WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – Every summer, young burn survivors are brought together at Camp Celebrate, in partnership with UNC’s Jaycee Burn Center, to connect, compete and share in their common experience.

Saturday, the camp celebrated 40 years in service.

“Although, I am still kind of insecure about my burns at times, but it has helped me open up and be a little more confident about them,” said camper Keshira Jones, who is also training to become a counselor.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the camp has scaled down to just one day a year since 2020, instead of their usual full, overnight weekend experience.

But this year, masks came off and counselors-in-training came back for an extra day. They’re all small steps to regaining normalcy.

“It’s nice to kind of start transitioning back to normal,” Jordan Sadowsky said.

This weekend has been the hottest yet this year, providing a heightened challenge for burn survivors.

“Their sweat glands are gone as they’ve been burned off. They’re no longer able to sweat,” nurse Natalie Spruill explained.

“First thing in the morning, hydration, hydration, hydration, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen,” counselor Terrell Watkins said.

Watkins has been at Camp Celebrate since his burn accident with a bonfire three decades ago.

Watkins said he suffered “75 percent burns on 30 percent of my body from the waist up.”

He said he shares his story so kids can own their own stories.

“They need to hear that story and they need to be comfortable in the skin they’re in,” Watkins said.

This year’s Camp Celebrate hosted around 50 campers.