The camp takes place Saturday, June 4 to Thursday, June 9 at the West Virginia State Fire Academy at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston, West Virginia.
According to Brian Grieco, adjunct instructor for the WVU Fire Extension Service, the program is unique in comparison to the junior’s normal activities because the teens are expected to do more than clean hoses or maintain equipment—they’re engaging in hands-on training exercises under the supervision of experienced firefighters and other emergency professionals.
“When I was younger, all I wanted to do was become a firefighter, but I never had an avenue to explore my opportunities,” said Grieco. “Now we have this camp that invites hundreds of youths each summer to train, forge new friendships and seek out future job and volunteering opportunities in fire service—and that’s a huge opportunity for any teen considering a future in fire service or emergency response.”
Campers are taught the basics of firefighting operations, including CPR and first aid, fire apparatus, hose line operations, personal protective equipment, ground and aerial ladder operations and self-contained breathing apparatus. In addition to firefighting basics, campers will receive training in emergency situations such as vehicle extrication, airplane fires, rope rescue and wilderness search and rescue.
Not only do campers learn hands-on training, but they also gain vital skills in teamwork and leadership, according to Grieco.
“Each teen becomes a ‘company officer’ for a day, so they’re learning not only how to take direction and work effectively as a team, but also how to be a leader—which are both vital skills in emergency scenarios,” said Grieco. “It’s amazing to watch their growth from registration day to the day they graduate—some of our graduates have moved on to become career firefighters and also attained highly regarded positions in the Navy and other branches of the military.”
Registration for the camp is open for teens ages 14 to 17 wishing to participate. The cost is $295, which includes lodging at WVU Jackson’s Mill, meals and camp t-shirts. Though limited scholarship funds may be available for qualified campers, participants are strongly encouraged to contact their local fire departments for sponsorship opportunities. The deadline for registration is Friday, May 20. Participants can register online at bit.ly/JrFirefighterReg or call their local Extension office.
For more information or if interested in volunteering as a staff member or camp instructor, call 304-269-0875 or visit fireservice.ext.wvu.edu.
The WVU Extension Service provides educational opportunities to local communities through offices in all 55 West Virginia counties. WVU Extension Service’s programs are accomplished in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, civic groups and governmental organizations statewide and throughout the nation.
CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU Extension Service
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