Camp gives kids a chance to be themselves and 'not be defined by an injury'
The Calgary and Edmonton Firefighter Burn Treatment Society hosted their annual water-fight at the Easter Seals Camp Horizon in Bragg Creek on Thursday afternoon, giving a lot of kids a chance to be defined by something other than their injuries.
The water-fight itself was just one of the many activities kids attending the week-long Alberta Firefighters Burn Camp took part in.
Kaden Howard, a camper, participated for the first time this year and said that although he was initially nervous about the camp, he made friends fast.
“It’s fun, we’ve done lots of arts and crafts, we’ve swam, and back here we’re doing a water-fight,” he said.
Behind Kaden came a flurry of laughter and water. Dozens of volunteers from both the Edmonton and Calgary fire departments and Burn Treatment Societies faced off in a free-for-all water-fight featuring everything from dollar store squirt guns to modified firefighting equipment.
Ian McKee, Director of the Alberta Fighters Burn Camp said he was proud of the support shown by his colleagues.
“We have over 50 firefighters here on site to join over 80 kids in our annual water-fight," he said.
McKee explained why this camp and the water-fight were so much more important than just a water fight at a summer camp.
“Kids with scars often are teased, made fun of or stared at," McKee said. "Camp gives them an opportunity to be themselves and not be defined by an injury.”
Fire Chief Steve Dongworth has participated in the event for the past five years and although he admitted he’s probably one of the biggest targets on the field, said he wouldn’t dare miss it.
“This is such an amazing experience for young people who’ve been impacted by fire, which is never a good experience," Dongworth said, adding that events like Thursday's water fight played a role in "building back their confidence by coming out here for the week and interacting with firefighters.”
As the water-fight dwindled down to only the most hard-core fighters, two things stood out: everybody was wet and everyone was smiling.