Camp Susquehanna came into being following a lecture in 1994 to the Lancaster Sertoma Club by Alan Breslau, burn survivor who founded the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors in 1977. The Phoenix Society in now the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering people affected by burn injuries. Sertoma is one of the oldest service clubs in the United States. They operate nationwide, with deep roots in the communities they serve at the local level. Sertomans seek to transform lives and, in doing so, also transform themselves. They understand that they can accomplish more together than individuals can alone.
The club presented Mr. Breslau with a Service to Mankind Award and asked him what they could do to help burn survivors. Alan immediately suggested that they establish a camp for burned children. The Sertomans decided then and there that they would do so in the memory of M. Elvin Byler, the Sertoman’s founder, who died as a result of burn injuries sustained in a private plane crash. Camp Susquehanna was born! The first camp was held on the beautiful campus of Franklin and Marshall College with eight children that very same summer.
The inaugural Camp was a very “full on” program packed tightly with fun activities and outings, directed by Richard Friedman, Lee Walp, Cindy Thomas and Alan & Delwyn Breslau, with enthusiastic support from the Sertoma members and the Fire Service. Alan and Delwyn remained closely involved with the annual summer camp until their emigration to New Zealand in 2003.
In 2016, Camp Susquehanna came under the auspices of the Burn Prevention Network (BPN), whose mission is to provide burn injury prevention education to, and advocacy for, those at greatest risk. In 2019, the Camp celebrated 25 years of service to children who have suffered burns. There is never a charge for children to attend the camp. BPN and its predecessor fundraise to cover the cost of each year’s camp.
The Burn Foundation has been an ardent supporter of Camp Susquehanna from its beginning.
For additional information, go to www.campsusquehanna.org, or contact:
Burn Prevention Network
236 North 17th Street
Allentown, Pa. 18104