Boy on an outdoor climbing course
Indiana Burn Center Camper doing a ropes course

Non-Profit of the Month – Hoosier Burn Camp

Since 1997, Hoosier Burn Camp has been providing support and life-changing experiences for children who have suffered mental, physical and emotional trauma after a burn injury. The nonprofit offers monthly activities and an annual summer camp for young burn survivors, where they can be just one of the kids in a safe and supportive environment. The office of the Indiana State Fire Marshal and Riley Hospital for Children conceived the concept, with children referred to the program from Riley Hospital for Children and St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne.

“Burn victims suffer not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well,” says Mark Koopman, executive director. “Sometimes survivor’s guilt is involved. However, the parents, siblings and extended family are also suffering. We wanted to support the entire family alongside activities where kids can be just one of the kids for a while.”

Through the tireless work of dedicated board members, staff and hundreds of volunteers, Hoosier Burn Camp provides character-building experiences to help participants develop the personal strength to reach their highest potential. Monthly activities include going to see Disney on Ice, trips to a dude ranch, winter skiing trips, spa days, camping trips, boating excursions, King’s Island trips, Colts games and more.

“Most of our volunteers and board members are retired firefighters volunteering their time,” Koopman says. “They’ve said it’s been so meaningful to them that they cannot imagine not being a part of our organization. We’re also seeking more volunteers to assist in our mission.”

The perennial event of Hoosier Burn Camp is the annual summer camp at Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, Indiana, each May. Campers participate in various outdoor activities and personal enrichment exercises during the week-long stay. The campers get to choose three activities during the week of camp. These range from dance, LEGO Masters and Top Chef activities to fishing, paddleboarding and swimming. Kids also participate in camp games that go with that year’s theme. Individual cabins can spend time doing activities together as well.

“Each year there is an annual visitors day for people to come to check out the camp,” Koopman says. “There is a parade, opening ceremonies, children and guest activities, lunch, check presentations, and tours of the camp.”

Hoosier Burn Camp assists children from all areas of the state including Fishers. Koopman says the organization has had great support from the Fishers Fire Department since 1999.

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