My name is Nicole Strasburger and I am a student at Washington State University. I am writing with a very heavy heart because I believe the community has a right to know what is going on. I am a burn survivor and I have been attending a summer camp called Camp Eyabsut up in North Bend, WA since I was 7 years old. This camp was created to specifically help burn victims like myself to overcome our fears and anxieties while also learning how to boost our self confidance despite everything we have been through. Numerous kids attend this summer camp every year until they graduate at the age of 17. Then many of us go back as counselors because we want to share our experiences with the new incoming campers. The campers and counselors we meet at camp become our family, we grow together getting to know, support, and love one another.
We have recently gotten a new Executive Board Director, Amber Fowler, who has decided to cancel camp this year for no reason at all. She is saying it is due to financial issues and funding but that is absolutely not true. The board of directors had a meeting 15 days ago about whether to cancel camp and then sent out a mass email to everyone involved saying camp was cancelled with absolutely no rhyme or reason. Everyone who has read this email is beyond devastated; camp is our second home and to know that Amber took that away from us is horrifying. She also lied to the board of directors saying the reason that camp was cancelled because we did not have the proper insurance to make sure everyone who attends is safe. This is not true: our previous Executive Board Director Nancy just retired (which is why Amber is now ED) and she says she has proof of insurance.
I think the community has a right to know what is really going on, and why camp has really been cancelled this year. Camp Eyabsut reaches out to people in so many of the surrounding states such as Oregon, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, etc. and so many people have been and will continue to be affected by this etrocity. So many members of the community have donated to the Northwest Burn Foundation fully supporting what they do, and in return the NWBF has decided for no reason to take away our home. We are trying to make camp happen but we need help. I want the community to know how we have all been affected, especially the new incoming campers and the returning campers and counselors, and how hurt and betrayed we all feel at this injustice. We have a facebook page for the camp as well as a webpage where people can go to donate their time or money.
We all love camp and do not want to let this stand. The community needs to know that a national organization they trusted has an Executive Board Director who has lied to them to further her own agenda. This needs to be stopped so we can have our home back; Camp Eyabsut. It is also worthy to note that the President of the Northwest Burn Foundation is Pullman, Washington's very own Chief of the fire department, Scott Lavielle, agrees with this decision to take camp away from us.
We have pulled away from the Northwest Burn Foundation and currently everyone, campers, volunteers, counselors, etc. are working around the clock to try and raise $90k before July 21, 2012 to make camp happen this year and we need all the help we can get. We only have $3,500 in donations so far. People are holding fundraisers, garage sales, bake sales, auctions, etc. but it is not enough. We need the public's help. Please, anything helps; if you can donate your time or money please visit our website at www.saveburncamp.org.
Check out our story in these videos and newscasts so you can get a better idea of what our camp is really about.