Burn survivors come together as a family during 33rd annual Champ Camp

Local News

Around 150 burn survivors from around California spent the week up Wonder Valley Ranch Resort in Sanger this week for the 33rd Annual Champ Camp. 

It is the longest and largest camp for burn survivors in the nation. The camp is completely free for any kids from 5-17 years old. 

“It is definitely a big family,” said Camper and Counselor in Training Christian who first attended the camp when he was five. 

The campers do a number of activities throughout the week including go-karts, swimming, ziplining, craft, and even a chili cookout. 

The goal of the camp is to help these kids gain a sense of acceptance and realizing they are more than their scars. 

“Confidence,” said Christian. “That is the biggest thing. You know I learned it is okay that you have scars. You are an individual. It is okay that you are not like everyone else.”

Over the years donations and volunteers have made it possible for over 2,000 children to take part in this camp for free. Camp Director Colleen Young said each year she leaves with more than she came with. 

“Some of us feel like thieves because they have just given us so much and when we get home and things start going sideways we realize it’s not that big of a deal,” said Young. 

For other survivors, they hope they will be able to make a difference in others lives especially for children who were burned. 

“I know what is like to be stared at for your burns,” said survivor Yara. “So it is something that can hold you back or it is something that can propel you forward, and I hope to be propelled forward.”

This year was one of the largest showings at the camp. 

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