Nation’s largest burn survivor camp returns in Wonder Valley

Local News

SANGER, California (KSEE) – A parade for the 35th anniversary of Champ Camp was held Wednesday at Wonder Valley, where people came and made some noise for burn survivors.

“Making sure our community partners are still feeling included and they’re supported, I just want them to see where the work that they do goes to, where their volunteerism goes to, where their support, the community partnership goes to and this is a great way to do that,” Erika Mendoza, Resource Development Manager of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

Last year, Champ Camp was virtual due to COVID and with this year’s protocols, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation is welcoming around 100 campers back in person compared to the normal 150 plus campers.  Nearly a dozen organizations drove through the campsite, including Clovis and Fresno Police and Fire Departments, exchanging greetings from a distance.

“The kids are super excited because they made signs, they made thank you signs, they decorated themselves and they’re just super excited to be able to show that to them and thank them in the best way a kid knows how, which is yelling and cheering and just being super happy.”

It can cost $750 to $1,000 per child to attend camp.  Tens of thousands of dollars are donated by sponsors and community partners supporting the largest burn survivor camp in the nation.

“It feels like a home, it’s our family and it’s a great way where survivors can get away from the unwanted stares, unwanted comments that we sometimes get from the public unfortunately.  So, we’re here to educate, but at camp, you’re a normal kid.”

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