Champ Camp for burn survivors returning to in-person experience next week

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Celebrating 35 years, Champ Camp is getting ready to welcome 100 burn survivors to the ranch in Wonder Valley.

Because of the pandemic, the camp was virtual last year but that didn't stop the Alisa Ann Ruch burn foundation from giving campers an incredible experience.

In addition to virtual gatherings, "camp in a box" was sent home to campers.

This year's in-person camp kicks off June 12 and will have safety protocols in place so campers can make their return.

"They're able to be kids all week long, they're away from stares bullying or feeling like they're all by themselves," says McKenzie Dern. "They're surrounded by people who have been through similar situations and they just make these lifetime friendships"

"When you see those kids grow and the confidence, it's pretty impressive and pretty humbling at the same time," says camp director Chris Bridger.

Since 1986, Champ Camp has provided a free, safe and fun summer camp environment for burn survivors ages 5 to 17.

It's the nation's largest and one of the longest-running camps for burn-injured children.

More than 2,000 campers have been through the program at no charge thanks to donations.

If you would like to donate, visit their website.
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