.

These 16 people with ties to the county will be honored:

Linda Barr, Linda Begley, Camdyn Burrell, Cayleb Covert, Nikki Gerth, Michelle Kolson, Sarah McGill, Pam McIntire, Asa Mellencamp, Jeff Neal, Chelsea Richards, Clyde Smith, Jacob Stark, Nicole Thomas, Jim Tulledge and Jacob Wheeler.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.