Recently in Burn Camps Category

October 28, 2011

Burn Camps Help Burn Victims Cope With Their Scars--and Are Located in Every U.S. State

In our last post on Wednesday, October 26, we talked about the many services offered at the new Grossman Burn Center in Phoenix, Arizona. But once a burn victim is released from a burn center like Grossman, there are still many challenges to deal with for the rest of their lives. But burn survivors can gain the confidence to move forward in their lives with the help of burn camps. In fact, every state in the U.S. has a burn camp.

Here is one example: In August 2011 a 10-year-old named Elizabeth Watson attended a burn camp in Utah, and came home feeling energized and able to better handle the complications in her life. When Elizabeth was younger, she hated the burn scars that wrapped around her legs, arms, feet and part of her head, thinking that they were so ugly. But over time, Elizabeth learned that the burn scars suffered from a propane accident when she was just 5 months old do not define who she is or how she looks. They are simply, as she says, "a part of who I am."

Elizabeth attended the annual University Health Care Burn Camp at Camp Tracy in Mill Creek Canyon in Utah, along with 40 other young burn victims. They rode horses, went swimming, made music, and created arts and crafts over four days. All of this helped them build confidence that they can do whatever they want, and that their burn injury and scars won't hold them back..

"Burn survivors go through a lot of different phases in their healing. It's sometimes difficult for them to feel good about the way they look after suffering severe burns and to have positive self-esteem," said camp co-director Brad Wiggins, a clinical nurse coordinator at University Health Care Burn Center. "The camp's purpose is to facilitate interactions with other burn survivors and teach them how to move past their burn injuries."

Asked what her favorite activity was during these burn camps, 6-year-old Chloie Workman just smiled and said, "Everything." Chloie also got to talk with other people for the first time about her burn injuries, caused by an accident when she pulled a rice cooker onto herself. "I learned about other people and how they got their burns too," she said.

For kids under age 12, the paid for by the Professional Firefighters of Utah, the union that supports more than 15 municipal departments in the state. Firefighters also volunteer at the camp by becoming counselors, doing cleanup and cooking for the children. The Greater Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts also donates the use of Camp Tracy.

"In the past, firefighters have kind of lost track to what happens to [burn survivors], and what this burn camp gave us is a chance to follow up and see how well they're doing," said camp co-director Ron Fife, who also is a Salt Lake City fire division chief. "It's a great opportunity that firefighters have and something they really support."

Ten-year-old Elizabeth said she would just like to go to burn camp without having the scars. Yet she says she has accepted what happened and just wants to move forward. "I used to picture my life like it was put into a book," she said. "But then I realized that without my scars, I wouldn't know what my story was about."

If you or someone you know suffers a burn injury or a smoke inhalation injury, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, NY so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a solid legal case.

September 29, 2011

Burn Camps Provide Support for Burn Victims That Lasts a Lifetime

Over this past summer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a celebration for guests at the Great Lakes Burn Camp showed the huge amount of camaraderie shared by victims of severe burns and their families. This was the 17th annual camp, which lasts six days and is set alongside a beautiful lake.

Mike Longenecker, camp director and one of about 90 staff members and counselors overseeing this year's 52 campers, said that it is very moving to see the joy this burn camp gives so many kids. "You've got to remember that these are kids with burn (scars) and they're at an age where peers put image and looks under a microscope," he said. "Burn camp gives these kids a week where they can look any way they want without having to worry [about exposing their scars], and be themselves." Even with a skin graft to repair damaged skin, burn victims rarely look the same as before they were burned, so the psychological effects of burns are almost as serious as the physical effects.

Longenecker said he's missed wedding anniversaries and his wife's birthdays to run the burn camp, but he adds that she knew when they married that the annual camp visit means so much to him.

A carnival-like atmosphere on the first morning included food and attractions that set the tone for the campers, who are between the ages of 5 and 17 years. This burn camp starts with parade of cars, motorcycles and trucks. In fact, forty-one fire trucks from 38 departments in a six-county region gave the campers a ride to the lake. There were also 175 motorcyclists, who paid a fee to participate, with proceeds going toward the $600-per-person expense to send a child to camp. Also, there was a series of ambulances. In all the parade was so large that it took almost seven minutes to pass by each intersection. Hundreds of spectators lined the route to wave to the volunteers and campers.

Lauren Chisholm and Hannah Summersett, two burn victims, chanted and used hand gestures to relay their excitement to the crowd as they passed by. "I was going bonkers all week waiting for this day to get here," shouted Summersett during the parade. Chisholm added that she starts her countdown to the August camp on January 1 of every year, and "today, the number of days is finally at zero."

One parade watcher, Windee Wagner, said her son attends a camp for young people who have diabetes, so she knows the bond that the camp experience creates. "We've been coming to this parade for five years, and it always brings tears to my eyes. You see the smiles on their faces and it just makes you want to reach out and hug them and tell them to always be strong," she said. "I like that my son and daughter can see that just because these children are burn victims, it doesn't mean they're not kids, too. They're no different."

Harold Garnaat, a 63-year-old local resident, dyed his hair three colors to help raise funds for Great Lakes Burn Camp. He said the publicity generated from accepting that dare was well worth it. "A guy I knew from years ago flagged me over and asked me for a pen. Then he wrote a check for $1,000 to the camp and told me to keep up the good work," Garnaat said.

For more information on children's burn camps, click here. And If you or someone you know suffers a burn injury of any type, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, NY so that they can determine whether another party is legally liable for your injuries, and if you have a solid legal case.

June 30, 2011

Burn Survivor Camps are the Best Medicine for Children with Severe Burns

A recent article in the Myrtle Beach Sun newspaper discussed a topic that is very helpful to families who have a burn survivor among them.

In Raleigh, NC, yoga instructor Blake Tedder knows how difficult it is for children with burn injuries to face the world. In 2001, Tedder was 17 when he lost 35 percent of his skin in a plane crash.

Tedder was not prepared for the stares and comments after he regained health. Because of his burns, not only did his face stay bright red for a long time, but he also had to wear pantyhose-like garment on his arms. "I felt that I looked like a mummy," said Tedder, now 26 years old. The idea of possibly not being able to play guitar or catch the eye of a girl was devastating, he added.

But at Camp Celebrate, a weekend retreat for children with burn injuries organized by the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, he started to rebuild his confidence. "It just felt good to be around those who met me before they met my burns," Tedder said.

Tedder returns to the camp this June as a counselor. The camp began when firefighters from around the state met 50 campers at Triangle Town Center and took them to the camp site outside Wake Forest University in a convoy of fire engines.

The children, between ages 7 and 15, spent the weekend fishing, canoeing and swimming with kids who know what they've been through. "Camp Celebrate is a celebration of human spirit and collaboration," said Bruce Cairns, director at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals. The love from the volunteers, firefighters, and staff at the burn center keeps the camp going year after year, Cairns said.

Deb Rosenstein, a therapist at the burn center, started the camp in 1982 because other camps hesitated to accept children who were burn survivors. A year shy of its 30th anniversary, Camp Celebrate has evolved into an after-care program, offering a wide array of services to burn survivors of different ages. Over the years many camp alumni, like Tedder, have returned.

The camp is a rebuilding experience for many of its participants, said Anita Fields, manager at the burn center's after-care program. She remembered one 14-year-old boy who vowed never to wear shorts or swim again. But at the camp he saw children jump into the water, and these children had been through the same trauma and undergone just as many, if not more, surgeries. By the end of the camp the boy wouldn't leave the water, and he even climbed an alpine tower.

As a counselor, Tedder encourages the children to be themselves, despite the scars and disfigurement. Nowadays, he hosts a radio show, plays drums and goes on dates.

It's Jon Hayes' fourth year at Camp Celebrate. The watermelon-eating contest is one of the activities that draw him back. Jon, 10 years old, had second- and third-degree burns on his chest and left arm from when he tried to retrieve a soccer ball from a grill. He said his goal is to be a camp counselor one day.

His parents, Johnny and Debbie of Ocean Isle Beach, stood in the mall parking lot to see Jon climb into a fire engine. They said they know how much he misses seeing his friends at the camp and telling each other ghost stories. "It's the ultimate camp experience," Debbie Hayes said.

The Camp Celebrate experience has given Terrell Watkins a lifelong passion for serving children with special needs. Watkins was 13 when he threw a lit match into a can filled with gasoline, thinking he was building the greatest campfire in the world. The explosion engulfed him and burned 75 percent of his skin.

Watkins survived, but the flames left deep scars all over his face, arms and legs, and destroyed his ear cartilage. The staff at the burn center invited him to the camp, where he met other children who also had scars all over their bodies.

Now 34, Watkins has been a camp counselor since 1996. He played wide receiver for Winston-Salem State University and is now a special education teacher at Cliffdale Elementary School in Fayetteville. Because of his camp experience, he wants to return to school to become a licensed clinical counselor.

"This is what I tell the kids: 'You're going to get looks from people, but you need to be comfortable in your own skin.'" And it doesn't matter whether your skin has scars or not.

June 23, 2011

Survivor Story: A Young Boy Overcomes His Severe Burns

In October 2006, Camryn Higgins suffered second- and third-degree burns to 65 percent of his body in an accidental backyard explosion at his Bastrop, Texas home. It was a Sunday morning, and he and his family was cleaning up after a seventh birthday party for Camryn the day before. His father was getting ready to light the grill for some outdoor cooking. Camryn, carrying a few chairs, also grabbed a lighter to take to his dad. But he tripped on a sidewalk and fell, and somehow the lighter emitted a spark. This ignited fumes from a nearby gas can.

"The backyard was full of smoke and I started hollering, 'Where's my baby, where's my baby?'" recalled Carl Higgins. "Finally he ran in front of me, and I noticed that he was on fire."

Emergency crews blocked traffic on a nearby highway and a medical helicopter landed to get the child to the Burn Center at Shriners Hospital for Children, in Galveston. Camryn was put on life support and doctors worried he would not survive. But several days later, the boy awoke to his astonished and deeply worried parents. Then the recovery had to begin--which included very painful baths to keep him from getting life-threatening infections.

"I remember every morning before they told me to get in the tub room, they asked: 'Do you want the pain pill or the pain popsicle?'" said Camryn, now 11 years old. "That tub room is no joke," said Camryn's father, Carl Higgins. "I don't think a grown man could sit there and go through that pain those kids went through."

"Every time it was time for him to go to the tub room, he called for prayer," remembered Camryn's mother, Katina White Higgins. "So we would call the pastor and pray early in the morning before Camryn went in."

"He would not enter that room unless we prayed; that was the only way he would go in. He would say, 'No, I'm not going in until we have prayer.' And then they had a CD that he liked, so we would put his music on and it was easier for Camryn."

"The hardest thing a parent will ever have to see is their child get scrubbed until they bleed," the mother continued. "You see that blood flowing in that tub and it's just a horrible thing. It's like pieces of your child just going down the drain and it's a horrible feeling."

The scrubbings were designed to remove the dead skin from Camryn's face, arms and torso. The medical staff at the Burn Center of the Shriners Hospital for Children rubbed hard to keep the boy's wounds from becoming infected.

But the good news is that at her moment of despair, Camryn's mom saw a therapist. "I went and spoke with the therapist and she gave me some really good advice. She said, 'Write everything down; write it all down.'" The result of that is "Camryn's Fire," a book that lays out the journey this family traveled on their way back to physical and emotional health. It was a journey that took Camryn's parents to the brink of divorce and their extended families to broken relations.

"I wanted to find out what was causing these things to happen and now I know the answer," Katina White Higgins said. "The answer is I'm being made by God to do this, and I'm going to be so much better after this is over. We were strong enough to take it and make something positive out of it, so that we can be advocates for children to be safe."

Camryn's mom is working on a new book called "I Am Different But We're All the Same." It's going to talk about a child who has been burned and who is coming back into the world with kids who are not burned. "We'll touch on how the child will look different after being burned, but the heart is the same and the love and the friendship is the same." Higgins plans to market the book in hospitals and schools to help children cope with such tragedies.

As for Camryn, here's an update: Every day, he slathers a medical cream over his scars and then does a round of push-ups. He's working out in anticipation of a summer football camp, to be followed by play on his school team in the fall. "When I grow up," he said, "I'm planning on going to University of Texas and playing football there," he said.

As for his scars: "My friend from a burn camp has her mom tell people that her burns were a tattoo from God showing his love," said Camryn. "So I really don't care what people think about how I look. I just care what I think. I think I look beautiful."

Then he smiled and struck a few body-builder poses. His parents smiled back, like people who have felt a heavy weight lifted from their hearts.

September 22, 2010

Camp Phoenix

445 E 69th St #319
New York, NY 10021, U.S.A.
212-746-3390

The mission of Camp Phoenix is to help pediatric burn survivors and their siblings. In this camp the campers will share their experiences and stories and will have a network of support that can help one and other. It's a safe exciting and a memorable experience that will not soon be forgotten.

For more details see the link to the camp. http://www.campphoenix.org/

July 7, 2010

Burn Camps in Oklahoma

Tulsa Firefighters Educational Clowns Burn Camp:

Oklahoma

This is a 5 day camp for burned children and children who have any disfiguring type of injuries. More than 100 counselors and volunteers participate in this camp ranging from firefighters, burn nurses and many other volunteers. Camp activities include western town theme, go cart track, petting zoo, team building games and much more. Children in this camp have fun, learn and have an experience that they won't forget. Every year there is a different theme and each child will receive many things including a burn camp shirt, hat, camp packet, toys and much more.

For more details see the website.

Email: huffytheclown@cox.net

Phone number: 918- 857-6351/ 918-698-8812 /Cellular: 918- 693-3376

July 6, 2010

Burn Camps in Ohio

ACBC Burn Camp:

Contact person: Mary Mondozzi

The organization: the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute

Area: Akron Children's hospital, one perkins square

State: Ohio- Akron.

Phone number: 330-543-8813

Fax number: 330-543-9998

Email: mmondozzi@chmca.org

No website available

This camp is during the Summer which is the first full week in August for 6 days.


ACBC Camp Phoenix:

Contact person: Linda Powers

The organization: 3100 East 45th Suite 214

Area: Camp is in cool pines by Prescott, AZ

State: Ohio-Cleveland.

Phone number: 216-883-6633

Fax number: 216-883-6655

Email: lpk39@hotmail.com

There are two camps that are held per year. One is held in the Summer in mid August for 4 days and the other one is held in Winter during the President's day weekend for 4 days.

July 2, 2010

Burn Camps in Georgia

Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation: Camp Oo-U-La

Georgia

This camp is sponsored entirely by the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation and is totally free of charge. It's the first and only camp serving children who survived a burn injury. In this camp survivors will have the opportunity to face social and physical challenges among their peers in a friendly, family type setting. The camp has goals, in this camp an atmosphere of conditionless love and acceptance is provided. Many activities will be provided that give the survivors a sense of accomplishment. Survivors will share their similar experiences and will form a social network that will help building self-esteem. In this camp the child will be seen on the inside not just the scars on the outside. The staff is dedicated to do their best to help and support these children and many of them are burn survivors themselves.

For more details see the website.

Email: campdirector@gfbf.org

Phone number: 404-320-6223

July 1, 2010

Burn Camps in Illinois

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Burn Camp:

Illinois

This Camp is open to children ages 8-16 that have experienced a burn injury requiring hospitalization in Illinois. A safe environment will be provided for these children were they will enjoy various activities including swimming, row boating, canoeing, fishing, archery, crafts and much more. Survivors will make new friends, built their self-esteem and share their experience with other survivors.

For more details see the website.

Email: ifsa@ifsa.org

Phone number: 847-390-0911

June 30, 2010

Burn Camps in Missouri

Missouri Children's Burn Camp:

Missouri

This camp is for children ages 6-17 who have been hospitalized for burns. In this weeklong camp, campers will participate in biking, boating, swimming, horseback riding and many other outdoor activities. Survivors will have fun, learn, share their experience with others and know that they are not the only ones with the burn injury. Survivors will develop new skill, make new friends and will have an experience that will not be forgotten as their lives will be different after this camp.

For more details see the website.

Email: brsg@sbcglobal.net

Phone number: 314-997-2757 or 866-997-BURN or 866-997-2876

Fax: 314-997-0903

June 29, 2010

Burn Camps in Virginia

Central Virginia Burn Camp:

Virginia

This camp was established in 1994 by the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association. Children between the ages of 7 and 17 can attend this camp and participate in various activities in a safe and a fun environment. The staff does their best to meet the physical, social and psychological needs of theses survivors. This camp gives firefighters who are part of the burn staff the opportunity to share their experience with these children. Since its inception firefighters from across the Commonwealth and numerous organizations have assisted in making the Central Virginia Burn Camp a success since.

For more information see the website.

Email: cvbc1999@yahoo.com

Phone number: 434-263-6566

June 28, 2010

Burn Camps in Louisiana

Louisiana Burn Camp:

Louisiana

This Camp is held in June every year at Camp Alabama in Choudrant, LA for Children ages 5 to 17 who have survived burn injuries. Many activities are practiced including fishing, arts & crafts, swimming, boating, canoeing, volleyball and much more. Campers enjoy air-conditioned cabins, pavilion, dining hall, playground, canoeing, swimming pool, and much more.

For more details see the website.

Email: burnfoundation@percyrjonhson.org

Phone Number: 318-675-6853

June 25, 2010

Burn Camps in Texas

Camp I-Thonka-Chi:

Texas- Dallas

This camp is sponsored by Parkland Memorial Hospital; the meaning of the camp is "a place that makes one strong or fearless, not afraid to face life". Survivors in this camp participate in various activities which include fishing, canoeing, arts and crafts and much more. Adult burn survivors join the Parkland Burn Center staff to serve as volunteer counselors to the children. Participation by adult burn survivors provides role models who, in spite of similar injuries, have gone on to lead normal, productive lives. Children in this camp share with others burn survivors their experience and what they have gone through making them feel that they are not alone and that there is support.

For more information see the website.

Email: dcrump@parknet.pmh.org

June 24, 2010

Burn Camps in Texas

Texas Burn Survivors society- Camp David:

Texas-San Antonio

This camp is designed specifically for pediatric burn survivors aged 7 to 15 and is open to all survivors, regardless of ethnicity, language, or religious affiliation. In this camp which is a week of fun and adventure, children will gain self confidence and learn from others who have been through the same experience. With the help and support of the dedicated staff, these children will learn that nothing is impossible and that there is no limit to their potential. The camp also hosts Teen retreat twice a year which is a three day event, designed for young adults aged 15 to graduating high school senior. Survivors or children and siblings of burn survivors who have been impacted by the burn injury can attend this retreat and participate in various activities.\

For more information see the website.

Email: tbssinfo@sbcglobal.net

Phone number: 210-824-8499

June 23, 2010

Burn Camps in Texas

Camp Janus:

Texas

This camp is held annually in which survivors aged 5-18 who sustained a burn injury will have fun and adventure. A multi-disciplinary team of professionals from a wide spectrum of the community staffs this camp. A positive therapeutic, recreational and educational experience will be provided by the team of volunteers for all campers. Children in this camp will have the opportunity to meet and socialize with other children as well as participating in many activities which will enhance their physical and psychological recovery.

For more information see the website.

Email: lora_oswalt@mhhs.org

Phone number: 713-247-3050