From August 8 to August 13, 44 children and young adults who have sustained significant burn injuries came together for Camp Beyond the Scars. Established in 1987, camp is the Burn Institute’s hallmark burn survivor support program, specifically designed for burn injured children ages 8-17. In addition, survivors ages 18-21 participated in a junior counselor component of the camp as Leaders-In-Training.
This year’s summer program took place at a camp facility in Ramona and was an absolute blast! The theme was “My Tribe” and the kids truly embraced it. Upon arrival, each cabin created their tribe name, identified their spirit animal, decorated their own flag and created a chant. All of the cabins took great pride representing their tribe throughout the week. The opening ceremony featured a tribal drumming group to get us in the true spirit.
The rest of the camper’s week was packed full of activities including laser tag, pool time, archery, rock climbing, arts & crafts, a jungle-themed dance party, an off-campus trip to The Wave Water-park, and most importantly, an abundance of emotional support. Camp Beyond the Scars provides daily supportive activities that help each camper build resiliency, self-confidence and learn how to overcome the emotional and physical hardships they face as a result of their burn trauma. There were a number of new campers this year, some who had never seen another child with a burn scar. Camp allowed them to understand that they are not alone in their healing journey.
We would like to give a special thank you to all of the camp counselors and staff who volunteered their time to help out with this special program. Many whom are off-duty fire service personnel and adult burn survivors who uniquely understand the needs of this population. We would also like to give a shout-out to those who visited us at camp and generously made an in-kind donation of a meal for the children or provided their services to us free of charge: Chula Vista Fire Department, Heartland Fire-Rescue, National City Fire Department, Vista Fire Department, American Medical Response, Equinox Laser Tag, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Kiwanis Club of Poway, Mending Feathers, Mariposa Ice Cream and the USD Nursing Program.