Calling all junior firefighters

Challenge course for kids sure to be a Community Day highlight

City of Langley firefighters operate the Junior Firefighter Challenge at the 2011 Community Day Celebration held in Douglas Park.

City of Langley firefighters operate the Junior Firefighter Challenge at the 2011 Community Day Celebration held in Douglas Park.


Suited up in child-size sets of turnout gear, local youngsters will once again get a chance to find out what it feels like to walk (or run) in the boots of a real firefighter, as the City of Langley fire department sets up their annual Junior Firefighter Challenge.

On Saturday, June 16, from noon to 4 p.m. — with a 90-minute break from 1 p.m. to 2:30 — the course will be open for young participants to race against the clock in the parking lot next to Douglas Park in downtown Langley City.

The competition — part of next weekend’s Community Day celebrations — is open to participants as young as four or five years old, right up to those who are 10 or 11.

“Most kids, when we’re young, we want to grow up and be firemen,” said City firefighter Dave Skidmore.

“They have a ball,” he said of the children who line up each June for the chance to gear up and  drag a dummy, carry a coiled hose and knock down a target with a charged hose.

Introduced in 2008, the Junior Firefighter Challenge is always popular attraction at Community Day celebrations — at least, now that the kids know what it is.

“The first year, we had it all set up and all the kids were standing on the sidewalk with no idea (what was happening),” said Skidmore.

“The first kid, we essentially dragged off the sidewalk and dragged through the course.

“Then there was a line up to try it.”

Once they’ve completed the course, the children can collect a small prize and parents will get the chance to speak with City firefighters about fire safety in the home.

“Community Day gives us an opportunity in the park to continue with our goal of providing education for kids and parents,” said Skidmore.

This year, the grownups will get a chance to play, too, as staff from a trio of restaurants on the Langley Bypass — Milestones, Red Robin and Coza — take on teams made up of City Council members, fire department administrators and RCMP to compete for bragging rights.

For the hour and a half that contest goes on, the kids’ course will be closed, Skidmore said.

In addition to operating the course, City firefighters will once again grill up hamburgers and hotdogs for sale, with all proceeds going to the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

Although money is set aside to purchase supplies, “the budget is greatly enhanced by the generosity of our sponsors,” said Skidmore.

The firefighter challenge is just one of a number of activities and attractions that will be happening in the park, following the Community Day parade, which begins at 10 a.m., rain or shine, and travels along Fraser Highway between 201A Street and 207 Street.

From there, the party moves one block south to Douglas Park, where there will be entertainment by the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and the Langley First Capital Chorus, as well as cheerleading demonstrations and dance presentations, booths, face painting and roaming clowns.

Meanwhile, the Langley Lions will host bingo from noon to 4 p.m.  For more information, visit the City of Langley’s website at