Burn survivors overcome fears and create bonds at Camp Amigo

Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 5:25 PM EDT
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They've been through fire, they've been through the storm but the kids at Camp Amigo are still going strong.

This year the Children's Burn Camp of North Florida moved to Marion County after their home site in the panhandle was damaged by hurricane Michael.

Campers with the Children's Burn Camp of North Florida, also known as Camp Amigo, are gathered at the Florida Fire State College this week, for adventure and to bond with their fellow campers and counselors.

"My favorite part about camp is socializing with everyone,” said camper Asia Dewey.

Friendships are what keep them coming back. This summer camp is meant for Florida burn survivors between the ages of 6 and 18.

"I can come here and not worry about who's starting or teasing or asking questions,” said Camp Counselor Savannah Lopez.

Several counselors have been attending camp amigo since they were young campers.

"To come and hear other people's stories, that got into house fires or car accidents at young ages," said Shilah Carroll.

She has been involved with camp amigo for 14 years, "but just that connection like you said it definitely does mean a lot to see other people, hear their stories and see where they came from,” she said.

This year campers will get to experience life through a fire rescuer's perspective.

"This is a very comfortable environment for most of us and it's nice because we're able to be encouraging and we can give them tips as to what this is going to feel like, why you should try this,” said retired firefighter Ruben Rodriguez.

After hurricane Michael destroyed Camp Amigo's home site in the Florida panhandle, the campers thought they wouldn't have camp this year and are so thankful for those at the fire college for opening up its doors.

"Thankfully the fire state college opened up their facility to us and let us have camp this year,” Lopez added.

Camp Amigo was founded in 2001 and relies solely on donations so campers stay free of charge.