I first heard about the IFSA at a public education conference I was attending in Galena. We were being told about this exciting new idea of a week-long camp for children that had survived their burn injuries. The idea sounded intriguing, though I admit, I was a little hesitant. How would I react? Would I cry? I had been a firefighter/paramedic for 10 years and I recalled part of my training involved working a shift at the burn unit. I could hardly imagine a child going through this. When I talked to my Chief about the idea of me going, he immediately said I could go and that the department would cover my time. Little could I have imagined that it would turn out to be one of the best decisions ever. It changed my life.
I have been attending camp every year from the biggening. Thirty years so far. I have also had the opportunity to work at the Fire Service test at the Illinois State Fair, delivery baby bath thermometers to hospitals, attend fundraisers, and meet with others who when considering sending a child to camp.
Watching Camp change lives is amazing. To witness a scared child arrive at camp the first day asking to go back home, but by the end of the week they were begging to stay longer. They became more open. More confident. Stronger. Braver. Actually, we were all changed from attending camp. We found a new, loving and accepting family. New friends that would last a lifetime. Camp can unlock potential for exciting parts of your life that you had no idea existed before. That goes for campers and counselors alike.
Fires and burns can both be extremely devastating. Changing people’s habits and increasing people’s awareness can help stop these life-altering, and often preventable events. The IFSA can give you all the tools you need to make that change. Protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones. It’s easy to do!