June 10 – One of Norfolk County’s hottest camps took place June 7.

Held during a PA Day, the Parks and Recreation Junior Firefighter Camp attracted 37 youngsters eager to learn the ins and outs of the Norfolk County Fire Service.

“This is a special day,” said Norfolk Fire Prevention officer Michael Atkins. “The firefighters love it, the kids love it. It gives us an opportunity to get a little more hands-on than we would if we’re dealing with a class or service group of any kind. It’s a lot of fun.”

After meeting at the Simcoe Recreation Centre, the group walked to Norfolk County Fire Station 1 Simcoe where they enjoyed a fire safety video before touring the facility and even getting a chance to spray the water hose – always a fan favourite.

“I’ve done camps in the past but the morale for this one is just so much higher,” said recreation programmer Rachael Lolua. “The kids are all hyped up, happy and ready to go. It’s just a great day for everyone.”

A lunch and swim break back at the Rec Centre is then followed by some more firefighter activities to give the children a better understanding of what it means to don the uniform.

“It’s a great opportunity being able to partner with a community group like the firefighters,” said Lolua. “It’s always great to show the kids different parts of Norfolk County rather than just the Rec Centre. Everyone sees the glamorous side of firefighting but they kind of get to get down and dirty with it today and appreciate it on another level.”

Youngsters Kathleen Rhora, Naylah Smith, and Satara Parker had all attended the camp once before and couldn’t wait to return.

“I liked being able to try the hose,” Rhora said.

Smith said she enjoyed, “when we get to see people put on the fire suits and see how different they are”.

Parker relished being around friends throughout the day.

“It’s fun knowing people and being here with other people,” she said. “Knowing everyone here is so fun.”

All staff involved hope that the group enjoy themselves but also take away some fire safety lessons in the process.

“It’s a balance of having a lot of fun and hopefully learning,” said Atkins.

“Our message is always, get out and stay out – get low and go, stay out of the house until an adult tells you it’s safe to go back inside.”

“If you can combine fun and learning you’re doing well,” Lolua added. “Sometimes it’s hard to keep kids on the same page but it’s great when you can make learning fun.”

Norfolk County offers a number of day camp options throughout the year. To learn more call 519-426-8866 x 2233. Schedules are also posted inside the inNorfolk Guide.