Burn Camp goes virtual

In what was to be a week of summer fun at camp, but due to COVID-19, fire fighters and burn survivors had to turn to a virtual way to connect.

COVID-19 has impacted so many aspects of our lives including the 27th annual Burn Camp.

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Last Thursday night was the kick-off, where hosted virtually, 100 young burn camp survivors and fire fighters tuned into a Zoom party.

Delta fire fighter and Burn Camp committee assistant director Kristy Storey alongside fellow director and Abbotsford fire fighter Brian Pederson hosted the event live from the Burn Fund Centre.

Themed “Burn Camp Does the Oscars,” burn survivor Sammy Badger performed her original song, I am Phoenix, and comedic videos presented from fire fighters announcing their donations took home awards like Best Action Adventure and Best Rescue Mission. From water fights, to a Jumanji-themed cheque rescue mission, fire fighters got creative to entertain the kids and pledge their support. 

A total of 29 fire fighter locals and eight young burn survivors announced their donations to Burn Camp. The kids’ fundraisers totalled $18,185 and included everything from classic lemonade stands to a school-wide travel mug fundraiser. Fire fighters from across B.C. and Yukon support totalled $181,883 – bringing the overall total to more than $200,000.

Fire fighters also got creative with fundraising, from virtual pancake breakfasts to 50/50 raffles. The 2020 edition of Burn Camp kick-off saw the single largest, non-capital campaign donation from the Burnaby Firefighters Charitable Society who donated $50,000.

Storey said the Delta Firefighters Charitable Society pledged $5,000 to the cause.

Besides Storey, fellow Delta firefighter Shawn Cropley serves on the organizing committee as does Ashley Terpsma, a nurse from Ladner who works at BC Children’s Hospital.

“It’s missed emotions. We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for camp not happening,” said Storey. “There is a lot of disappointed, but at the same time we are in such strange times that I think we offered a lot to offer the campers and counsellors to stay connected. In addition to the virtual events we put together camper care packages. Everyone was sent a shirt, water bottle, custom made soap and other goodies, so all the kids received that in advance of the virtual event.

“It’s just a way to show that we are all still thinking of you and looking forward to re-connect in 2021.”

This is the first time in its 27-year-long history that Burn Camp has not taken place in person. Hosted in July in Squamish, Burn Camp typically welcomes 70 to 80 burn survivors aged six to 18, and more than 60 fire fighter and nurse volunteer counsellors. The Burn Fund covers all Burn Camp expenses at a cost of about $3,000 per child, ensuring that every young burn survivor in B.C. has the opportunity to attend.

“The Burn Fund is the charity of all BC fire fighters and I am so proud of all of them who raise funds in their off duty time to support their home communities and continue to raise funds to support burn survivors in BC and Yukon,” added Gord Ditchburn, President, BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

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