Toronto firefighters curl for kids
Pat Hayter first heard about Camp Bucko when he was a student at the Toronto Fire Academy.
“It sounded like something I could be involved in, just being with the kids and that,” Hayter said during a rare quiet moment at the 2015 Toronto Fire Celtic Society bonspiel on Feb. 5.
Twenty four teams of curlers – 21 from Toronto Fire Service and three from Pickering Fire Services – curled at the Whitby Curling Club to raise money for Camp Bucko (Burn Camp for Kids in Ontario) in McKellar, Ont.
Hayter, a Toronto firefighter, organized the first bonspiel two years ago; other departments across Ontario helped by doing carwashes and breakfasts and putting all the fundraising dollars into one pot.
Hayter and others had raised more than $26,000 over a couple of years. This year’s total is $16,177.73.
“The camp is 100 per cent volunteer,” Hayter said, “The kids don’t pay a cent.”
There are camp weeks for kids older than seven, and family weeks for younger kids.
“Camp Bucko is a very special place,” Hayter said in a Facebook post on the Camp Bucko Curling page after the bonspiel. “From our total funds raised, you have just paid for roughly 10 kids to come to camp.”
Dozens of silent auction items and prizes for winners, runners up and the best- (or worst-, depending on your sartorial perspective) dressed team were donated by fire-service suppliers and supporters.
Hayter has volunteered at Camp Bucko and at other burn camps for kids. His enthusiasm and passion are widely respected among his colleagues, who clamour to get a spot in the over-sold bonspiel.
Hayter shuns the spotlight but his peers and Camp Bucko supporters know how much time and effort he puts into the event.
As one Facebook friend put it, “Patty, you’re a gem.”