From August 6 to August 11, 41 children and young adults who have sustained significant burn injuries came together for Camp Beyond the Scars. Established over twenty years ago, 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 Pirates and throughout the week, campers participated in thematic activities to get in the spirit. Upon arrival, each cabin created their pirate name and mascot, as well as their cabin chant. We had the Pre-Teen Girls as the Lady Buckaroos, the Pre-Teen Boys as the Scallywags, the Teen Girls as Shark Bait and the Teen Boys as the Sea-Dogs. As you can imagine, there was a whole lot of ARGGGG-ing!
The rest of the camper’s week was packed full of activities including laser tag, pool time, archery, rock climbing, arts & crafts, a pirate party, pirate relay races, and an off-campus trip to Lake Cuyamaca. One special pirate activity this year was a ship building contest! Each cabin received materials such as cardboard, ducktape and pool noodles and then we set sail in the pool to see who could complete the voyage first! The Teen Boy Sea-Dogs came in for a big win racing to the finish line first.
In addition to all of the fun activities, this special camp provides something unique–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, as well as our donors and sponsors who helped make camp happen: Bonsall Woman’s Club, Chula Vista Fire, Cox Charities, David C. Copley Foundation, Elta Sunscreen, Finish Line Youth Foundation, Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, Grossmont Healthcare District, Heartland Fire, Helen Woodward Animal Center – Pet Encounter Therapy, Kiwanis Club of Poway, Las Primeras, Legacy Quilters Guild, Mariposa Ice Cream, McKesson Foundation, MFM Enterprises, Molnlycke, North San Diego Business Chamber, Photo Time Photobooth, Pratt Memorial Fund, Samuel H. French III and Katherine Weaver French Fund, San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Organization, San Miguel Fire, Sweetwater Woman’s Club, Tactical Laser Tag, The Country Friends, The Douglas and Julia Salisbury Charitable Foundation, The Melvin Garb Foundation, Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern California, Walden W. & Jean Young Shaw Foundation, Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation