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Burn Camp Lets Kids Be Kids

Burn Camp Lets Kids Be Kids


There is a special place for kids where they can row boats, soar through trees via zip lines and navigate an obstacle course of tires and rope nets. 

Here, kids don’t have to care about what they wear or what they look like. They don’t have to deal with awkward explanations or cruel comments. That’s because this camp has been specially created for youngsters who are recovering from burn injuries. 

Allegheny Health Network takes part in Summer Camp for Burn Injured Children because we are committed to helping kids heal, emotionally and physically. When kids make the leap to feeling good about themselves, it is living proof that time spent with other kids can be great medicine.

Free for more than 28 years

Almost 30 years ago, the West Penn Burn Center at West Penn Hospital created its Summer Camp for Burn Injured Children.  Part of Allegheny Health Network, Burn Camp is held at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople.  The young people attend for free for five days.

It was founded to:

  • Restore hope and build self-esteem
  • Help children with burn injuries heal their bodies and spirits
  • Create an environment that’s supportive and fun

A place in the woods to build self-esteem

Any change in their physical appearance can greatly affect children’s self-confidence.

Guided by skilled counselors and other professionals, the kids have a unique opportunity to:

  • Share their stories with others in similar circumstances
  • Enjoy fun new experiences to build up their self-esteem and confidence
  • Grow strong bodies and minds
  • Create lifelong friendships, with their “burn camp family”

Gaining a fresh point of view

“In one instance, we had a camper who was being bullied at school because of some visible scarring and this was having a very profound impact on his level of participation in school,” said Christine Perlick, West Penn Hospital, Burn Camp Outreach Coordinator.  “His mother said that camp has changed her son’s life. He’s become more confident and outgoing and has learned skills he can use to overcome the other kids’ negative behavior.”

“Our counselors and volunteers believe that being called a camp family means we’re making a positive impact and contribution to the development of these kids. It’s the kind of impact that makes everyone involved very proud,” adds Perlick. 

The recognized leader in burn care

With a mission to ensure the best possible outcomes, the West Penn Burn Center supports patients as they deal with the immediate impact of burn injuries, and also the emotional and social dynamics involved in getting well.

The West Penn Burn Center treats pediatric and adult burn patients, and is:

  • The only facility of its kind in the Pittsburgh region
  • Certified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons

Burn camp continues to help


West Penn Hospital

Supporting Story

Christine Perlick, outreach coordinator for the West Penn Burn Center, discusses Burn Camp and the positive impact it has on the children who attend.