July 2024 Burn Bulletin

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July 2024 Burn Bulletin

Another Fabulous Week at Wonder Valley

In June, we welcomed 112 campers and CITs to our 39th Champ Camp, held at the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort in Sanger, CA. Throughout the week, campers enjoyed numerous activities, including the fan-favorite visit from Reptile Ron, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, paintball, ropes course, swimming and waterpark activities, and campfires.

Our Senior campers got to attend a special Outcamp which is an overnight experience. Daytime activities included spending time on Shaver Lake where they had an amazing time, riding jet skis, learning how to wakeboard, riding inner tubes, catching some air, and cruising on a boat. For some of our campers, it was their first time trying these activities, and every single one of them had a huge smile on their face! This amazing time was made possible by Camp Edison, Clovis Fire, Fresno Fire, Wind & Fire, Sierra Marina, and Rally Rentals. Their volunteers helped to create unforgettable memories for our Senior group.

Champ Camp in the News

The media joined us at Champ Camp on Wednesday, June 12 and shared an interview of the special bond between one of our counselors, Pete, and camper, Julian. It is stories like this that make camp a special experience for our campers and volunteers.

Annual Chili Cook-Off Winners Announced

One of the favorite food events at Champ Camp is the annual Chili Cook-Off. This year, we had 14 teams competing. The campers had a great time tasting and voting for their favorites. The 2024 Best Chili went to Fresno Fire Department Local 202. The Best Decorated Booth was awarded to Kings County Firefighters, Local 3747. Both winners received a perpetual plaque to have on display at their station until next year’s event.

Our 2024 teams included: CAL FIRE/Fresno County Fire, Central Valley Firefighters Credit Union, Fresno Fire Department, The Massage Clinic, Kings County Firefighters Local 3747, Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation, Visalia Fire Department, The Old Timers, Burn Center, Selma Fire Department, Clovis Fire Department, CPOA: Clovis Police Officers Association, City of Selma Fire Department, and Kingsburg Fire Department.

VIPs share in the Magic of Camp

VIPs from across the Central Valley were treated to a special “Behind the Scenes” look a the magic of Champ Camp. City Officials from Sanger, Clovis, and Fresno along with the members of the Central Valley Corvette Club, the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, and Job’s Daughters got to meet campers, volunteers, and staff that all make the magic happen. Alongside members of the Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, and Santa Maria Fire Departments joined in the Chili tasting getting not only a fun-filled afternoon but the chance to see all their hard fundraising work in action. Thank you to all our generous Community Partners, Donors and Supports, it was our pleasure to share this day with you.

Volunteers Assist with Champ Camp Travel

Champ Camp would not be possible without our many fabulous volunteers. Those volunteers include our bus chaperones and agencies that assist us to and from camp.

In Southern California, we would like to extend our gratitude to Guava, Elizabeth, Ulbens, Alberto, Anthony, and Adrian. In addition to our chaperones, we appreciate Children’s Burn Foundation for not only letting us use their parking lot for the bus pick up/drop off, but for also providing breakfast and snacks. We also had lunch stops to and from camp. Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation provided lunch on the way to camp and Kern County Firefighters Burn Survivor Trust provided lunch on the way home from camp.


From Northern California, we say thank you to our friends at Berkeley Fire, Hughson Fire, and Denair Fire for hosting our travel activities. Haze and Captain Barboza from Berkeley Fire ensured we had a great pick up and drop off location in the Bay Area and hung out with us until everyone was picked up and ready to go. Hughson Fire and Denair Fire hosted our lunch stops to and from camp and with their generosity and hospitality we were able to have a welcoming and safe space for families to meet and enjoy a meal before being sent off with goodie bags filled with some awesome road snacks. We thank our wonderful bus chaperones for volunteering their time and ensuring the rides to and from camp ran smoothly and safely. Thank you: Giddy, Lumpy, Cannonball, Shadow, Foghorn, Tony with Hughson Fire, Aaron with Denair Fire, and Haze with Berkeley Fire.


While they didn’t have to travel as far as the Northern or Southern buses, the Central bus chaperones are still very much needed and appreciated. Not only do they gather up the children from the Central Valley, they also pick up campers arriving by air. Thank you for spending your time ensuring that our campers arrived safely. Our wonderful Central California volunteers included “D”, Redvine, Flamingo and Hurricane.

FCC Fire Academy Cadets Raise $17,000

We are incredibly thankful for the Fresno City College, Fire Academy Class 61 cadets who raised $17,000 for AARBF and Champ Camp. Their donation is the equivalent of sending 17 kids to camp!

On June 7, AARBF’s Daniel Chacon attended the graduation ceremony for Class 61. We are so excited to see these cadets move on to fire agencies throughout the Central Valley.

Cheers to Cheer LA

During the month of June, Cheer LA raised funds for AARBF and our Survivor Services programs. AARBF’s Martha Banks and Daniel Chacon met up with the Cheer LA team on Saturday, June 9, at the LA Pride Parade.

Thank You, Angel Flight West

Our friends with the Angel Flight West team fly burn survivors from areas outside of the bus pick up/drop off locations for several of our camp and recreational programs. We are extremely grateful for their support in ensuring our campers could make it to all the different events we have hosted to date, especially Champ Camp. Angel Flight West and the coordination team ensured that over 30 of our campers safely flew in and out of Fresno to attend Champ Camp 2024. Thanks to their team and the amazing volunteer pilots, our campers were able to experience a life-changing year surrounded by other burn survivors and truly awesome people. We appreciate all of your hard work and for keeping our campers’ safety as the number one priority.

2024 Champy-On Raises $35,558

The annual Champy-On fundraiser concluded its 8-week run on June 7, raising $35,558 with 258 donations! While we didn’t reach our goal, the impact is still strongly felt and will continue forward. Thanks to our participating individuals and teams, the programs and services of AARBF have been introduced to a much larger audience we had before. We cannot thank you enough for sharing AARBF with your family and friends. We appreciate your support and dedication to AARBF.

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.

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