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BURN CAMP 2000

Story and Photos by

LEE A. WOOD

[Various versions of this article appeared in the Sept. `00 `Western Driver' (Vancouver, B. C.), OCT. `00 `Thunderpress' (L. A. Calif.), OCT. `00 `Canadian Fire Fighter' (Delhi, Ont.)]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Things were a little different at camp this year. (Other than that there were fifty-five campers, up from eighteen the first year.) In the past campers brought their own weapons. This year camp staff asked all campers to leave their weapons at home. Gone were the unequal battles of six shooter versus multi-clip weapons.

One could almost state that equality is the very foundation of a Burn camp. While doctors can often cure physical wounds produced by burns they can seldom find a cure for the emotional scars. Burn survivors often feel that they are different, that they can't participate with other children. Though there are times when everyone wishes to be alone, no one wants to be alone all the time.

At the Burn Camp, burn survivors need not feel; alone, or different. They can put aside these emotions because all the campers have gone through similar ordeals and all the campers are equal in their desires to be accepted on an equal footing. And this year they all, except the camp staff, had the feeling of being equally armed, thanks to the `Vancouver Harley Owners Group'. From funds they had raised for the Burn Camp by having a `show and shine' which included a raffle for a stuffed lee, that one of the group had made, the `Harley Owners' presented each camper with a `Super Soaker' making all battles equal. Each weapon had the same range, each weapon held the same amount of H2O, and the water did fly.

Do we need
a license for
this parade?
(Pic. of motorcycles.)
After the busses have gone by, the Vancouver Harley Owners Group leave Britannia Beach. The leading van was driven by David Franco, Fire Fighter from the District of North Vancouver. The Harleys were followed by their own van which contained the super soakers and the helmets for the children.

Maybe I should expand on the word `equal'. The Harley Owners also supplied the camp staff with water pistols. Notice I said pistols. Only one shot per adult. Now that's what the campers call `equal'.

Moving North
past the
B. C. Mining Museum.
(Pic. of Motorcycles.)
Following the Fire Dept. van, Don Genovese (Left), Unidentified (2nd bike), John & Roberta Horwood (3rd bike), Dan & Rosalie McNeil (1st sidecar).

Of course water fights weren't the only entertainment at the five day camp. There was river rafting, motorcycle (Courtesy of the Vancouver Harley Owners Group) and hot rod rides (courtesy of the B. C. Hot Rod Association), campfires, swimming, a trip to whistler, wall climbing, paintball, BBQs, and high speed Zodiac rides on the ocean.

Mooo(Pic. of Miss Bovinity.)
David Franco, Fire Fighter from the District of North Vancouver, (upper right) introduces `Miss Bovinity' at the BBQ.

Actually the fun started before the camp itself. The campers enjoyed a barbecue at the North Vancouver Fire Department Training and Maintenance Center in North Vancouver where they registered, rode the bucket on the boom ladder, were lowered out of the rappelling tower, and competed against each other knocking over targets with a fire hose before boarding the bus for the camp.

Getting into
harness for a
ride on the boom
(Pic. of Fire fighters puting campers in harness for a ride on the boom.)
(L -R) Sam Van Born, Fire fighter from the city of North Vancouver, Don Bell, Mayor of the District of North Vancouver, Mike Walker and Eric Bjarnason, fire fighters from the city of North Vancouver.

Up, I said Up.(Pic. of youth behing lowered in harness.)
Darron Allen, Fire Fighter from the District of North Vancouver, lowers a camper from the practice tower.

All aboard!(Pic. of busses at the training center.)
(L to R) Greg Schaalge, Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Kevin Hegarty, Fire Fighter from the District of North Vancouver, Kris Anderson, Fire Fighter from the District of North Vancouver, Joshua Kalmar, camper from Nelson, Doug, Joshua's father.

********************

The campers at Squamish were not the only burn survivors to enjoy the summer. There are four other camps in Canada; Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

Because there is no camp in Saskatchewan, B. C. hosts 2 or 3 (3 this year) campers from that province every summer. This year was a little different in that B. C. also hosted 1 Fire Fighter and an adult burn survivor.

I got the burger,
where's the bus.
(Pic. of Chad Uzelman.)
Chad Uzelman, adult burn survivor from Saskatchewan is active in starting a burn camp in his home province. His title is `Civilian Rehabilitation Representative for the Saskatchewan Professional Fire Fighters Burn Unit Fund (SPFFA Burn Fund). If you are interested in helping the SPFFA Burn Fund, or have any suggestions as to where they could establish a camp, give Chad a call.

Why the adults? They had come seeking pointers so that Saskatchewan can host its own camp in the future.

The ingredients for a camp are simple. First you find some campers, between the ages of 6 and 18, which, unfortunately, is not that hard to do, in any age group.

Secondly you need a campsite. There are two ways that this could be done. Find a suitable location, purchase the land, rent it out to other groups when you are not using it, or as B. C. has done, go the opposite route and rent time from an existing campsite. Each summer, for the past seven years, the B. C. Fire Fighters have rented a 5 day period in Paradise Valley.

We, here in the Vancouver area, think of camps as being for summer activities but outside the lower mainland Canadians know that there are many winter activities, such as: skating; ice fishing; ski doing; snow cave camping; snow fights; ice castle competitions; etc. Campsite rentals are usually cheaper and volunteers are often easier to find during the off season.

How about a real ride?(Pic. of Hot Rods.)
Terry Rea member of both, the Vancouver Harley Owners Group, and the B. C. Hot Rod Association, seen here (on right) with his `30 Ford Coupe, and Jerry Carvelli, a member of the B. C. Hot Rod Association, seen here (on left) with his `67 Pontiac Firebird 400, offered the campers an alternative ride if they didn't want to ride a Harley.

The third ingredient is a little more difficult to obtain and that is manpower. A camp, like any other project requires the time of already busy people. Planners, administrators, councilors. It is a large list and is filled mostly by enthusiastic volunteers who must give up their time with family and friends.

This year there were 33 volunteers who attended the camp itself. There were however, many more volunteers who put in many hours before the camp which brings us to the fourth ingredient.

The fourth ingredient for a camp is funds, the volunteers who help raise those funds, and the citizens and corporations who donate said funds.

Of course the last and final ingredient is the weather and unfortunately none of us have control over that. As such a large project as a camp must be planned far in advance the dates are set and we can only hope that the weather man will be as generous as the volunteers and donors.

This year the weather man was generous and Burn Camp 2000 was a great success.

Let's Mount Up!(Pic. of bikes in parking lot.)
VHOG gathers at Britania Beach on Howe Sound before proceeding to Paradise Valley. Les Jacobson (Left) with two unidentified riders. (Center) Vern Bye & Rick & Sandra Anderson. (Right) Dick Anderson.

Where're the
traffic cops when
you need them?
(Pic. of bikes leaving parking lot.)
Unidentified. 3 riders from the state of Washington wait for a break in traffic.

END

RELATED WEB SITES

(Link to B.C. Hot Rod Assoc. )
BCHRA

B.C. Hot Rod Assoc.
(Link to B.C. Fire /fighters.)
B. C. Professional
Fire Fighters
(Burn Camp Logo.)
Burn Fund

Burn Camp
(Link to Western Driver Magazine Vancouver, Canada.)
WD

(Western Driver.)

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