With summer in full swing, a lot of parents are putting their kids in summer camps to occupy their time.
But while some children play, a unique camp in Clarington is giving kids a whole different experience, showing them the tricks of the trade when it comes to firefighting.
“My hope is that some of these kids, it may shape their direction of what they want to do in life,” says Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir.
It’s a week-long camp that has been running for 25 years, giving kids a good idea of what it takes to be a firefighter.
“This camp really inspired me. Like, there’s lots of things you didn’t know,” says Brock Gardiner, an 11-year-old camper.
Following a week of hard work, the nearly 50 kids are now graduating and were able to show off what they learned to family and friends. The camp finale included a firefighter-themed obstacle course along with a mock emergency scenario.
Over the years, the free day camp has put roughly 3,500 young firefighters through rigorous training — teaching them how to put out fires, roll hoses, react to emergencies and more — and put kids to the test with practical exercises.
All of these skills could help them make a career decision later in life, with some of them already saying the course has them convinced.
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The idea that a summer camp can help inspire youth is a big perk, according to parents like Stephen Gardiner. His son has also been convinced.
“He’s come home and he’s interested in pursuing firefighting now,” says Gardiner.
“It’s opening them up to different aspects and different job opportunities, stuff he might be interested in, and I think that’s great.”
Weir says that over the years, some of the students have even signed on.
“I’ve got a number of firefighters today with me that they went through this program some 20 years ago.”