February 2024 Burn Bulletin

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February 2024 Burn Bulletin

AARBF Travels to Canada

We kicked off the New Year by sending one survivor and one counselor to attend the THRIVE Retreat in Canada, January 11-15. This annual retreat is hosted by the BC Firefighters Burn Fund and is designed for young adult burn survivors. At this event we quickly integrated with another sixteen survivors from across British Columbia. We were able to participate in multiple workshops and activities and brave some super cold temperatures! It is so exciting to attend exchange programs with other camps and burn foundations—by doing so we have the opportunity to visit their incredible locations and events and exchange ideas to enhance our local camp programs.

Setting New Goals for Wellness

During the month of January, we shared weekly goals each Wednesday to help those who resolved to focus on their health and well-being. They are also great tips even if you resolved to not make resolutions in 2024.

Tip #1

Physical well-being: Set a goal to improve mobility, flexibility and strengths. Work towards achievable milestones such as a 10-minute stretch exercising, or walking around the block.

¡El año nuevo ya está aquí! ¿Estás pensando en crear nuevas metas? Aquí te damos ideas de algunas posibles metas para el 2024.

Bienestar Físico:  Establece una meta que te ayude a mejorar tu movilidad, flexibilidad y fortaleza. Trabaja en obtener una meta alcanzable como 10 minutos de ejercicios de estiramiento, o caminar alrededor de tu bloque/cuadra.


Tip #2

Emotional well-being: Make a goal to seek counseling or support groups to address the emotional and the psychological impact of the burn injury. Learn coping skills that will help you to manage any anxiety, depression or PTSD.

Bienestar Emocional: Establece una meta de buscar consejería o grupos de apoyo en donde puedes discutir el impacto emocional y psicológico de tus heridas de quemaduras. Aprende nuevas habilidades que te ayudaran a manejar cualquier ansiedad, depresión o el trastorno de estrés postraumático (PTDS).


Tip #3

Daily living Reintegration: Establish an achievable goal that can help to gradually reintegrate into your daily activities such as work, school, or social events such as calling your school social worker or counselor to ask about school options, calling a long-time friend to arrange a coffee talk over zoom or in-person. It will help you to build confidence and independence.

Reintegración a la vida diaria: Haz una meta alcanzable que te ayude a reintegrarte gradualmente a tus actividades diarias como el trabajo, la escuela, o eventos sociales como llamar a tu trabajador(a) social de la escuela o consejera(o) para preguntar sobre tus opciones, llamar a un amigo(a) para tomar un café vía zoom o en persona. Esto te ayudara a crear confianza e independencia.


Tip #4

Community Engagement: Set a goal to engage in a support group, peer support, or community events to connect with others who understand your experience and offer mutual support. At AARF, we provide support groups to meet the needs of patients, burn survivors, and their support system. For additional information, location for in-person meetings, or the Zoom login please reach out to:

Martha Banks mbanks@aarbf.org  818-848-0223 Ext 130

Michael Knopf mknopf@aarbf.org 415-495-7223 Ext 190

For up-to-date information on upcoming Support Groups and Events visit: www.aarbf.org

Participación en la comunidad:  Haz una meta de participar en grupos de apoyo, apoyo entre sobrevivientes, o eventos comunitarios con personas que entienden tu experiencia y ofrecen apoyo mutuo. En AARBF proveemos grupos de apoyo para satisfacer las necesidades de pacientes, sobrevivientes de quemaduras y su sistema de apoyo.

Para información adicional, ubicación de grupos en persona, o enlaces para grupos virtuales, comunicarse con:

Martha Banks mbanks@aarbf.org  818-848-0223 Ext 130

Michael Knopf mknopf@aarbf.org 415-495-7223 Ext 190

Para información actualizada en grupos de apoyo o eventos visite la página web: www.aarbf.org


Tip #5

Scar and Pain Management: Set a goal to follow a scar and pain management plan. Include regular moisturizing and scar massaging in your daily routine to promote scar healing and minimize discomfort. Work with a health care professional to develop a plan for reducing pain levels through physical therapy or other pain management techniques.


El Manejo del Dolor Y El Cuidado de las Cicatrices: Establece una meta de seguir un plan para manejar el dolor y cuidar de tus cicatrices. Incluye en tu rutina diaria el hidratarte y dar masaje a tus cicatrices, esto promoverá el mejoramiento de tus cicatrices y minimizará el malestar. Trabaja con un profesional de la salud para desarrollar un plan que te podrá ayudar a reducir el nivel del dolor por medio de terapia física u otra técnica del manejo del dolor.

Planning Underway for Champ Camp

On January 12-15, 2024, the Champ Camp planning team gathered at Pismo Beach to begin preparations for Champ Camp 2024. Our group was generously hosted by “Shakespeare,” and the retreat was led by our amazing camp directors, “Rocks” and “Willow.” Dedicated volunteers from across the state and country, traveled to attend the retreat where we decided on a theme – watch for that announcement coming soon! If you’re interested in becoming a counselor, it’s not too late. Click here to visit the Champ Camp page and click on the application link.

Staff, Board and Council Meet Up in the Central Coast

The AARBF Staff and Board and Council met for their respective in-person retreats during the fourth week in January in Pismo Beach and Los Osos. The staff arrived in Pismo Beach on Wednesday, January 24th and dived right into a busy agenda which included learning about new operational procedures, how to make an effective presentation, fund development 101, improvements to our volunteer application and onboarding process, and several team building activities. We also assembled Champ Camp hospital bags designed for children currently being treated in California burn units. These bags contain fun camp items for the kids and information about AARBF and Champ Camp for the parents. The Care Managers will be distributing the bags over the next two months during their hospital in-service presentations.

On Friday, January 26th, the board and council members arrived and staff joined them for lunch and an awesome escape room team building activity. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to work together, using our unique skillsets to beat the clock and escape. At dinner, we were delighted to be joined by Ruch family members, including Diane Ruch Host.

On Saturday, January 27th, the board and council were joined by staff in Los Osos for the morning session which included the installation of new board members and officers, who will serve for a two-year term. We were also excited to see so many of our council members able to join in for the weekend. Staff gave a presentation on the parameters we’ve identified to determine success in our programs and services before leaving for home at Noon. The board and council continued their retreat through Sunday, January 28th, where they reviewed the goals of the various board committees and began the groundwork for a new three-year strategic plan.

Board committees are not restricted to board and council members. We have committees focused on Survivor Services, Prevention, Fund Development, Finance, and Communications. If you would like to join a committee or our board and council, please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/about-us/board-of-directors/ to learn more or contact us at info@aarbf.org.

Torrance Spaghetti Dinner Celebrates 50 Years

Mark your calendar for the 50th Anniversary of the Torrance Firefighters Association’s Spaghetti Dinner and Bake Sale on Saturday, March 9th. We hope you will take part in this family-friendly evening while supporting Torrance Firefighters, AARBF and Champ Camp. Watch our social media for updates.

Fundraising Has Kicked Off for the Fresno Urban Run

The Hanford Fire Department (Scott Mellon) and Fire Academy students from the Fresno City College (FCC), Class 61 and College of the Sequoias, Class 21-42 are raising funds for AARBF and Champ Camp by participating in the Fresno Urban Run on Sunday, May 5th. This is an annual event and our three teams will not only be competing against each other on May 5th but are also in a race to see who can be the top fundraiser. Are you for Team Hanford, Team FCC, or Team Sequoias? Show your support by visiting: https://p2p.onecause.com/fresnourbanrun2024 and cheer your team to victory!

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.

February 19: ALL AARBF Offices closed

February 29: Applications Close for Champ Camp Counselors and CITs

March 8-10: Statewide Ski Trip

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