Each year, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance teams up with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Foundation to send one Camp “I Am Me” camper and counselor to the International Burn Camp in Washington, D.C. Dozens of teen burn survivors from across the United States and Canada make the trip east for the one-week program led by professional fire fighters and paramedics who know the challenges these remarkable children face.
Camper Isabel and counselor & IFSA Board Member, Kelly McElligott, had the opportunity to participate in 2022’s International Burn Camp which took place at the end of September. Here is what Kelly had to say about the experience:
“I had the honor of being selected, along with Isabel, to attend the IAFF 25th Anniversary International Burn Camp 9/24/22-9/30/22 at Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, MD. We spent the week with burn survivors and their counselors from all over the United States and Canada. It was a whirlwind week of touring the D.C. area, including trips to Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian museums, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and a night tour of the monuments. We were treated to an amazing competition-worthy BBQ lunch at the DC Firehouse and watched a very skilled Army Drill Team at Fort Myer. However, the most impactful part of the trip was the relationships made with burn survivors from near and far. Seeing kids who have endured so much – but are still thriving was amazing. Each day there was a word of the day – responsibility, teamwork, integrity, commitment, trustworthiness – to remind us how we need to approach not only every day at camp, but how we approach situations in our everyday life moving forward. It was a week that I was very lucky to be part of and one that I will never forget!”