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Northern Michigan Winter Camp Helps Kids With Burn Injuries

The Great Lakes Burn Camp starts on Feb. 17 in Onaway at the UAW Black Lake Conference Center.

The camp is for kids ages 6 through 17, to meet, heal, and support other kids that have dealt with the same type of trauma from a burn. The winter camp features lots of indoor and outdoor fun.

Coletin Norman, 11-years-old, has attended the camp for years. He says he’s excited for this year’s camp because it’s the first time it’s being held in person since the pandemic began. The last few camps were held virtually.


Coletin was just shy of 2-years-old when he suffered burns. He has vague memories of that day but the trauma remains.

“I fell into a fire pit, but there was no flames. It was just ashes. And I fell into it like this, and my hand was burned,

The fifth grader said the burn camp helps.

“I would say it’s important because if I go there, I don’t have to listen to like people teasing me. And I can hear people talking about like how they were burned, like why they were burnt,” said Coletin.


Coletin says he’s made great friends at camp that he looks forward to seeing every year.

“Sometimes me and my friend, his name’s Nathan. We play I spy when we’re eating breakfast. We’re really best friends,” said Coletin.

His grandmother, Veronica Norman, said the camp provides something his family cannot.

“We can be there for support. Of course. We always are. The moral support, the physical, anything you need. But to understand the depth of the burn, the pain. If they are getting teased, we can help them with it. But we don’t understand truly what how that feels,” said Veronica.


The 211 Bar And Grill in Onaway has been hosting a fundraiser for the winter burn camp for years. Jeremy Pasella co-owns the bar with his wife, Becky. Jeremy said it’s amazing to see the support for kids who attend burn camp and he’s not the least bit surprised.

“Small, small community, but big heart. It’s been going up every year. It started off kind of small, but then the community kind of rallied together. And now we’re getting customers that aren’t even in town that live around the lake. They’re out of state. They hear about it on Facebook,” said Jeremy.

The next burn camp fundraiser at 211 Bar and Grill is Super Bowl Sunday from noon to 4 p.m..

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