Trying to live a normal life with burns isn't easy, especially for children. But for one week a year, the kids of Camp Phoenix get to forget their troubles and just have fun!
Eleven burn survivors ages six to sixteen from various places in Tennessee and Kentucky are at Indian Creek Youth Camp in DeKalb County through Saturday on a week-long camp sponsored by the Tennessee Firefighters’ Burn Foundation and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
Director Judy King said the staff of Camp Phoenix first brought a group of children to Indian Creek Youth Camp five years ago and they have been returning every year since. "Camp Phoenix is a one week summer camp for children ages six to sixteen who are burn survivors. It's a chance for them to come out and be with other children that have similar situations. They get to go on the lake and go swimming. They do arts and crafts, horseback riding, and then we do unique things such as take them on motorcycle rides. It starts on Memorial Day and goes through the whole week and we leave on Saturday," she said.
The DeKalb Firefighters’ Association partners with Camp Phoenix each year to lend support. "We're a supporter of Camp Phoenix. We try to donate so kids can do fun things. A lot of these kids have been through a tragedy and we're just trying to uplift them and show that there are people who care. It's something we look forward to doing every year. Earlier this week we sponsored a charter bus for them to travel to an amusement park in Kentucky, said Brian Williams, Secretary-Treasurer of the DeKalb Firefighters' Association.
The children were transported by school bus from Indian Creek Youth Camp to Edgar Evins State Park on Thursday for a pizza party, sponsored by the DeKalb Firefighters Association. The kids were also treated to rides in DeKalb County Fire Trucks and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Patrol Cars. Firefighters from other areas of Middle Tennessee were there to give children motorcycle rides through the park.
Members of the DeKalb Firefighters Association wish to thank Sheriff Patrick Ray and his department along with Park Rangers and Manager Carl Halfacre of Edgar Evins State Park for their support.
Camp Phoenix is funded through the Tennessee Firefighters Burn Foundation. "They do the fundraising. We have memberships and fundraisers that fully fund and support the camp. Everyone here is a volunteer so all the money we raise goes back into the foundation and Camp Phoenix. Our staff all go through an extensive background check. We've got paramedics, firefighters, school teachers, and members of the community that volunteer to give a week of their time to put this on for the kids," said King.
The primary objective of the Foundation is to assist burn survivors in their recovery and to keep in close contact with burn units and medical facilities that provide care for burn victims. Providing burn awareness education through various community programs is also a major purpose of the Foundation.
Visit their website at www.tnfbf.org to learn more.