Helping children with burn injuries
During the recovery of a firefighter who survived serious burns in an ammonia explosion in 1984, the idea for a foundation to help those is need was born, and named after fellow firefighter Captain Percy R. Johnson, who had died shortly after as a result of the same explosion. With only seven founders including this firefighter and the Director of the LSU Burn Center, the organization began and in 1987 the group had its first fundraiser, Christmas party, and the first plans to send burn surviving children to Camp Cheley in Colorado the following year.
In 1988 the first Louisiana group of one adult and two campers went to Camp Cheley, and just two years later the “I’m Still Me” video was started and became a nationally recognized tool in the area of Burn Education Outreach. In February of 1991 a committee began work on a children’s burn camp in Louisiana, marking the last year of sending campers to camps in Colorado and California.
The first Children’s Burn Camp was planned for May 1992, and nineteen children attended. This marked the creation of Camp I’m Still Me, and since 1993 both the camp and the foundation have evolved and grown, and this week-long camp has provided this amazing experience free of charge to children ages 5 to 17, held the first full week of June each year. Located just 30 minutes from Shreveport at Scottsville Camp and Conference Center in Scottsville, Texas, the camp draws campers not only from Shreveport, but the entire state of Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.
A close knit group, the counselors and staff are burn survivors, health care workers, firefighters, and others who have a special place in their hearts for these children. Campers arrive on Sunday, go home on Saturday, and the week closes out with a dance on Friday night and Saturday morning awards and a presentation of the week at camp for all campers, staff, campers’ families, and anyone else wanting to attend.
Through Camp I’m Still Me, the Foundation helps children connect and grow with others with beautiful differences just like them.