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Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Kids helping kids' goes a long way

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Members of the Putnam Pride 4-H Club, from left, co-presidents Cassie Aynes and Jake Robertson and Megan Robertson and co-leader Kelli Aynes look on as co-leader Kelly Robertson flips through photos taken of last summer's Hoosier Burn Camp. HBC executive director Mark Koopman accepted a check for $306.50 at the club's meeting Wednesday evening. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
It took the Putnam Pride 4-H chapter only four hours to raise $306.50 for the Hoosier Burn Camp earlier this week.

With the longer holiday, chapter co-leaders Kelli Aynes and Kelly Robertson said they expected a low turnout to a car wash at the Bainbridge Fire Department and a bake sale at Tri-County Bank from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

But after community members read a brochure about the Hoosier Burn Camp and its efforts to normalize life for adolescent burn victims around the state, Aynes said some donors increased their gifts.

Aynes recalled one man who gave $20.

"He stopped by the table and said, 'Those babies had a place in my heart. If (my donation) will help them, that's what this money is good for,'" she said.

Both Aynes and Robertson said they appreciated donations from everyone who gave money and were proud of the children in their 4-H chapter for stepping up.

Executive Director of the Hoosier Burn Camp Mark Koopman (far left) was present at the Putnam Pride 4-H chapter meeting Wednesday evening to accept a check for $306.50 from the club. Also pictured are (back row, from left to right) are club co-presidents Jake Robertson and Cassie Aynes, Alan Aynes, Kelli Aynes, Kelly Robertson, Randall Cox, Daniel Cox, Quade Bauman; (front row, from left to right) Sarah Furhman, Kourtney Adamson, Taylor Dixon and Lilly Rambis. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
"It's kids helping kids, and it's a good thing," Aynes said. "They wanted to do it."

Founded in 1997, Hoosier Burn Camp "combines the good old fashioned fun of summer camp with life skills kids need to fully recover from the trauma of burn injuries," according the camp's newsletter.

HBC executive director Mark Koopman was present at Putnam Pride's chapter meeting Wednesday night to personally thank members for the gift.

"When the rubber hits the road, it's thanks to people like you that we make it through it. I'm proud, impressed, amazed," Koopman said. "You may not realize how much help you're giving in subsidizing camp expenses.

"... Life changing doesn't happen very often."

Koopman explained that while going through adolescence and childhood can be at times trying for any child, it can be even more difficult for burn victims who have to have 30 to 50 surgeries and are self-conscious about the severe burns on their skin.

Since the camp started in 1997, it has strived to "build confidence, encourage perseverance, build self-esteem, develop courage to overcome fears, build on strengths, stimulate independence and show mutual acceptance and respect," according to its brochure. Activities include canoeing, fishing, archery and swimming.

Koopman said some campers -- even those who are camp veterans -- at first don't want to be seen in their bathing suits over the summer, so they don't bring one. With the donations, they're able to go shopping the first couple weeks of camp for new suits to build self esteem.

"I'm not telling you to feel sorry for them," he said. "They show amazing resilience in feeling whole again."

HBC 2010 Calendar of Events

Sept. 18-19: Young Adult Program

Oct. 16-17: Kings Island Teen Trip (Ages 13-18)

December (TBA): 2nd annual holiday party

January 2011: 7th annual winter gathering (Campers of all ages and families)

Join the HBC Facebook page to find upcoming fundraisers and information on the latest pictures, programs and events. To learn more about how you can support HBC, visit its website at www.hoosierburncamp.org

Interested in supporting Hoosier Burn Camp through organizing a fundraiser? Go to the HBC website and fill out a fundraiser request form as far in advance of your event as possible. This will help to ensure that HBC can get the necessary materials for a successful fundraiser.

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