Largest U.S. camp for burn-injured children returns in Central California

Localish logo
Thursday, June 24, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

The largest summer camp for burn-injured kids in America returned this summer.

Sanger, CA -- The largest summer camp for burn-injured kids in America returned this summer.

"It's been a whole year, but at the same time, it feels like no time has passed," says counselor turned resource development manager Erika Mendoza.

"The kids get a lot out of this, they look forward to this all year, but sometimes the volunteers get even more out of it because of the love they get back from the kids," Mendoza says.

Champ Camp Foundation empowers burn survivors ages 5-17 throughout California. The camp is put on by the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

Campers get the opportunity to take part in all kinds of activities, including ziplining, archery and horseback riding. Mendoza is a former camper herself.

"A lot of our campers have limitations, for example, I don't have my fingers. And you learn here that there are no limitations for yourself, you get to find different ways that work for you, for example, doing archery. I can shoot a bullseye," says Mendoza.

"They're overcoming trauma that we just can't comprehend, but for them to come to camp, be around another 130 kids that have gone through the same experience as they have and be around a loving and supporting environment that encourages them and they can learn to grow and try new things," said Champ Camp Director Chris Bridger.

To date, the Alisa Ann Ruch Foundation has sent more than 2,000 kids to Champ Camp, the nation's largest and one of the longest-running camps for burn-injured children.

Fundraising efforts take care of the costs. You can contribute by clicking here.

"We don't like to turn away kids and we'll do anything we can to provide and give these kids a space to grow and love their scars," says McKenzie Dern with the foundation.