‘It lets them be themselves’
Atlantic Burn Camp hosts survivors from four provinces
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.