KFD hosts Jaycee program
The Kinston Fire Department hosted a group of 24 teenagers from the North Carolina Jaycee's Burn Center After Care Program at the Neuseway Nature Center Friday. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
The Kinston Fire Department wanted to make a special group of children feel welcome.
KFD hosted a group of 24 teenagers from the North Carolina Jaycee's Burn Center After Care Program at the Neuseway Nature Center on Friday. The group traveled from Chapel Hill to Camp Don Lee in Arapahoe, with a break set in Kinston for food and fellowship. Chick-Fil-A and Food Lion provided the lunch and Big Blue had ponchos for those in attendance.
KFD also had badges and T-shirts for the children, making them honorary members of the department.
“Every year a group from the Jaycee Burn Center sets off for camp and we wanted to help out during the long trip,” KFD Captain William Barss said. “We’re the halfway point between the places, and we’re thankful for Chick-Fil-A, Big Blue and Food Lion for their donations. For the kids, being able to go to camp is great for them — they get to be around people who have dealt with burns as well so they don’t feel alone, and they get to just enjoy the company of other teenagers.”
Chick-Fil-A Marketing Director Wendi Howard said the organization was more than happy to assist.
“Any time we can do something to benefit the children, we’re all for it,” Howard said. “(Operator) John (McPhaul) immediately agreed to it.”
Anita Fields, program director of After Care, said the children enjoy the camp because of the camaraderie and understanding staff.
“These kids are all burn survivors and have all been able to come together,” Fields said. “Also, every member of the staff has either been a burn survivor, nurse or have worked with me in the past.”
One of those staff members, James Bosch, was burned when he was eight months old. He came from California to this event and said he delivers a unique perspective to the children.
“As a burn survivor and therapist, I can sympathize with these children and understand the importance of support,” Bosch said. “Bringing them together to this camp is great because they’re able to talk with other survivors and don’t feel like the only one going through something like a burn. We challenge them physically with events like sailing, along with mentally to help them feel more comfortable when they ingratiate themselves outside of camp.”
The camp has been helpful to numerous children, including Lucas Moore. The 17-year-old from Nashville said he’s attended it since he was 7 and it helped him in an endeavor to assist others.
“The camp helped me realize that I wasn’t alone and it’s helped me give back over the years,” Moore said. “I’m an Eagle Scout, and for my project I was able to make care packages for kids who have dealt with burns, raising about $20,000 to the UNC Burn Ward.”
Tyree Coxum, 17, from Dunn, said the camp helped him feel more confident.
“It makes me feel like I’m not by myself in this,” Coxum said. “There are other kids out here who know what I’ve dealt with and it’s fun to come to this camp every year.”