Goldsboro Fire Department Hosts Hook and Ladder Camp

Goldsboro Fire Department Hosts Hook and Ladder Camp

What started as an idea to give back to children in Wayne County by giving them an inside look into the life of a firefighter became a reality on Monday morning.

The Goldsboro Fire Department hosted the first day of its inaugural Hook and Ladder Fire Camp for children ages 8 through 13. The free camp is being held all week from 8 a.m. to noon each day.

The camp was an idea of Jhante Reyes, an administrative assistant at the fire department.

“I had this idea in November or December,” Reyes said. “It was just a random thought. I had to get donations, reach out to sponsors, come up with a design for the logo, figure out lunches, figure out activities and how would they learn from all of this.”

The camp is being funded largely through donations and volunteers. Reyes’ efforts to secure donations for the camp initially didn’t yield any results.

“I started by sending out donation letters explaining what I would like to do and at first we didn’t get any sponsors,” Reyes said. “I thought we’re not going to do this. But, somebody reached out and it seemed like after one person reached out more and more people did.”

The fire department held a raffle for a Playstation at Center Street Jam that helped to cover a large portion of the cost of the camp. Reyes also received advice on how to execute the camp effectively from a fire department in Greenville that also hosts Hook and Ladder camps.

“I saw a fire department in Greenville was hosting a camp, and I spoke with them and asked for tips,” Reyes said. “I had a whole bunch of questions and I talked to them for almost an hour. I think it was last month that it sunk in that this was really about to happen. It’s a learning experience.”

The ability to offer the camp for free would not have been possible without sponsors that included Geoff Hulse, Goldsboro Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Bicycle World, Pizza Inn, Piggly Wiggly, Seegars Fence Company and Quality Fire Extinguishers.

The fire department capped the camp at 10 participants this year, but also has aspirations of growing the camp in the future.

“It’s a dream come true almost because I didn’t think we were going to get here,” Reyes said. “It wasn’t taking off. One day I walked in and we had a check from Seegars Fence Company, and I thought maybe we can do this. This was a free camp and I wanted to see if we could do it for free. Some people thought we should charge something, but I wanted to do it for free. None of these kids seem like they go to school together, so we hand picked the participants so we could have a diverse group.”

On Monday, the campers participated in a variety of activities including a fire department-themed scavenger hunt, a turnout gear race, and a bucket brigade. The campers received a surprise as they got to witness members of the Goldsboro Fire Department head out on a fire call.

Reyes plans to keep the campers busy the rest of the week with an obstacle course, fire, swimming, and bicycle safety lessons, CPR and first aid training, EMS lessons, a “graduation,” and a cookout.