Camp Courage provides safe space for Arizona child burn victims
PHOENIX — Buses for the Arizona Burn Foundation’s annual summer camp for child burn survivors head up north on Sunday.
Camp Courage, located in Prescott, is a therapeutic camp for child burn victims turned survivors between the ages 6 and 17.
“It was designed to help burn survivors to understand that they’re not defied by their scars but instead, they’re defined by who they are,” said the Arizona Burn Foundation’s Chief Operations Officer, Mik Milem.
Milem said campers will take part in typical sleepaway camp activities but with an emphasis on healing.
“When [campers] overcome [their] fear on the ropes course, how does that translate into overcoming [their] fear and knowing that [their] scars are seen,” Milem said.
The Arizona Burn Foundation’s Programs Manager, Jack Emerick, said after all these activities they have moments where campers can debrief and talk about their experiences.
Emerick said these are the most touching moments.
“They are very closed off to begin with but throughout the week as they grow and do the activities and they experience these new things, they do begin to open up,” he said. “By the end of the week you’re hearing very personal details about their lives because they’re comfortable and able to share that.
“Then they realize that others are going through the same things they are.”
This year they will have a specific focus on bullying, which Milem said is one of the top concerns among child burn survivors.
More than 60 child burn survivors from around the state will attend the camp, as well as survivors from Nevada, Mexico and Canada.