April 2024 Burn Bulletin

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April 2024 Burn Bulletin

Teams Forming Now for Champy-On 2024

Team registration has begun for our annual Champy-On fundraiser. We invite you to join the fun and register for a team. Champy-On kicks off on April 15th and ends the day before Champ Camp. If you have a competitive spirit and love a good challenge – this fundraising event will speak your love language! Our goal is $39,000 in honor of the 39th year of Champ Camp and funds raised will directly benefit AARBF’s programs and services.

New for 2024 – Join one of our already created teams (AARBF Board and Council, Champ Camp 2024 CITs, Champ Camp 2024 Seniors, Champ Camp 2024 Volunteers, Champ Camp Alumni). Just select the team you wish to join during the registration process. You can still set your own individual goal and have donations made directly in your name.

Register today at: https://p2p.onecause.com/champyon2024

For more information, please reach out to Elisa at ebrooke@aarbf.org.

Prevention Takes Center Stage in Santa Barbara

On March 5th – 6th, AARBF’s Andrew Mersmann traveled to Santa Barbara to promote the fire and burn prevention programs we offer through the foundation at the California Fire Prevention Institute (CFPI) conference. This was a great opportunity to say hello to our current prevention partners and introduce ourselves to those looking to expand their prevention programming to include burn prevention education. AARBF offers several educational safety programs to those under 5 years up to aging adults, as well as neurotypical/diverse and the unhoused. Click here to learn more about our prevention programs.

The Central Valley Burn Relay Raises over $14,500

On Thursday, March 7th, AARBF’s Elisa Brooke and Katrina Arthur spent the day with fire departments located within California’s central valley for the annual Central Valley Burn Relay. We had a wonderful time visiting with our firefighter partners, saying hello to old friends and making new ones. We truly appreciate the time spent together and being able to share more about the foundation’s prevention and survivor services programs. We are honored to have many firefighters volunteer for the foundation and the relays provide a great opportunity for those who are interested in volunteering to learn more about us.

Thank you to our relay participants: Fresno Firefighters, Local 202, Clovis Firefighters, Coalinga Firefighters Association, Sanger Firefighters Association, Fresno Fire Chief’s Foundation, Reedley Firefighters, Fresno-Kings Firefighters, Kingsburg Firefighters, and the Madera-Mariposa-Merced CALFire Unit Firefighters.

We also thank burn survivor, Peter Reynaga, for sharing your story with the departments and for the CRMC burn unit staff for your support of the Central Valley Burn Relay.

Young Survivors Enjoy Snow Adventure

On March 8th – 10th, young burn survivors participated in the 26th annual Statewide Ski Trip. We had a great turnout with fifty-eight attendees coming together for a snowy weekend. Thirty-one burn survivors, three CITs, twenty-three volunteers, and one staff bundled up and got ready to take on their next adventure at Bear Valley Ski Resort. Participants could choose between skiing or snowboarding, and after taking lessons as a group, everyone was off to try the different mountain paths. Later, we met at Bear Valley Village where we rode snowmobiles through the beautiful village.

This weekend would not be possible without our year-to-year incredible sponsors: Stockton Firefighters Local 456, Murphys Fire Protection District, Ebbetts Pass Fire Protection District, Bear Valley Skyline Resort, Bear Valley Department of Public Safety, Bear Valley Snowmobile, Arnold Angels, Manteca Firefighters Local 1874 and Santa Clara County Firefighters Local 1165. We want to give a special thank you to our newest sponsor, Gold Country Roasters for providing our group with tasty morning drinks. Our sponsors fed our group and created snack bags for the go, provided shelter, provided all rental equipment and lessons on the mountain as well as provided fun experiences like snowmobiling through Bear Valley Village.

Our wonderful lead, Jack Rabbit coordinated the entire weekend with our sponsors and amazing group of volunteers and staff: Alpine, Cannonball, Starman, Ducky, Princess, Skipper, Tokyo, Rascal, Echo, Neon, Ricky Rescue, Kappa, Buc, Lentil, Mango, Chop Suey, Grizzie, Shred, Boba and Kika. We also welcomed six new incredible counselors: Ripley, Comet, Rooster, Jett, FireGoose, and Domino.

Thank you all for making this trip beyond incredible, core memories were made!

Supporting Our Youngest Survivors

On Saturday, March 16th, we held our first ever Under-5 Monterey Bay Aquarium Trip for our little survivors (ages 0-5) and their families.

Our seven families, ten volunteers, and one staff member were graciously hosted by Monterey Bay Fire Station 11. A huge thank you to Raul, Phillip, and the Monterey Firefighters for going above and beyond with their kid-friendly snacks, yummy lunch, station tour, games, energy, and providing the space for our littles and the families to meet. Following the fire station, the group headed over to enjoy the rest of the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were able to enjoy the different sea creatures including getting to explore the new “Deep Sea” exhibit.

Thank you to our volunteers: Poppy, Gidget, Kamikaze, Lil Bear, Kitty, Mee Mee, Daffodil, Hammerhead, Rye and friends for dedicating your time, love, and support in making this event great for the families and the littles. We look forward to seeing everyone throughout the year for our other family events.

Make a Lasting Legacy

Have you considered leaving a planned gift that can leave a lasting impact?  Legacy gifts are one of the most meaningful gifts you can make to ensure that AARBF continues to provide vital support, services and programming to our burn survivor community for many years to come. Members of the Legacy Circle leave a lasting legacy by naming the AARBF in their will, trust or estate plan. To discuss more on how you can leave a lasting legacy please contact ebrooke@aarbf.org or visit https://www.aarbf.org/support-us/legacy-circle/

Family Fun Coming to Wonder Valley

Every year we share about how much fun our Champ Camp campers have at Wonder Valley in Sanger. This is your chance to experience all that Wonder Valley has to offer. Please join us on Sunday, April 21st from 11:30am to 3:30pm for their Family Day. Enjoy family activities and food trucks in partnership with Fresno Street Eats. Proceeds from this event will directly benefit AARBF’s Champ Camp.

For more information, please visit www.wondervalley.com.

Time to Dust Off Your Favorite Chili Recipe

Calling all cooks! The annual Champ Camp Chili Cook-Off will be held on Wednesday, June 12th during Champ Camp in Wonder Valley. If you’d like to join the fun, please register using the link below. Judging will be completed by the children attending camp, so please plan your recipe accordingly.

Please click here to register.

For more information, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at emendoza@aarbf.org.

Educational Scholarships Now Available

Applications are open now through mid-June for the Woody and Louise Reed Bridge to Life Scholarship. This incredible program made possible by the Reed family awards scholarships to burn survivors or their immediate family members seeking post-secondary education after high school. This can be community college, college, university, or trade school and is open to all ages going directly into or returning to education.

For burn survivors pursuing higher academic degrees, Master’s level or Ph.D., use the same application for the Aiming Higher Scholarship to supplement your school cost and pave the way to your bright future.

Find the link to apply by visiting our website at: https://www.aarbf.org/project/bridge-to-life-scholarship/

Champ Camp Registration is Filling Quickly

Champ Camp will be held at the Wonder Valley Resort in Sanger on June 8th – 15th. Camp is open to burn survivor children, ages 5-17. It is a great place for kids to be kids, making lasting friendships.

Register your child today at http://app.campdoc.com/register/aarbf, select “Register for a New Session” then select “Champ Camp – Camper 2024.”

For questions, please contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at emendoza@aarbf.org.

If you would like to support these young burn survivors, please consider joining or forming a team as part of our Champy-On fundraiser. Click here to register or make a one-time donation beginning April 15, 2024.

Martha Banks: The Power of Support

2023 was an amazing year filled with many beautiful moments and changes. One such moment includes when Martha Banks joined the AARBF Team as the new Survivor Care Manager.

In this video link above, Martha opens up and shares her experience of being a child burn survivor. Included in her story was how meeting James Bosch, an AARBF staff member and burn survivor, influenced her life. James visited her in the hospital while she was being treated for her burn injuries and remained a resource to her as she began her survivor journey. This care management had a profound impact on Martha which inspired her throughout her life and ultimately led her to come back to AARBF as an adult to provide that same support and care to other burn survivors.

The Power of Support is something we value here at AARBF and strive to provide to our burn survivor community. From support groups to the newly named, James Bosch Therapy Grant, we assist our survivors and their family members as they navigate their own journey.

Bocce Ball Fundraiser

We are so very grateful for the generous support of South San Francisco Fire who hosted their annual Bocce Ball fundraiser benefitting AARBF. We appreciate their continued support and invaluable partnership. We also thank the fabulous sponsors who helped make this event a success.

Volunteer Opportunties:

Please check with your regional office for more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at mdern@aarbf.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15

For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at mrodriguez@aarbf.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16

Upcoming Events:

Did you know applications for all of our 2024 overnight retreats and camps are open? To find events, details, dates, and the link to the application, click here for our camps and recreation page.

We have a new schedule for our support groups. Please click here to see what has changed for 2024.

Or, contact us at info@aarbf.org for more information.

April 15: AARBF Anniversary and Champy-On Kickoff

April 18-21: Women’s Empowerment Weekend

April 21: Family Fun Day at Wonder Valley

June 8-15: Champ Camp

If you missed any of our past Burn Bulletins, please check out our archives.