Camp Oo-U-La again partners with Fort Yargo

WINDER -- Promoted as a uniquely carefree experience where kids can frolic as kids, Georgia's only camp held exclusively for burn-injured children debuts again today in Winder.

Camp Oo-U-La, which borrows its name from an Indian word for cool running water, is celebrating its 19th anniversary. Leaders expect to welcome more than 90 campers, like last year.

The cost for both campers and volunteers is covered by the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, which hosts boot drives and other fundraisers to foot the bills. By way of those fundraisers, Barrow County Emergency Services contributes to Camp Oo-U-La, which is held in their backyard at Fort Yargo State Park's Will-A-Way facility.

"The campers experience an entire week where they get to feel like kids again, regardless of their physical features," said department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.

Camp Oo-U-La is free to any Georgia resident, ages 7 to 17, who has sustained a burn injury that required treatment or hospitalization in a burn center.

Children who aren't Georgians, but have been treated or hospitalized in one of the burn centers in Georgia, are also eligible to attend, officials said.

The camp represents a partnership between the burn foundation and Camp Twin Lakes, a nonprofit offering year-round recreational, therapeutic and educational programs for children and young adults facing serious illnesses and other life challenges.

In the words of its leaders, Camp Twin Lakes provides life-changing experiences at its state-of-the-art, fully accessible camps in Rutledge, Winder and other locations throughout Georgia.

More information on Camp Twin Lakes can be found by visiting: www.camptwinlakes.org.