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.
Campers are also provided with more in-depth training in a variety of simulated emergency situations that include both vehicle and airplane fires, wilderness firefighting and search and rescue.
“It’s a great experience. These kids unplug from the digital world allowing them to learn fellowship and comradery, all while gaining valuable skills to help themselves, their communities and their states — now and in the future,” Lambert added.
Registration is open for those interested. Campers must be ages 14 through 17 to participate. The cost is $295 which includes meals, lodging and six required camp T-shirts. Scholarships are available to those who qualify.
The registration deadline is Monday, May 1.
The WVU Extension Service is a primary outreach division of West Virginia University. With offices in each of the state’s 55 counties, Extension faculty and staff develop and deliver programs in leadership, rural and community-based economic development, youth development, workforce development and health education.