The “Best of the Best” Arrive at Champ Camp 2021
On June 12-18, 2021, we were excited to see the return of in-person Champ Camp! Camp looked a little different this year – with family pods, masks and social distancing – but the laughter, songs, costumes, fun and love were the same as the 34 Champ Camps before.
Putting together a summer camp for burn-injured children is no simple task, and putting together a summer camp during a worldwide pandemic sounds nearly impossible; but that is exactly what our Camp Director, Chris “Rocks” Bridger along with a team of more than 50 amazing volunteers did! Since the close of virtual Champ Camp last year, they were already putting together plans for in-person, virtual and hybrid Champ Camp options for this year. With so much uncertainty, this dream team had to come up with a number of scenarios and options on how to run a safe camp for our campers, counselors and staff. What they were able to put together was an in-person AND virtual Champ Camp for 92 in-person campers and 26 virtual campers!
In-person campers enjoyed activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing, archery, water sports, fishing, campfire and much more! The virtual campers had a variety of themes and activities for each day, joining the in-person campers via Zoom for evening activities including campfire, making tie dye t-shirts, and game night!
We were happy to once again be together in person, but our health and safety protocols prevented having guests join us this year. While we missed the annual Chili Cook-off, we were treated to a fabulous parade! The campers were so excited and had a great time making banners to display on the parade route.
Thank you to our parade participants for making this a fun event for the campers: CAL Fire – Fresno Kings Unit; Sanger Fire Department; Hanford Fire Department; Selma Fire Department; Clovis Fire Department; Fresno Fire Department; Wind & Fire Motorcycle Club; Clovis Police Department; Fresno Police Department; Senior Lake Day Volunteers; and Porsche Club of Fresno.
A very special thank you to our volunteers, donors, supporters and staff who helped to make our 35th Champ Camp “The Best of the Best”!
Click here to see our 35th Champ Camp in action.
Champ Camp in the News
This year’s Champ Camp received a lot of media attention. We had stories run as far away as New York and Florida! Click on the links below to view the stories and videos.
California News Times/Fresno – https://californianewstimes.com/largest-camp-in-u-s-for-burn-injured-kids-kicks-off-in-sanger/394543/
California News Times/Los Angeles – https://californianewstimes.com/largest-u-s-camp-for-burn-injured-children-returns-in-central-california/406536/
You’re Invited to Join Us
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation has many events and activities in celebration of our 50th Anniversary of Service to the California Burn Community. We invite and encourage you to be a part of our golden year by participating in one or all!
50th Anniversary Gala – Join our friends, family and community on October 2, 2021, at the LA Fire Museum for an evening to remember! The event will include the unveiling of AARBF’s “Origins of Stop, Drop and Roll” museum exhibit, silent and live auctions and live entertainment. Live and virtual opportunities available for participation.
Central California Celebration – On October 30, 2021, we will be honoring Stan Oken and the entire Oken family at the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort in Sanger, CA. Celebrate the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s and Oken family’s dedication to helping young burn survivors rebuild and develop self-esteem and confidence at Champ Camp – and for life. Event includes a dedication ceremony for an honorary street sign, time capsule burial and campus tours.
Photo Contest – We are honoring the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation’s 50 years of service by celebrating the moments that define the foundation and our community. In recognition of the many inspiring survivor, donor, and volunteer stories that make our community vibrant, AARBF is seeking photos that demonstrate what it means to be part of our community. Is it being comfortable in your skin and showing your truest self? Is it inspiring others by being a burn thriver? Is it being a hero through philanthropy, or extraordinary moments of courage?
You are asked to submit a photo in one of three categories: 1)#YourTruestSelf 2) #BurnThriver 3) #HeroesInAction.
A winner from each category will win $200 and have the opportunity for their photo to be framed, matted, and displayed in two California burn hospitals. Our Discovery Team is also looking for best historical photos, and one photo will be selected for the Storyteller Award and be included in a 50th Anniversary time capsule to be buried at Wonder Valley Ranch.
Winners will be announced at the Northern California Photo Contest Finale event on September 12, 2021, in Woodside, CA.
AARBF’s Got Talent – You can be a part of the AARBF Anthem video which will be shown at our 50th Anniversary Gala! Lyrics, music and a sample video are available on our website to help get you started.
You are encouraged to use your creative talent to make this anthem your own. You can sing, rap, read, or play an instrument. Not musically inclined, that’s okay! You can also draw or paint images reflecting the anthem’s theme and create a video showing us your artwork in time with the music. Whatever your creative outlet, we would love to see it!
We must receive your video by August 13, 2021, to be considered for inclusion in the AARBF Anthem video shown at our 50th Anniversary Gala!
Join a TikTok Challenge – Do you have a TikTok account? If yes, you need to follow AARBF and join in our special 50th Anniversary challenges. These challenges are changing all of the time. Don’t miss out on the fun – follow us @aarbf today!
Do you have an idea for a challenge? Click here to submit your idea today.
Share Your Story – We are always striving to find ways to bring more awareness to burn survivors and their stories. Inspired by TED’s mission to create a deeper understanding of the world by spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less), AARBF would like to assist individuals (i.e. burn survivors, volunteers, donors, etc.) to share your story!
Pass the Coin Challenge – You can join our community partners in the AARBF Pass the Coin Challenge (PTCC)! On an annual basis, AARBF partners with fire departments and community partners throughout California to put together 6 relays that celebrate our partnerships. For our 50th year we have decided to add the concept of this challenge to each of our relays.
During the relays, fire departments from the area come together and caravan from station to station, spreading awareness about AARBF and community support. We are very grateful for the donation’s our partners are able to gather together, making every year’s support continue to grow. Specifically, the Central Coast relay has an extra special component; they provide burn prevention education to schools in each department’s district while on the relay. The central coast departments teach their community the importance of burn prevention education, community support and philanthropy!
You do not have to be a part of a fire department or a relay to join in our PTCC. If you would like to join, register below to get started. You will receive your own challenge coin and further instructions on how to be a part of this historical challenge.
Information about these events and activities can be found on our website at https://www.aarbf.org/50th-anniversary-events-and-activities/. Volunteer opportunities are available. Please contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at email@example.com for more information.
N.I.C.K. for Fire and Burn Safety’s Reach has Expanded
The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF), in partnership with Pyramid Educational Consultants, developed the N.I.C.K. (Neurotypical/diverse Independent Communication Kit) for Fire and Burn Safety, to bring fire and burn safety education to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and communication challenges. We are very excited to announce that N.I.C.K. is now available in Mandarin!
To download a copy of this valuable burn prevention resource, please visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/burn-prevention/n-i-c-k/.
Our Annual Fundraiser Exceeds its Goal
AARBF’s annual fundraisers, Bows for Dough and Grow Your Stache included a new component this year called Champy-on. The 3-in-1 virtual fundraiser exceeded its goal by more than $21,000 for a grand total of $56,546!
Congratulations to the top 3 who raised the most in their own categories:
Pradnya Bergdahl (Top participant in a team)
Joseph Johannsen (Top individual)
The Young Adult Council (Top Team)
We could not have done this without every team member and every donor who gave so generously to AARBF. Thank you for your support!
Expression Through Music
On June 24, 2021, AARBF hosted Music Expression, part of our monthly Expression Series. We were joined by special guest, Dan Caro. Our ten attendees enjoyed spending time with Dan and were in awe of Dan’s courage and strength.
Dan shared, “I didn’t let my injury depict the terms and conditions of my life. I used music as my medicine. I put so much time into my skills. I did everything I could to be able to walk onto any band stand in the world. That is the confidence I had and will always have! If you think you can, the world opens up to you! Learn to love those bad days!”
A recording of this session will be available soon on our website. You can also learn more about Dan on his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/dancaro. Thank you, Dan!
Our next Expression Series session will be Writing Expression on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 7:00PM. Our special guest speaker is Dr. Lise Deguire, author of “Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor.” She will share her about her burn survivor journey and how writing has been a positive influence on her life.
Registration is required to receive the login information. Please register today at https://forms.gle/BYShM4dpTCRo4ov48. The Expression Series is open to all of our burn community members!
AARBF Southern California Golf Tournament Returns
We are so excited to see the return of the annual Southern California Golf Tournament for its 38th year on Monday, September 27, 2021. The golf tournament will be held at the Via Verde Golf Club in San Dimas, CA.
The cost is $180 per golfer and your entry includes golf, cart, dinner, tee gift, and more! If you are unable to make it for a fun day of golf, you can still join us for dinner at 5:30PM.
Visit the 38th Annual Golf Tournament page for sponsorship and registration information: https://aarbf.tournamentadvantage.com/event. We look forward to seeing you there!
These are upcoming events and activities. Please check with your regional office for plans on in-person events.
- Writing Expression
- Art Expression
- Women’s Burn Survivor Retreat
- Kayaking – Northern and Southern
- Northern California Photo Contest
- 38th Annual Southern California Golf Tournament
- 50th Anniversary Gala
- Central Celebration
For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19
For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15
For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16
For Fundraising events and activities, please contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 Ext. 17
July 22: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Writing Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 30 – August 1: Outdoor Trip, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19
August 1: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
August 3: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.
August 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive log-in information.
August 6-8: Women’s Burn Survivor Retreat, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 for more information.
August 10: (6:00pm-7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.
August 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.
August 12: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive log-in information.
August 14: Southern California Kayaking, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at email@example.com or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 for more information.
August 17: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.
August 19: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or email@example.com to receive log-in information.
August 22: Northern California Kayaking, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 for more information.
August 26: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at email@example.com or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.
August 26: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Art Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 12: Northern California Photo Contest, contact Erika “Kika” Mendoza at email@example.com or 559-286-0710 Ext. 17 for more information.