Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp teaches confidence, beauty to kids

by: Sara Whaley Updated:

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PRYOR, Okla. —

Every year, children with visible disfigurations are invited to a place where they feel accepted. The Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp is in its 16th year at Dry Gulch USA in Pryor.
 
On Saturday night, campers are given a makeover before a big dance just to remind them that they are just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
 
“We dress up and there is usually a theme,” said camper Carleigh Yarrington.
 
As a stylist fixed 10-year-old Yarrington’s hair, she shared her story.
 
“It was just a little red dot and we didn’t know what it was so we went to a doctor and he didn’t say anything. He just said it would go away, but it didn’t and it got bigger,” Yarrington said.
 
The Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp isn’t just for kids who have been severely burned. It’s also for those who have any type of disfiguration.
 
Yarrington wasn’t burned or even hurt. She was born with the hemangioma.
 
“I had to go to surgery in New York. I have to go every year,” Yarrington said.
 
Camp Director Scott Stokes wants kids like Yarrington to feel confident even though the look different.
 
“Kids are cruel. Some of them make fun of them. We want them to learn that there are other people out there just like them. It’s a family,” Stokes said.
 
He said he’s seen major attitude transformation in just five days at camp.
 
“We’ll see kids come in where they are shy, hiding behind their parents leg and when their parents come to pick them up they’re just going crazy,” Stokes said.
 
“We went tubing and the boat pulled us and we flipped over,” Yarrington said.
 
She’s been going to the camp for four year and Saturday night she was made to feel like a princess before the ball.
 
“I just like dancing with them because they’re really nice,” Yarrington said.
 
Just another reminder that while she is unique, it’s in a beautiful way.