Siouxland firefighters team up to help burn survivors at Miracle Burn Camp
On the shore of Lake Okoboji sits a camp. From the outside, it looks like any other camp with outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes. But if you take a step inside, for one week out of the year, it's much more than that.
These kids share two things in common.
One, they're all here at Camp Foster on the shore of Lake Okoboji and two, they are all burn survivors.
"Most survivors are the only one in their community or in their town so they don't have the opportunity to see other survivors," said Co-Director of the Miracle Burn Camp, Stacey Loen.
For over 20 years, Camp Foster in Boji has changed that, by hosting the Miracle Burn Camp.
A week long experience that lets campers from across the Midwest who have suffered severe burns, meet other survivors to show them they are not alone.
Here at camp, kids 8 to 18 can enjoy a vast amount of activities on land and on water.
Bernard Picard is 16 years old and has been coming to Miracle Burn Camp for five years after surviving burns on his hip and leg as a result of spilling a steam kettle on himself when he was just 11 years old.
"When I first came here I was self conscious about people seeing my burns but after coming here I realized that people don't really care because everybody has one. It's just a place to feel at home," said burn survivor, Bernard Picard.
"I realized that this world wasn't completely horrible and that people did care about people who maybe had something different about them," said burn survivor, Chloe Hedlund.
Which showed today, when firefighters from Sioux City and Sioux Falls presented a check of over 6 thousand dollars to help give kids the chance to come to Camp Foster.
"It gives them a place that they can feel comfortable and confident in their own skin," said Sioux City Firefighter, Derek Trobaugh. "A lot of times it's just that confidence, gaining the confidence in who you are and knowing that your burn injury does not define you, that you're still this amazing kid and your burn is just a part of your story but it doesn't define who you are."
Now the camp generally happens the week after the fourth of July. And this year, roughly 70 campers made their way up to the Iowa lakes to have this life changing experience.