Bayleigh Rules as Base Commander for a Day

Members of CFB Fire and Rescue Service gather with Stacia Scott (second from right), Scott, and Back during a tour of the fire hall. Photos: Peter Mallett/Lookout Newspaper

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Seven-year-old Bayleigh Scott was a kind and gracious leader during her brief rule as CFB Esquimalt Base Commander for a Day.

The Grade 2 student at Quadra elementary school took the senior leadership position after winning a draw at Defence on The Dock held at Ogden Point last September. On the morning of March 5, Captain (Navy) (Capt(N)) Kevin Whiteside, Base Commander, welcomed Bayleigh, her mother Stacia Scott and her brother Austyn Back, 11, to his headquarters in Naden.

“Come on in, this [office] is all yours today,” said Capt(N) Whiteside as he greeted the family, offering hot chocolate and complementary CFB Esquimalt ball hats.

Scott’s brother Austyn Back, and Scott get a look at the controls on the tower bucket of the CFB Esquimalt Fire and Rescue Service’s Aerial Rescue truck.

Capt(N) Whiteside explained to his visitors the position of Base Commander is similar to being the mayor of a municipality and comes with great responsibility before unofficially relinquishing his command to Bayleigh.

“While her time at the helm was short, Bayleigh was amazing, I was taking notes,” Capt(N) Whiteside said. “It is fantastic we can offer this opportunity and continue the great work and exposure from our 2023 Defence on the Dock.”

Stacia says their visit to the Base exceeded their expectations, and she thanks the military members and civilian staff who assisted in the tour.

Scott and Back are welcomed to CFB Esquimalt Fire and Rescue Service by fire safety mascot Sparky the Fire Dog (middle).

“The kids are having a great time and it’s a lot of great information for them about CFB Esquimalt,” she said. “They may not be at school today, but they are getting an education here too by learning a different and important curriculum.”

The Base Commander’s for a Day first stop was the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum. She and her family were warmly welcomed by museum curator Tatiana Robinson and museum volunteer Lieutenant-Commander (ret’d) Paul Seguna, who gave his new boss a tour of the facility.

Bayleigh then attended Nelles Block to conduct a quick inspection of the galley. They took a quick break for some refreshments, including a giant cookie baked by Base Foods Staff.

A CFB Esquimalt Fire and Rescue Service member whisked them away for a ride in the service’s Aerial Rescue truck and visit of the fire hall. Shortly after a guided tour, a dispatcher on an emergency call instructed Bayleigh and Austyn to respond to a fire emergency at the rear of the building. They donned rubber boots and participated in a simulated fire-rescue drill. With short lengths of fire hoses draped around their shoulders, they rescued a casualty dummy. Then, with the assistance of firefighters, they aimed, pointed and sprayed a fire hose at a training target to extinguish the simulated fire.

“Being Base Commander for a Day was really fun and I had a great time, but visiting the fire hall was my favorite part of the day,” said Bayleigh. “We made mom go very high in the fire truck’s ladder and she is normally afraid of heights.”

Her smiles and laughter seemed contagious with the firefighters and civilian employees of the Port Operations and Emergency Services Branch.

“It makes you feel great when visitors tell you the best part of their day is coming to the fire hall,” said Geordie Douglas, CFB Esquimalt Fire and Rescue Chief.

The family ended their day by visiting the Naden Athletic Centre’s pool. Personnel Support Programs welcomed the family for a swim, one of Bayleigh’s favourite activities.

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