Registration closes soon for WVU Extension Service's Junior Firefighter Camp

Teens can learn what it takes to be a firefighter at West Virginia University Extension Service’s Junior Firefighter Camp, June 3 through June 8 at the State Fire Academy at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston.

A refreshing change from the traditional summer camp, this unique experience offers campers the opportunity to further explore their interests in firefighting and emergency response under the direct supervision of trained firefighters and other emergency professionals.

“This camp helps mold young people. Time and time again we hear that if you get a person interested in fire service at a young age, they’re more likely to serve their communities as they get older,” said Mark Lambert, director of WVU Extension Fire Service. “That’s what is at the heart of this camp — cultivating a passion for public service.”

Campers are taught the basics of firefighting and emergency medical services through hands-on training in CPR and first aid, hose line and fire ground operations, ground and aerial ladders and self-contained breathing apparatus.

While a majority of campers are from West Virginia, cultivating a generation of future emergency responders for all communities is a goal for organizers, and teens from outside the state often join in on this transformative experience.

“These teens meet their peers from all over the country and forge new friendships that will serve them for years to come,” said Lambert.

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Learn to produce and market dried fruits and vegetables with WVU Extension Service workshop

Experts from the West Virginia University Extension Service are offering a one-day, hands-on workshop for those interested in producing and marketing dried fruit and vegetable products.

The workshop takes place Thursday, May 11 from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Marshall County WVU Extension Office, 126 Barn Drive, Moundsville, WV 26041.

“This workshop can help producers learn how to dry fruits and vegetables as an additional way to market it, which extends the effective season of which they can sell their goods,” said WVU Extension Agents Cheryl Kaczor and Karen Cox. “However, the training can also help any individual who is just curious about how to safely and properly prepare dried fruit and vegetable products for home use.”

Pre-registration is required and is due by Thursday, May 4, 2017. The cost is $15 (scholarships available) and includes all necessary materials and lunch.

For registration information, contact Cheryl Kaczor at 304-843-1170, Karen Cox at 304-234-3673 or Paul Crumrine at 304-293-8588.

The workshop is taught by experienced food processing experts, and will address what products are viable for drying, the processes involved, ingredients, product safety, proper packaging and storage and handling, shared facility, marketing and more.

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Ronnie Helmondollar named director of WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources programs

After a nationwide search, Ronnie Helmondollar has been named program director of the West Virginia University Extension Service’s Agriculture and Natural Resources unit, effective Monday, April 3.

No stranger to the WVU Extension Service mission, Helmondollar’s appointment comes after serving on the administration team as the interim program director since 2015 and at the county level with 26 years of experience as an Extension agent.

“Our Agriculture and Natural Resources program is vital to many audiences around the state, from backyard gardeners to some of West Virginia’s largest agricultural operations,” said Steve Bonanno, dean and director of the WVU Extension Service. “I’ve known Ronnie for a long time and the work he accomplished through the years gives me confidence that those programs are in good hands and will continue to flourish as Extension heads into the future.”

From a young age, Helmondollar has been aware of the opportunities that surround him, knowing that sometimes those opportunities come in surprising forms, such as livestock.

Both sets of his grandparents owned small scale agricultural operations, and as he grew up he got firsthand experience with the work involved in being a successful farmer. He saw the value in the work his grandparents did and took it to heart.

“They planted seed for a love of the land and the hard work behind it,” he said.

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