‘It lets them be them­selves’

At­lantic Burn Camp hosts sur­vivors from four prov­inces

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - BY HAN­NAH RUDDERHAM

Danielle MacKen­zie has at­tended the At­lantic Burn Camp for nine years and says it’s a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s spe­cial be­cause you get to meet many, many peo­ple who have gone through hard things like bul­ly­ing or any­thing sim­i­lar be­cause of their burns,” said MacKen­zie, a 16-year-old Whit­ney Pier res­i­dent.

Although the teen says she did ex­pe­ri­ence some bul­ly­ing when she was younger, it is no longer an is­sue.

The At­lantic Burn Camp is run strictly by vol­un­teers in­clud­ing Linda Davis from Cox­heath.

Davis, the sec­re­tary of the Cape Bre­ton Fire­fight­ers Burn Care So­ci­ety and At­lantic Burn Camp, says she and other vol­un­teers ben­e­fit from the camp along with the campers.

“Just to see the smile on the chil­dren’s faces and the con­fi­dence they have,” Davis said. “It makes a huge im­pact on their lives.”

Davis joined the or­ga­ni­za­tion a year af­ter her hus­band be­came in­volved in

1999. Her hus­band was elec­tro­cuted while work­ing with

Nova Sco­tia

Power in 1987.

The camp means a lot to those who at­tend.

“It lets them be them­selves,” Davis said.

The campers range in age from six to 17 and they are of­fered plenty of fun ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We have lots of events that they en­joy do­ing, Hanks Farm comes out with their mini horses, we have Christ­mas with Santa, a fall turkey sup­per, Easter, and a car­ni­val night,” Davis said, adding there will also be a day trip to the Fortress of Louis­bourg this year.

“We do a lot of fun things and get to see a lot of re­ally cool things,” MacKen­zie said, adding she is anx­iously pre­par­ing for this year’s burn camp.

Many of the vol­un­teers are med­i­cal per­son­nel or pre­vi­ous campers. All the vol­un­teers are prop­erly screened and a nurse and paramedics are on staff at all times.

The camp sur­vives be­cause of do­na­tions from the pub­lic, its own fundrais- ers and fundrais-MacKen­zie ers or­ga­nized by busi­nesses such as the Red Knights Nova Sco­tia Club, Nova Sco­tia Power and more.

It’s im­por­tant to have a camp avail­able like this ac­cord­ing to Davis.

“So they know they’re not alone,” Davis said. “Some live in ar­eas where they don’t know other burn sur­vivors so when they come to the burn camp they know oth­ers who have been through the same ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Davis said that they rent the Cape Bre­ton Bi­ble Camp be­cause it has a large din­ing hall, kitchen, cab­ins and is a safe spot. Some campers can’t sleep in tents be­cause of their in­juries and this way all youth burn sur­vivors in the At­lantic prov­inces have the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend.

Trans­porta­tion and costs are both things that fam­i­lies needn’t worry about when send­ing their child to the At­lantic Burn Camp, which cov­ers the ex­penses.

“The best part is usu­ally just meet­ing other chil­dren who have been through the same ex­pe­ri­ences and keep­ing in touch through so­cial me­dia,” Davis said. “No burn is too small or too old. We would never refuse a child.”

The At­lantic Burn Camp be­gins Sun­day and con­tin­ues un­til Aug. 20 at the Cape Bre­ton Bi­ble Camp in New Camp­bell­ton.

Fri­day is car­ni­val night and the pub­lic is in­vited to at­tend. Busi­nesses and fire de­part­ments set up booths so the campers can play games and win prizes and the evening will end with a fire­works dis­play.

The At­lantic Burn Camp can be con­tacted at 902-562-4156 or 1-855-282-2876 or at­lanticburn­camp@bel­laliant.com.


Linda Davis

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