JK: What is Camp Courage, and how did you get involved?
JJ: Camp Courage is the Arizona Burn Foundation’s annual camp in the Prescott area for children and teenagers who are burn survivors. The camp has been held since 1991, and I started participating in 1995. I was asked to go up there and make photos to document what went on at the camp. I also started putting together a slideshow to share with campers the night before they went home. I had no idea what
effect that was going to have and the emotion it would create for the campers. That was overwhelming and very meaningful for me.
JK: In recent years, in connection with your longtime work with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes, you’ve been hosting a photography workshop for campers. How did that get started?
JJ: Our executive director, Roberta Lites, asked if I could come up with an outreach idea, and I quickly had the idea of a workshop. Because the camp operates on a tight schedule, I thought about doing it at another time and place, but the administration decided to dedicate a day of camp to it. We held the first workshop in 2016, and the next year, we began producing a book of photos the campers had made. We also run a photo contest in which the campers vote on their favorite images, with prizes such as cameras for the winners.
JK: Where do the cameras come from?
JJ: Originally, participants used cameras borrowed from a manufacturer. We eventually could no longer do that, but then, during the pandemic, we weren’t able to put on the workshop for a couple of years. As a result, Arizona Highways PhotoScapes had grant money that hadn’t been spent, and we used it to buy 15 cameras that now are used for the workshop.
JK: What kind of impact do you think the workshop has on these kids?
JJ: My initial hopes were similar to the ones I have for the PhotoScapes workshops: that everyone learns something they can go home and use, and that they find the experience worthwhile. But, much like with the slideshow I mentioned, I was blown away by how much the kids said they enjoyed it and how much they got out of it. When teenagers come to you and say they like something, that’s significant. And the kids have had an impact on me, too: For them to go through what they have, and come out stronger, is so inspiring.
JK: What are your hopes for the future of the workshop?
JJ: I think our workshop program is excellent, and I plan to keep doing it as long as
I can. I’d also like to turn some of the overall camp photography over to the campers and let them document the event the way I have for so many years.
For more information about Camp Courage and the Arizona Burn Foundation, call 602-230-2041 or visit azburn.org.
Do you have a question about photography? Email it to [email protected], and our photo editor, Jeff Kida, will try to answer it in a future issue.