Camp connects burn survivors with peers who understand the pain and trauma of what it’s like to have a burn injury – regardless of the size. Campers meet friends from their local area and across the country because of referring partnerships with 8 hospitals nationwide. Intentional and individualized programming is created to address each child’s goals while working collaboratively with families and referring burn units.
The Children’s Hospital Colorado Burn Camps philosophy is to serve burn injured children treated at Children’s Hospital Colorado and our network of referring hospitals. Across the nation, burn camps have developed to serve states or regions of the US so that camps are more closely linked to the hospitals in their area. This way any follow-up concerns can be communicated with the referring hospital and follow-up care can be arranged – whether it be medical or psychosocial.
We strive to develop the imagination, genuine character, and confidence of campers, giving them the ability and courage to thrive during their recovery and beyond.
The benefits of camp
Parents want the best opportunities for their children. They want them to have whatever it takes to be happy and successful – good health, ability to get along with others, thinking and problem-solving skills, a good self-concept. Children need resiliency skills: self-esteem, life skills, self-reliance, and pro-social behaviors. The camp experience offers a nurturing environment away from the distractions and, in some cases, the hostile environment of the city.
In recent years, camps have put a greater emphasis on what leaders in the child development field have been saying about the needs of children today. Camp activities and group living in a natural environment are the tools used to create camp communities that provide for successful, healthy development and a place where having fun is a daily criterion. In such a structured environment, children interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax, and reflect. They learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self-reliance, and gain confidence. All are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life.
The camp experience
The camp experience is recognized by child development professionals as valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. “The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing. Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school.” Michael Popkin, Ph.D., family therapist and founder of Active Parenting.
Noted experts in child development have expressed their thoughts on summer camp as a valuable resource for giving children the value of belonging to a community of their own. This position is being forwarded by the American Camp Association, which believes that the critically important sense of community for children is rooted in enabling and empowering children to be belonging, cooperating, contributing, and caring citizens.
Bruce Muchnick, licensed psychologist who works extensively with day and resident camps, said, “Each summer at camp a unique setting is created, a community is constructed that allows participants to get in touch with a sense of life that is larger than one’s self. The camp community seeks to satisfy children’s basic need for connectedness, affiliation, belonging, acceptance, safety, and feelings of acceptance and appreciation.”
Bob Ditter, licensed clinical social worker specializing in child and adolescent treatment, added, ”It is in the crucible of this community that children gain self-esteem with humility, overcome their inflated sense of self, and develop a lifelong sense of grace and wonder.”
Michael Brandwein, noted speaker and consultant to the camp profession, continued, “What makes camp a special community is its focus on celebrating effort. In this less pressured atmosphere, children learn more readily what positive things to say and do when they make mistakes and face challenges. Brandwein also said, “The traditions and customs of each different camp are like a secret code that allows those who know it to feel embraced by something unique and special.” He continued, ”Campers are urged to include, not exclude, others. They are praised for choosing new partners and not always the same ones. They are encouraged to respect the differences between people. In an increasingly sarcastic, put-down-oriented world, camps aim to be an oasis of personal safety where demeaning comments and disrespectful behavior are not tolerated, and children are taught responsible and positive ways to resolve conflicts.”