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West Penn Burn Center’s annual Summer Camp, June 3-7, Helps Children With Burn Injuries “Celebrate the Superhero in You”

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pittsburgh Riverhounds Visit Highlights Fun, Confidence-Building Activities for Campers

PITTSBURGH, PA – Kids with burn injuries often face a long, painful recovery and a tough adjustment back to their regular lives. They’re superheroes, and the 31st annual West Penn Burn Center Summer Camp asks them to “Celebrate the Superhero in You,” with five days of camaraderie, fun and peer support that foster emotional healing and growth.

This year’s camp takes place June 3-7 in Pittsburgh and Camp Kon-O-Kwee, near Zelienople, and about 25 kids ages 7 through 17 are set to participate.

Camp is free of charge to any child that has been treated at West Penn Burn Center, thanks to the generosity of firefighter groups, businesses, organizations and individuals.

“At West Penn Burn Center, our team recognizes that healing from a burn injury is not only physical but emotional as well,” said Ariel Aballay, MD, Medical Director, West Penn Burn Center.  “We are proud to look back on 31 years of continuing to help our young patients long after their stay in the hospital ends.”

Camp kicks off Saturday, June 3, as the campers depart at noon from West Penn Hospital to a tour of the Pittsburgh Film Office and an afternoon of Laser Tag before heading to Camp Kon-o-Kwee for an evening of peer group sessions and smores around the campfire.

Two Pittsburgh Riverhounds players will visit Camp Kon-O-Kwee from 1-2 p.m. Monday to conduct a mini-soccer camp with the kids.

At Kon-o-Kwee campers will enjoy traditional summer camp activities such as crafts, swimming, Capture the Flag, and archery. They’ll finish their camp adventure Tuesday night at a dance/ice cream social with a superhero theme, then return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, June 7 to enjoy an afternoon at Kennywood Park.

Activities are designed to help children regain confidence and self-esteem and to build friendships while lessening feelings of social isolation that can occur as a result of a burn injury.

“Many of our camp counselors are former campers themselves, who returned after age 18 to help other kids through their journeys as burn survivors,” said Burn Center Outreach Coordinator Christine Perlick. “It’s rewarding for them to watch the children grow emotionally stronger and more confident over the years.”

Burn Camp offers kids the opportunity for kids to bond with others and to feel comfortable talking about their experiences, knowing they will not be judged by their peers. Counselors encourage the kids to participate in activities that may be a little outside of their comfort zone, and to cheer on their fellow campers as they explore new horizons.