Where Heroes Go for the Summer

Nestled in the wilderness of Connecticut along Deer Lake sits a magical place. Each July, heroes board a van in D.C. and make a journey eastward to conquer daily challenges and forge bonds that will last a lifetime. 

Who are these heroes? 

They are children, ages 8-17, who have survived life-altering burn injuries and a group of dedicated firefighters and specially trained medical professionals who volunteer their time to create this seemingly traditional camp experience that is truly so much more.

The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp is a safe, natural outdoor environment that couples physical and social activities designed to help campers overcome anxieties, develop and enhance their physical skills, and allow them to move beyond their scarring and burn injuries to build self-esteem and self-confidence. Long-time campers are role models to first-timers, inspiring them with the things they can do post-injury while also understanding what they are going through.

Children attend free of charge with various organizations covering all expenses for lodging, meals, arts/crafts, activities and programs. D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation (the Foundation) sponsors a camp-wide pizza party, along with transportation and misc items such as sleeping bags and supplies for the D.C. campers. At camp they meet up with children from all over the world for a truly unique and meaningful experience where they can drop their anxieties and worries about their scarring or limitations and immerse themselves in arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, archery, a ropes course and making friends.

Many members of the Foundation  have attended camp, including Dave Keefe, who will be attending for his 19th year this July. 


“I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to volunteer at this camp,” reflects Keefe, founding member of the Foundation and current Captain of Engine Company 16.  “It is hard to put into words what I get out of it.  I learn so much from the kids at this camp.  They are heroes.  Watching them grow

and conquer daily challenges that I will never understand is amazing.”

The best part of camp for Dave is the closing ceremony called Key Log, which takes place on the last night of camp. Each camper gets the opportunity to reflect on their week at camp.  “To hear what this camp means to each camper is truly extraordinary,” Dave says.

You can support the Foundation’s work with the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp by making a one-time or monthly donation.