Burn survivor camp an ‘eye-opening experience’ for Langford firefighter

Burn Fund also provides housing for firefighters, families for treatment at the Burn Fund Centre

A week at a summer camp for kids gave a Langford firefighter a renewed appreciation for the work the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association does for children throughout the province.

Langford Fire Rescue Capt. Paul Obersteller volunteered as a camp counsellor this summer at the Young Burn Survivors Camp near Squamish, which treats youth between the age of seven and 18 who have been impacted by burns.

“I thought about it in the past, but this was the first year the schedule worked for me,” Obersteller said. “It was definitely an eye-opening experience seeing how much the kids enjoyed their time there. Some of the kids were crying at the end because they didn’t want to go home.”

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Costs for camp are covered by the BCPFFA Burn Fund, including flying kids in from remote areas. Another part of the experience he enjoyed was how all of the volunteers made sure every day was full of activities.

“We took them off site for hiking, swimming and white water rafting,” he explained. There were group activities at the camp site like soccer and basketball that kept the kids going from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There was just no shortage of things to do. Being there and seeing how much fun they had reinforced the importance of the work the burn fund does. It’s much more of a big deal to me now.”

In addition to the summer camp, the BCPFFA Burn Fund provides housing for firefighters and their immediate families who need treatment at the Burn Fund Centre, an eight-room facility which opened in Vancouver last year. It also is available to families dealing with burn, trauma, and plastics patients undergoing treatment at Vancouver General Hospital as well for less than $20 a night.

For more information on the BCPFFA Burn Fund or to make a donation, visit burnfund.org.


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