Chief Charlie Boyte's report for April 2013

Michael Boyle

During Spring Break, as I was writing this report, more than 30 dedicated fire fighters and volunteers were supporting a new generation of hometown heroes.

Fifteen teens, attending our boot camp were striving to reach new levels of confidence and competence in fire fighting and rescue skills, teamwork and leadership. They were gaining that confidence under the skilled tutelage and mentorship of volunteer and career fire fighters from Pender and Salt Spring Islands.

Since Deputy Fire Chief Mike Dine organized the first boot camp for teens in 2005, the event has focused on learning fire/rescue skills and building values, ethics, teamwork and cooperation while conquering fears, having fun and overcoming challenges. The goal is to ensure a secure future through mentorship. The values and skills these young people are exposed to give them tools they need to become great community leaders. 

In fact, a high percentage of camp graduates serve their communities today and have encouraged their peers to do the same. In this space it is hard to adequately recognize the contributions of the more than 30 volunteers and businesses that made it happen. You really have to be immersed in the camp 24 hours a day for six days to truly appreciate the magnitude of the task and the level of commitment required.

This year we had a special training opportunity. Two private helicopter pilots volunteered their time and their machine for a downed aircraft search and rescue operation with the Coast Guard facilitating the marine component. The RCMP headed up the command team for the exercise. The Galiano Film School under the tutelage of our own Cyrus Block (cinematographer extraordinaire) documented the camp.

I must give special recognition to Kelly Dine and her culinary team who stepped up to handle the logistics of meals. This team was on deck at 5 a.m. most days and still working long after the dinner hour. It is certainly a daunting task to maintain an adequate fuel supply to get the cadets and trainers through the grueling 16 hour days. Our sincerest thanks go out to all the members of this crucial team. Captain Jamie Holms from Salt Spring was exceptional coordinating the training schedule.

Our sincerest thanks to all the members of Salt Spring Fire and Pender Island Fire who so generously shared their knowledge and time. Special thanks as well to the RCMP, the Southern Gulf Islands Emergency Program and the BC Ambulance Service. Last, but certainly not least there is our own Deputy Chief Dine who has done another stellar job coordinating the 2013 camp.

Some special guests were to attend the cadet award ceremonies this year including MP Elizabeth May, Fire Commissioner Rebecca Denlinger, National President of the Fire Chiefs Association Chief Steven Gamble, our SGI CRD Director Dave Howe and Islands Trustees Gary Steeves and Ken Hancock. Their attendance acknowledges the significance of the program in community sustainability and certainly speaks highly to the youths, firefighters and volunteers involved in the camp.

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


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