AHN West Penn Burn Center’s Summer Camp Resumes June 4 at Camp Kon-o-Kwee, Bringing Healing, Hope to Children with Burn Injuries

Updated on June 10, 2022

After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) West Penn Hospital’Burn Center will resume its in-person annual summer camp for children with burn injuries, Saturday June 4 – Wednesday June 8, bringing its mission of healing, fellowship and hope to children and teenagers from throughout the region who have suffered burn injuries. 

About 20 kids from western and central Pennsylvania and West Virginia will gather at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Zelienople for five days of activities designed to inspire them to connect by sharing their ongoing journey of recovery. This year’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) – themed camp is titled “Imagine, Invent, Experiment, Inspire.” Camp begins at 9 a.m. daily.

“We are thrilled to return to Camp Kon-O-Kwee, and to once again see children who we’ve treated for burn injures grow, flourish, and have fun during their time at camp,” said Ariel Aballay, MD, Medical Director, West Penn Burn Center. “The strength and perseverance of our pediatric burn patients is always an inspiration to us, and our team is eager to see old friends and meet new friends at this year’s camp.”

West Penn Burn Center is the only burn center in the region to receive the honorable verification seal acknowledging excellence in pediatric burn management from the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons.

Every year, Burn Camp is organized and hosted by volunteers, AHN staff and former campers who return to serve as counselors. The camp’s theme of “Imagine, Invent, Experiment, Inspire” will be woven into all camp events including a robotics presentation from Carnegie Mellon University and stargazing with the University of Pittsburgh Astrological Society.

“The West Penn Burn Camp serves as a yearly respite for childhood burn survivors to bond and find a sense of community and belonging with one another,” said Linda Leonard, Director of the West Penn Burn Camp.  “While we do hope this year’s STEM theme will inspire our campers to take a closer look at STEM careers, camp activities will be fun, vibrant and lighthearted. We’re particularly looking forward to a mini-lesson in scuba diving from the Pittsburgh Scuba Center and the nature hike guided by experts from the Audubon Society.”

Other fun activities will include a storyteller workshop by Steel City Storytellers, visits from the Fairmont Volunteer Fire Department and Fire and Iron firefighters/motorcyclists club, a return visit from the beloved Steel City Quidditch, archery, disc golf, sign language instruction and back in Pittsburgh for the final day of camp, a visit from the Carnegie Science Center.

Camp is free of charge to any child that has been treated at West Penn Burn Center, thanks to the generosity of firefighter groups, businesses, organizations and individuals. All camp counselors are also volunteers.

“Established in 1969, the West Penn Burn Center continues to be a national leader in innovative burn care treating both adults and pediatric patients,” continued Aballay. “Our camp for burned children is just one example of the expert, compassionate, holistic care our team provides, year after year, for burn patients and their families, both inside and outside the walls of West Penn Hospital.”

According to the American Burn Association, more than 300 children are seen in emergency rooms and two children die from burn injuries across the country every day. For more information on the Center or to learn more about its community-based programs, visit ahn.org or call 412-578-5295.

About the Allegheny Health Network:

Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region.  The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more.  AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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