Children and youth from Manitoba, northwestern Ontario and Nunavut were in Winnipeg today to kick off the 29th annual Firefighters Burn Camp, which offers a safe, fun environment for those who have suffered burn injuries.

Campers between the ages of six and 18 enjoyed a barbecue at Winnipeg Fire Station No. 1 on Monday morning before they and counsellors departed for the camp, which is being held in the Moose Lake area.

Sponsored by the Firefighters Burn Fund Inc., the camp allows young burn survivors — many of whom are going through a long and painful rehabilitation process — to meet other kids who are going through similar experiences.

"At burn camp, every child has been through the trauma of a burn. Many of them have visible scars. They get an opportunity to be in a camp setting like a normal kid," said Martin Johnson, who chairs the Firefighters Burn Fund.

"If they've been ridiculed and they withdraw, being at camp gives them an opportunity to be open and regain some of the confidence that they have possibly lost," he added.

The camp is staffed by firefighters, occupational therapists, nurses and volunteers. It runs until Thursday.