DC students raise money for burn survivor camp

Photo by Aly Beach

Camp Bucko receiving cheque from students in the Fire and Life Safety Systems programs and Pre-service Fire Fighting program. (From left) Randy Panesar, Ralph Hoffman (Associate Dean at the School of Justice and Emergency Services), Mark Pitropov (Vice-President), Jessica Tyson, Dylan Biro, Daniel Gunda, Edward Chan (President), Steve Heidinga, Bryan Stong (Camp Bucko Board of Directors members), Andrew Will, Alycia Olesky (Vice-President), Kevin Ritz (President), Terri Gill, Derek Sailsbury.

A group of Durham College students has raised more than $1,000 for a summer camp for children with burn injuries.

The Fire and Life Safety Systems (FLST) and Pre-service Firefighting programs awarded Camp Bucko the funds raised through Fire Safety Week on Dec. 15.

The two programs raised $1,461 during the course of Fire Safety Week which was Oct. 10 – 13, the week before a five-week strike by college faculty.

This has been the most successful Fire Safety Week year in terms of funds raised, according to Randy Panesar, FLST program coordinator and professor.

Camp Bucko aims to give children with burn injuries, aged seven to 17, a chance to experience summer camp regardless of their injuries.

Camp Bucko is located at Cedar Ridge Camp in McArthurs Mills, near Bancroft, Ont. It hosts about 70 to 100 children per year.

Camp Bucko is free and primarily runs on donations.

“That’s why this is so important. It means so much to us,” says Camp Bucko board of directors member Steve Heidinga.

Heidinga is a Camp Bucko alumnus. He was nine when an accident caused severe burns to his lower body.

“It’s a little scary at first,” says Heidinga of the camp experience, “but once you get up there, you’re like ‘this place is awesome’.”

Fire Safety Week hosted many events including a 50-metre race in full firefighting gear, fire alarm education and activation and visits from Sparky the fire dog. The week focused on education and fundraising for Camp Bucko.

“Now they (students) know what to do if there’s am emergency,” says FLST student and president of the FLST program and committee Edward Chan.

Panesar says Fire Safety Week is student-run and planned and the students treat it like “their baby.”

Camp Bucko usually runs for one week in August. They are currently looking for volunteers.

“Kids go there for free. And we couldn’t do that without you,” says Heidinga.