Local firefighters helped deliver the Burn Institute’s Camp Beyond the Scars “Camp-In-A-Box” to burn-injured children across the county. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Burn Institute has made some changes to their summer camp program and designed it to offer campers all the traditional activities associated with camp but in a safe home environment, including a week-long schedule of events, a pre-recorded virtual library, and live virtual assemblies for campers.
“Due to the traumatic nature of a burn injury, they often have a lifelong impact, both physically and emotionally, on a child. Our goal is to make sure that these young campers still get the support they need during the pandemic. It is important to show them that they are capable of anything they set their minds to and encourage them to embrace their uniqueness,” says Susan Day, Burn Institute Executive Director.
Camp Beyond the Scars is typically a weeklong sleepaway camp for burn-injured children ages 8-17. As one of the Burn Institute’s longest-running programs, the camp positively impacts the lives of young burn survivors by reinforcing healing, independence, and self-confidence. Participants take part in activities that boost self-esteem and confidence while teaching coping mechanisms, leadership ability, and teambuilding skills. While these qualities are important for all children, they are particularly crucial for young burn survivors who grow up facing unique challenges. Due to COVID-19, 50 young burn survivors who enrolled this year are receiving Camp-In-A-Box filled with activities, crafts, snacks, and even a camp T-shirt to be tie-dyed. Camp activities are led by volunteer counselors who are off-duty firefighters, medical professionals, educators, and adult burn survivors who uniquely understand the needs of this special population. They have recorded videos demonstrating crafts and other life skills, including how to change a tire, making solar s’mores, fire station tours, music sing-alongs, book readings, jokes of the day, and personal care. Campers will log onto new videos each day and have a “live” event every evening for 60-90 minutes so they can interact and have small group discussions.
Camp Beyond the Scars provides a supportive atmosphere where each child can learn how to cope with the emotional and physical hardships they face as a result of their burn trauma. The program allows them to interact with other children who have common experiences, so they can better realize that they are not alone in their injury. For many, camp is the first time they have the opportunity to meet another child with scars just like them. This year’s camp is held in a safe home environment, and young campers can overcome self-doubt, embrace their true abilities, share coping skills, and provide emotional support to one another.
The Burn Institute provides Camp Beyond the Scars completely free of charge through private donations and support. burninstitute.org