June 20, 2011
You can usually find nurse Leslie Baruch working at the University of Virginia Medical Center, but for one week every summer she's at the Central Virginia Burn Camp, which she co-founded.
“I started this one 18 years ago with the idea of bringing these children together so they can be with other kids who have gone through the same injury and have the same physical scars that they have,” she said.
After surviving a wide range of burns, kids come from all over the Commonwealth to ride horses, go fishing and do what other kids their age do have fun.
“They just really enjoy being with other kids who don't ask them what happened and don't stare at them,” Baruch explained.
While many have viable scars on the outside, Baruch is using this camp to heal the ones they have on the inside.
“It really helps the campers come back and say they have more self-confidence," she said. "It's easier for them to interact with their peers on a daily basis."
Although, campers attribute Baruch and the burn camp for much of their personal growth, she doesn't call herself a hero. While she enjoys spending time with campers, Baruch hopes there will soon be a day when kids are burn free. Until then she'll keep the burn camp going.
For more information on the camp call (434) 263-6566.