Gala in Del Mar, golf classic put focus on Burn Institute’s vital programs


From hosting camps for burn-injured children to installing smoke detectors for senior citizens, the Burn Institute reaches out to thousands of children and adults each year.

To raise funds for the institute’s programs, the San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association and the Burn Institute Auxiliary have organized the Chiefs’ Gala and Golf Classic for four years. This year’s gala is slated for Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Paddock at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, followed by a day of golf Monday, Oct. 6, at Maderas Golf Club in Poway.

“This year we’ve invigorated the event with the California Dreamin’ theme,” said Susan Day, executive director of the Burn Institute. “It allows our guests to have fun and relax while raising funds for our programs.”

Founded in 1972, the Burn Institute helped open the area’s only regional burn center at University Hospital the next year. During its first year of operation, the burn unit treated 89 patients, including 22 children.

Dedicated to reducing the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego and Imperial counties, today the nonprofit health agency affects thousands of people across the region through its education, research and treatment programs, and support services.

Some of the institute’s programs include the Senior Smoke Alarm Installation Program — which brought more than 1,200 homes up to fire code with more than 5,000 smoke detectors last year — and the Juvenile Arson and Explosive Research and Intervention Center program. As the only court-approved and court-mandated juvenile firesetter diversion program in the county, the program served nearly 200 children at no cost in 2013.

Camp Beyond the Scars is the institute’s most notable burn-survivor support program. The camp was established in 1987, and San Diego’s local Camp Beyond the Scars launched in 1994.

The weeklong camp, which is free for burn-injured children, emphasizes building self-esteem and coping skills, and fellowship with other burn survivors.

“Come and help support us,” Day said. “We appreciate the generosity of our community because it allows us to continue to provide important safety programs and other services for burn survivors.”

The fourth annual gala begins at 6 p.m. with a reception, followed by a live auction and live music from Aloha Radio. The gala will feature a variety of items to bid on, including a chance to join the Chula Vista Police Department SWAT team for a day, a Corum watch valued at $10,000 and a trip to Hawaii.

The golf classic kicks off with a shotgun start at noon and culminates with a reception and awards ceremony. All players will receive lunch courtesy of Phil’s BBQ, snacks, drinks and entrance to the cocktail awards reception.

Gala tickets start at $250. The golf player entry fee is $425. Proceeds from both events benefit the Burn Institute.

For tickets to the gala or golf classic, call the Burn Institute at 858-541-2277 or visit

For more about the Burn Institute, visit