Burn Camp for Kids

Request for Donors, Presenters & Mentors             

Approximately 13 years ago a vision to start a camp for children with burn injuries became a reality.  This annual summer Burn Camp was made possible with the help of St Elizabeth Regional Medical Center’s Foundation and several staff members from the Burn Unit at St Elizabeth Regional Medical Center. This camp is held each year in Burwell Nebraska at Kamp Kaleo for youth ages 7 to 18 who have suffered burn injuries.

Each year approximately 15-20 campers ages 7-18 along with 4-6 nursing staff from the Burn Center at St Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, NE head for Kamp Kaleo in Burwell, Nebraska located in the heart of Nebraska’s Sandhils. During burn camp kids get a chance to meet others peers with burn injuries.  As one camper stated, “I get to be with my same Species at burn camp.”

For 14 years the St. Elizabeth Burn Center and unit staff has been fortunate that burn camp has remained an accessible opportunity for children that have suffered burn injuries. This has been made possible by the Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Foundation and from the generous donations of numerous groups. Several such include volunteer fire fighter districts hosting poker runs in Omaha and Kearney, Nebraska with the proceeds going to burn camp.  Others have provided numerous individual gifts that have allowed each camper to be sponsored and making sure money was not an obstacle.  All of the contributions go through the Foundation at St Elizabeth regional medical center.

Burn Camp offers kids many activities to build confidence, self-esteem, and make new friends. These activities include numerous outdoor games, horseback riding, water play, tubing the Loop River, and many other fun activities. We offer kids at burn camp an informal opportunity to reflect and interact with other burn victims. The kids at burn camp are very open and talk about what happened to them and how their burn injuries affect their lives. This is always the most powerful portion of camp. 

This Saint Elizabeth Burn Center camp has proven success and benefits. But as with any camp or activity there are challenges.  Each year we do our best to add new campers who have burn injuries.  We know there are more kids that would benefit from this camp. It is a week of fun activities where these kids can just be kids despite the challenges they face in everyday life due to their injuries. Our goal is to teach these campers they are valuable individuals with a lot to offer.

I have been the Burn Camp director for the past three years. Prior to being the camp director I spent several years as one of the camp counselors from the Saint Elizabeth Burn Unit. My involvement in this camp has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have encountered in my life along with one of the most challenging. These kids have and continue to suffer many physical and emotional disabilities as a result of their traumatic burn injuries. But at Burn Camp all those anxieties and stress fade away for one short week while they just enjoy being kids at summer camp.

Sincerely

Eric Jensen

Camp Director

RN, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center Burn Unit

402-219-7871

Learn more about Burn Camp at http://www.saintelizabethonline.com/burncamp

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