Getting Ready for Our 35th Annual Champ Camp
Our amazing Champ Camp Staff spent their first weekend of 2020 getting geared up for the 35th Annual Champ Camp!
Rocks, Spaz, Tex, Jersey, Jack Rabbit, Kamikaze, Knuckles, Dash, Pookie, Boots, Dazzle, Apollo, Jem and Professor Dave all gathered at Wonder Valley Ranch for a weekend of planning, brainstorming, fun and laughs! Special thanks to Roy “Pinto” Oken who led the group in some fun team building activities…we didn’t even drop Apollo in the trust fall! Champ Camp is so lucky to have such a dedicated, creative, loving, energetic and overall amazing team of super humans, as camp leadership.
We celebrated and welcomed Rocks as our new Camp Director; Jack Rabbit as our new Wranglers Unit Leader; Dash as our new CIT Co-Director; Knuckles as our Operations Director and Boots as our Co-Scheduler. We are also so grateful to have Professor Dave return to Champ Camp this year to help celebrate our 35th anniversary!
Mark your calendars for the 35th Annual Champ Camp on June 6-13, 2020. You don’t want to miss this one!
2020 Staff and Board Retreats – Planning Our Future
On January 15 -19, AARBF staff and board members held separate retreats at our Central Office located within the Clovis Fire Department Headquarters. As a state-wide organization we have staff and volunteers located in three different regions. Most meetings are conducted through phone and teleconference. While we appreciate the many communication methods available today, nothing compares to the synergy created by everyone being in the same room!
During the staff retreat, a look back at 2019 (the roses and the thorns!) was followed by a review of our mission, organizational culture, strategic plan and standards. Staff also completed an overview of the Programs and Services we will be providing in 2020.
During the board retreat, which included both our board and council of advisors, members reviewed the 2019 strategic plan, identifying items completed and those still outstanding. They then added the items they wish to accomplish in 2020 (and beyond!). All the board committees provided updates on their past accomplishments and identified the direction for this year. Board members are tasked with being the visionaries and the planners. This is an important function of any board and we are thankful they donate their time, energy and expertise to guide our organization.
Although the retreats took place separately, they did overlap on the 17th. Our time together included a tour of the Clovis Fire Department Headquarters!
We want to give a special shout out to the Clovis Fire Department for providing office space to our organization. We are thankful to have your support!
Burn Survivor Support Groups
Did you know AARBF hosts monthly burn survivor support groups? These meetings are confidential and will provide you with an opportunity to connect with other burn survivors allowing you a safe place to share your concerns with others who understand. Visit our Events Calendar https://www.aarbf.org/events to find a location near you (or look at Facebook Events tab). If you don’t find a location near you, please join our online video support group. We look forward to seeing you.
Disaster Preparedness Summit
On January 30th, Jennifer Radics-Johnson attended a Disaster Preparedness Summit in Concord, CA. This summit provided training for nonprofits and community-based organizations to better target their preparedness efforts. The training included lessons from personal preparedness to how to partner with government agencies to form a powerful whole community response. Jennifer is already thinking of ways to apply the lessons learned to incorporate strategies to improve our preparedness efforts!
Sharing the BeSafe Tool
n the beginning, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation focused on teaching individuals “Stop, Drop and Roll” to reduce burn injuries and save lives. Our safety education has expanded to include many fire and burn topics over the almost 50 years we have been serving the communities of California. Recently we took a hard look at our educational efforts to determine and verify their effectiveness. Never satisfied with the status quo we wanted to ensure the lessons we teach not only educate on the danger but create a behavioral change towards safety. Together with behaviorists from California State University Northridge, we created the BeSafe Tool. This was a two-year project involving fire education entities across the United States. Now we are sharing this Tool with Firefighters and Fire Prevention Educators so we can all improve our educational methods to provide for the safety for our communities.
AARBF’s very own, Daniel Chacon, will be teaching how to use the BeSafe Tool at a Symposium sponsored by Vision 20/20, February 17-20. Below is a brief interview with Daniel explaining the creation of the BeSafe Tool (www.besafetool.org).
Southern & Northern Ski Trips for Burn Survivors
We are now accepting applications for our annual ski trips. We have two trips planned. The first is for Southern California and Bakersfield, March 6-8 at China Peak-Shaver Lake. The second is for Central and Northern California, March 13-15 at Bear Valley Ski Resort. Lessons for skiing and snowboarding are available. To attend, you’ll need to submit your application and $5.00 to the trip of your choice.
SoCal & Bakersfield application: https://bit.ly/36TsPVr
Applications are due by February 21, 2020.
Central & Northern CA application: https://www.aarbf.org/event/2020-northern-california-ski-trip/ (the application isn’t here yet)
Applications are due by February 29, 2020.
Join Our Champ Camp Team
Do you want to have the most rewarding experience of your life? Then you’ll want to volunteer as a Counselor at Champ Camp!
Champ Camp is a week-long (June 6-13, 2020), residential summer camp experience for child burn survivors ages 5-17, who have been treated at California hospitals or are current residents of California. Each year, approximately 130 children attend this week long summer camp at Wonder Valley in Sanger, California.
As a Champ Camp Counselor, you will join a fun and compassionate group of individuals including burn unit nurses, burn doctors, adult burn survivors and firefighters. Activities at the camp include fishing, horseback riding, crafts, canoeing, archery, water slides, camp fire, a dance, and team building activities. The main focus of camp is for burn survivors to have fun and just be kids away from medical procedures and financial hardships. Camp provides a safe environment where burn survivors can play, learn, grow, gain self-esteem, and make new friends.
If this sounds like the volunteer experience you’ve been looking for, apply to be a Champ Camp Counselor today! Last day to apply for this year’s camp is February 29, 2020.
Champ Camp Counselor Application: https://www.tfaforms.com/4714361
For more information on attending Champ Camp, please contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon.
Erika Mendoza Named Resource Development Manager
Erika Mendoza joined the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation in May 2018 promoting our programs and services to the Central Valley, but she has a long history with the organization. Erika first became involved with AARBF at the tender age of five, when she first attended AARBF’s Champ Camp. She participated in a number of burn survivor events with the organization for nearly 20 years, including becoming a Counselor in Training, a Champ Camp Counselor, and a member of the AARBF’s Council of Advisors.
This year, Erika has begun a new role with AARBF as our Resource Development Manager. Instead of focusing on just the Central Valley, she will be responsible for fundraising and developing additional resources throughout the entire state. Through this effort, she will help the organization strengthen and expand our programs and services.
We are looking forward to seeing how Erika will use her passion for AARBF to take us to new heights! Her warmth and compassion make her the ideal person for working with our donors, volunteers and supporters.
To learn more about Erika, please visit the Our Team section under the About tab on our website.
On Sunday, May 3, 2020, there will be three teams participating in the Fresno Urban Run raising funds for Champ Camp. The teams are Hanford Fire Department Firefighters (Scott Mellon), Fresno City College (FCC) Fire Academy students, and College of the Sequoias (COS) Fire Academy students.
What is the Fresno Urban Run?
Starting inside of Chukchansi Park, they will be put to the challenge of climbing every step from the bottom to the top of the stadium, followed by a run up a 6-story circular garage and then down an adjacent 6-story circular garage, proceeded by a 1 mile run down Fulton Street to the Tuolumne Overpass (Urban Hill), before the final challenge, climbing 220 stairs to the top of a 10-story building, The Grand Tower, where the timing sensor will stop the clock! Overall length of the Urban Run is approximately 3 Miles. Participants are released to begin one at a time with 3 to 5 seconds between each runner. First runner will be released at 8:00am.
You can help support these teams and Champ Camp by donating to one (or all) of the teams! It’s easy, simply visit https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/fresnourbanrun2020, scroll down to the Leaderboard, click on the team you wish to donate to, and then click on the donation tab. Or, you can create your own team! Contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 with any questions.
• Northern California Volunteer Opportunities
- Each year, AARBF partners with the San Francisco Fire Department to educate thousands of kids in fire and burn prevention. This program also entails pre- and post- tests to track learning. We need help pairing students’ pre- and post- tests and scanning them so that they can be graded by a computer program and analyzed by a statistician.
- General office administrative tasks such as printing, filing, mailings, data entry, organization, etc. Please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 for more details.
- Central California Volunteer Opportunities
- Please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 if you have interest in volunteering for the following:
- We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!
- Southern California Volunteer Opportunities
- Please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 x16 if you have interest in any of the following:
- We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!
- Please contact Jan “Tabby” Share at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 if you have interest in any of the following:
- We have an opportunity to assist as a volunteer in our Pasadena office with administrative duties such as filing.
- Statewide Volunteer Opportunities
- Do you enjoy data management, input and/or making calls to our amazing volunteers and community partners? We are in need of a volunteer to assist us in staying up to date with contact information for volunteers, donors, and community partners (such as fire departments). Please contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 17 for more details.
- March 1: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
- March 3: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- March 4: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- March 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Family and Caregiver Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or email@example.com with any questions or to RSVP.
- March 6-8: Southern California and Bakersfield Ski Trip, must register by Friday, February 21, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.
- March 10: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 with any questions.
- March 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- March 12: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Modesto Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 ext. 15 with any questions.
- March 13-15: Northern California Ski Trip, must register by February 29, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- March 14: Torrance Spaghetti Dinner, contact Jan “Tabby” Share at email@example.com or 818-848-0296 with any questions.
- March 19: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to RSVP.
- March 21: Champ Camp New Counselor Interviews, Central California, you will be contacted to confirm your interview.
- March 22: Champ Camp New Counselor Interviews, Northern California, you will be contacted to confirm your interview.
- March 26: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
- March 28: Champ Camp New Counselor Interviews, Southern California, you will be contacted to confirm your interview.