TEXAS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — This year marks the 20th anniversary for the Great Lakes Burn Camp near Kalamazoo.
The camp in Texas Township provides a free week-long retreat for kids who have survived burns. It aims to help them learn to cope and build confidence.
“It’s just a place for them to come and have fun and not worry about anything,” camp spokesman Mark Avery said. “It’s a great safe haven for them to come to.”
Saturday, a parade of fire engines escorted the campers to their temporary home. On their first full day of camp Sunday, campers started activities early, with swimming and summer camp games.
“It’s just a place to have fun for kids who are just like me,” said camper Amya Gibson.
Gibson, like the other campers, suffered a burn injury.
“I was in the fire with my brother and he didn’t get burned at all. So before that, I’m like, ‘Well, why did it have to happen to me?’” she said. “When I got here, it’s like, ‘Everyone else is like this, too. Why should I feel that way?’”
Jenna, 11, attended the camp for the second time this year.
“In school, I’m like really shy because I don’t like people saying, ‘What happened to your leg? What happened to your arm? What happened to your stomach?” she said. “I feel like this is my second home and I feel like I live here and I want to be here. So this camp has really changed my life.”
The Great Lakes Burn Camp, run by a nonprofit organization, operates entirely on fundraisers and donations.