FOMBELL (KDKA) — The annual “Burn Camp” in Fombell, Butler County, is a welcome change for kids who feel isolated by their injuries.

That’s also true of 18-year-old West Penn Burn Camp counselor Amanda Fischer, now in her ninth year at the camp. She started as a camper after a fireworks accident when she was 10.

“I was burned on both of my arms and my leg,” she says.

Though her scars have faded, the memory of her first Burn Camp is clear.

“I was scared when I first came,” she recalls. “But I met some great friends, and I loved the experience because you really feel like when kids started bullying you, you didn’t feel comfortable. And now you feel comfortable, because you’ve been with people who experienced the same thing as you.”

Nine-year camper Emily Thoma, now 16, suffered stomach burns at the age of 3.

“Once I came here, I realized that there are more people [who] have been burned. And it was so much easier to relate to them,” she says.

Emily’s friend and counselor can relate to children with burns in a way they can understand. After all, she’s been here, too.

“Now I can come back as a counselor and make the kids feel better,” Fischer says. “Then again, as a counselor it makes me feel better.”

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