June 2022 Burn Bulletin

Home » Multi-Resource Library » June 2022 Burn Bulletin

June 2022 Burn Bulletin

Fresno Urban Run Raises Nearly $25,000

On May 1, 2022, our three teams participated in the Fresno Urban Run, which was the culmination of three months of fundraising activities. Scott “Poindexter” Mellon initiated this annual fundraising event four years ago to support AARBF and Champ Camp beginning with the goal to send one child to Champ Camp. This year they are sending 28 children to camp!

This year’s event raised nearly $25,000, with over $15,000 of it raised by Fresno City College Fire Academy students and over $4,400 raised by the College of the Sequoias Fire Academy!

We truly appreciate the support and participation of the three fundraising teams: Fresno City College Fire Academy Class 57, Sequoias Fire Academy Class 21-40 and the Hanford Fire Department, led by Scott Mellon.

AARBF Attends the GFBFtalks Virtual Conversation

On May 3, 2022, AARBF’s Daniel Chacon was a panelist for the GFBFtalks Virtual Conversation “Children’s Burn Camp…fun with a purpose” webinar.

The goal of this online event was to encourage and inspire attendees through the sharing of the panel members in a conversational format. Panel members were asked to share reflections of lessons learned through personal challenges and/or the knowledge gained through professional experiences related to their work with children’s burn camps, such as AARBF’s Champ Camp.

May is Wildfire Preparedness Month

For Wildfire Preparedness Month, AARBF featured our preparedness program Wildfire P.R.E.P.A.R.E. on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Although May has passed, the need to be prepared has not. Visit our website today at:  https://www.aarbf.org/prepare/ to learn how to create a plan for you and your family.

Nine Volunteers Prepare for Champ Camp

On May 7-8, 2022, nine volunteers completed their New Counselor Orientation for Champ Camp. Before joining the fun at our annual camp, volunteers must complete an application and live scan screening, as well as interviews and orientation.

Their camp names have already been selected. We are excited to welcome Taco, Lenny, Fuzzy, Carrot Sticks, Boba, Ace, Sassy, Chia and Pinecone to the Champ Camp family!

During their orientation they were joined by program staff: Kamikaze, Spaz, Tex, Boots, Willow, Rocks, Dash, Apollo, Bubbles, and Knuckles.

Making a Splash in Southern California

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, burn survivors, their families, and supporters joined us for Family Day at the Park.

Guests spent time playing Jenga, participating in a coloring contest, and soaking each other with water balloons. The kiddos spent most of their time in the Splash area playing in the water while making lots of memories. We ate food, enjoying cookies and lots of candy provided by Javier Torrez and his family.

A special shoutout to the Shriners Hospital for Children Clowns, Todd Bowman and Javier Torrez, who volunteered their time, dressing up as clowns for the event.  Thank you also to Louis Gross for coordinating their appearance.

Guests were also treated to a visit from Batman (Matthew Torrez).

We truly appreciate the help of the Rodriguez family, and our Southern CA intern, Priscilla Aviles and her family, for helping AARBF’s Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez with logistics and decorations.

Fun in the Sun for Central California

Southern California was not the only region spending fun in the sun on Saturday, May 14, 2022. The Central region also hosted a Family Day at the Park. Despite the warm temperature, guests had a wonderful time playing soccer, catch, and Spikeball, before filling their bellies with snacks and pizza.

We are very grateful for the help of Pradnya “Pretzel” for assisting AARBF’s McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern with this event.

An Epic Cornhole Tournament in Northern California

The Northern California region was not left out of the fun on Saturday, May 14, 2022. They also hosted a Family Day at the Park for burn survivors, their families, and supporters.  Guests enjoyed an afternoon of fun playing games – including an epic cornhole tournament. The day was filled with great connections, interactive activities, lots of laughs – and plenty of pizza and snacks.

Thank you to Emily for lending AARBF’s Scott “Scooter” Wertz a helping hand with the set-up and clean up.

Meet the Cohort 2 Interns

AARBF’s Interns work with the Regional Managers and Development Manager to assist with the daily operations of the foundation. These operations are focused, but not limited to, assisting in Survivor Services programming, Burn Prevention education, and donation/fundraising efforts. In addition, Interns assist with administrative tasks, database maintenance, and community networking. The AARBF Intern position gives individuals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the workplace, and interns will develop administrative skills and gain greater insight to the nonprofit industry and the overall operations of a burn foundation.

Introducing our 2022 Cohort 2 Interns:

Cameron Wilt – Central Region
Cameron is striving to be a firefighter in the Central Valley. He got in touch with the AARBF through the Fresno City College Fire Academy, where he is currently the Vice President of class 57 and has had the privilege of bringing awareness and fundraising to the AARBF. Before Cameron goes into the field fighting and helping with EMS, he wanted to come full circle with his future career and continue his efforts in burn prevention. He hopes to learn more about how people are affected by fire and how to help – not just with burn prevention, but to help support those who have succumbed to injury or loss of property due to fire. A fun fact about Cameron is that he races sprint cars and currently enjoys road racing Camaros at raceways up and down California! Cameron is looking forward to the opportunity AARBF has given him and wants to exceed all expectations to give back as much as he plans to learn from the organization.

Lexie Khounphithack – Northern Region
Lexie has been with the foundation since 2016, and this is her second internship. She felt that it was important to participate in another round because there is so much more she wishes to accomplish. Lexie became an intern because she wants to give back her time and all of the hours the staff has spent working towards events and supporting the survivors. Lexie stated, “I truly cannot wait to be the Northern California Survivor Services Intern and to be working alongside the amazing Scott.”

Priscilla Aviles – Southern Region
Priscilla is very excited to be a part of this internship program, working out of the Southern California office. The thing that motivates her is change. When she has been through something, be it positive or negative, she always wants to make the necessary change for the better. Priscilla is a burn survivor, and is happy to have found the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

To learn more about our internship program, please click here to the page on our visit our website.

Support for Spanish-Speaking Survivors

AARBF offers monthly support groups for burn survivors, their supporters, caregivers and burn care professionals. We also have a support group for Spanish-speaking survivors and their supporters, facilitated by AARBF’s Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez. If you and your loved ones would be more comfortable conversing in Spanish, please join us. We meet on the third Tuesday of each month and starting June 21, 2022, the time has been permanently changed to 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM.

To register, contact Margarita at mrodriguez@aarbf.org. To see other support group dates and times available, please visit our events calendar at: https://www.aarbf.org/events/. We look forward to seeing you!

AARBF ofrece grupos de apoyo mensuales para sobrevivientes de quemaduras, sus cuidadores y profesionales de la unidad de quemaduras. También tenemos un grupo de apoyo para sobrevivientes que hablan español y sus familiares, padres, y amigos- facilitado por Margarita “Cubby” Rodríguez de la fundación AARBF. Si usted y sus seres queridos se sienten más cómodos conversando en español, únase a nosotros. Nos reunimos el tercer martes de cada mes y a partir del 21 de junio de 2022, el horario se ha cambiado permanentemente a 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (EE.UU/ PST).

Para registrarse, comuníquese con Margarita en mrodriguez@aarbf.org. Para ver otras fechas y horarios de grupos de apoyo disponibles, visite nuestro calendario de eventos en: https://www.aarbf.org/events/. ¡Esperamos verle!

Send a Kid to Camp

AARBF’s Katie “Popcorn” Szymczak spent time with our friends at Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation for their Send a Kid to Camp Fundraiser on Friday, May 20, 2022 at the Outback Steakhouse in Bakersfield. Katie had a great time with the Firefighters and meeting members of the Bakersfield community who so generously supported this event. This year, they raised over $10,000 for Champ Camp. Since partnering with AARBF and Champ Camp, the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation has raised enough funds to send almost 200 kids from Bakersfield/Kern County to camp!

Finding Our Groove Through Movement

On Thursday, May 26, 2022, Tiffane “Lala” Wheeler led participants in our Movement Expression through a session of yoga. During the yoga practice, Tiffane, also a burn survivor, shared how she found healing through movement. She led the group of four through a mindful practice incorporating breath, affirmations, and visualization.

Our guests had this to say about the session, “That is exactly what I needed tonight” and “I almost didn’t make it but I am so glad I joined tonight.”

Thank you, Tiffane for another great yoga session!

Be sure to join us this month as we bring a little of the camp spirit to your home with Art Expression! Kelly “Sunflower” Dern will guide you through the steps of making a truly unique item through tie dye. We will supply the dyes and you will supply the t-shirt, socks, or whatever you want to turn into a wonderful work of art!

The Expression Series is a great opportunity for our AARBF community to come together virtually each month. The goal is to provide a creative outlet through art, writing, music and movement to help participants discover ways to express themselves in a positive and uplifting manner. The sessions also provide a way for our survivors, volunteers and supporters to spend time together between recreational activities.

Reserve your space today at: https://forms.gle/i8pwFzTeTZZtQXyD6. Registration is due by June 17, 2022, to give us time to mail out your supplies.

Early Bird Tickets Available Now

Due to the pandemic, we were not able to hold an in-person event last year to celebrate our 50 Years of Service. Our wonderful and dedicated 50th Anniversary Committee members have been putting in overtime and have rescheduled our in-person celebration for Saturday, October 15, 2022 at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum in Hollywood.

Early bird tickets are available at: https://www.aarbf.org/50th-anniversary-celebration/ until July 31, 2022. We would love to see you there!

Time is Running Out to Apply

The deadline for the Woody and Louise Reed Bridge to Life Scholarship is fast approaching. This scholarship program provides support to burn survivor and their family members who have been involved in the life of AARBF who need financial aid to pursue an education after high school, whether it is at a university or technical institution.

To learn more, visit our website at https://www.aarbf.org/project/bridge-to-life-scholarship/ and download the application. All applications are due on June 24, 2022.

Join Us for a Champ Camp Counselor Reunion

Champ Camp counselors, both past and present, are invited to bring their families and join us for an “All Champ Camp Counselor Reunion” on Saturday, July 23, 2022, at Mike “Colonel” Sanders’ home in Morgan Hill, CA.

We will be serving hamburgers, hot dogs, water and some soft drinks. If you plan on attending this once in a lifetime event, please bring some other kinds of food to share with the group.  (Your choice – appetizer, casserole, salad, dessert, or anything else you might want to share with the group).

The theme for this event will be: “One Big Happy Champ Camp Family” (you know we have to have a theme). Since this is a Champ Camp Counselor Reunion, plan on there being group skits, songs and several other surprises throughout the event. Please wear an old Champ Camp shirt.

There are several hotels in the area if you want to stay in town. Colonel has about 8 acres of flat ground if you wish to bring a trailer, motorhome or whatever you want to sleep in.  He does not have power, water or dumping facilities.

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:

June 23: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Art Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org.


July 7: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

July 10: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at mrodriguez@aarbf.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

July 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

July 13: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), North/East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

July 14: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

July 12: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at mdern@aarbf.org or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

July 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or dchacon@aarbf.org to receive log-in information.

July 19: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at mrodriguez@aarbf.org or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 to receive log-in information.

July 28: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

July 28: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Writing Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at dchacon@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 18.

July 29-31: Northern California Outdoor Trip, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at swertz@aarbf.org or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19.

July 31: Early bird pricing for 50th Anniversary Celebration ends.

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