New ‘youth firefighter’ program for teens in New West

A New Westminster fire truck. Photo: Will Tomkinson
A New Westminster fire truck. Photo: Will Tomkinson

At three, every child wants to be a firefighter. Who wouldn’t, what with the sirens and the lights and the ladders and the shiny red fire trucks and the huge boots … nevermind the awesomeness of the firefighters’ helmets. And the drama! Like when Mama leaves the iron on Daddy’s shirt too long and the firefighters come and must SAVE HUCKLE! from the playroom upstairs and they use the special ladder, the one with the hook on it, to extend the fire truck’s tall ladder and they chop down the door WITH AN AXE! to reach Huckle and then jump out the window with him into the waiting net! (Can you tell Richard Scarry is a favourite ’round these parts?)

Firefighters are the most tangible real life heroes for little kids. The princes and knights and pirates are all in fairy tales, but when they go to the parades or on the much-coveted visits to the fire hall, kids get to see real firefighters and real fire trucks. But as the kids grow up, they get used to seeing the trucks scream past, and the stickers and colouring sheets given out at city festivals just aren’t as compelling anymore.

In a bid to turn more starry-eyed kids into firefighters, New West Fire & Rescue Services is launching a new ‘youth firefighter’ program in partnership with the City’s Parks, Culture and Recreation department. Targeted at teens in high school who are starting to make their career choices, grade 11 & 12 youth will be able to spend three days in a mini-fire academy learning what it takes to be a firefighter.

Thankfully, not every child leaves his firefighter helmet in the tickle trunk as he grows. The kids who have never let the dream die can pick up an application form at any Parks, Culture and Recreation facility or Glenbrook Firehall #1 or by calling the Youth Services office at 604-515-3775. Applications are due March 19, 2010. The youth firefighter program is May 7-9, 2010.