When they are young, one of the first things parents teach kids is to stay away from fire. But as they get older, the message morphs from one of total avoidance to that of respect.
After all, what kid doesn’t love toasting s’mores over a bond fire or the feeling of accomplishment that comes with earning that coveted family grill master status?
Regardless the activity, maintaining fire safety is a constant in most households and our kids are well aware of the rules. They know family fire escape routes, understand the importance of smoke detectors and the essential tenets of fire safety.
And, beginning this June, Flint-area youth ages 12 to 17 years will have the opportunity to participate in free two-week summer boot camp of sorts that will allow them to get a valuable glimpse of what it really takes to fight fire — coined “Camp Fire.”
The two-week program, supported by the City of Flint, is aimed at providing girls and boys with a comprehensive, intensive overview of the firefighting profession. It’s very physical, hands-on and intense, according to organizers.
Girls and boys will have the opportunity to do things that they may never have done before. Cadets will gain a confidence and inner strength that comes through accomplishment and success, free of charge to participants.
“My goal this summer, for all youth, all over the city of Flint, is to make sure that they are involved in an activity that is both fun and educational,” said Flint Mayor, Dr. Karen Weaver. “It is never too early to introduce a child to a possible career pathway for them to consider and if nothing else, teach them at an early age to respect the heroic work that firefighters do.”
The program is expected to be a game changer for participants who might not have otherwise considered fire fighting as a career alternative, according to organizers.
“Our mission is to provide young girls and boys a safe environment to gain strength and knowledge while building confidence and leadership skills,” said Fire Chief Raymond Barton. “We will accomplish our mission by bringing in the best instructors and staff that we can, and by continuously evaluating and updating the program to meet the needs of the cadets and to reflect current NFPA safety and training standards.”
Another goal of the summer camp is to improve academic performance, school attendance, and address behavioral concerns.
“It is our hope that the long-term effect of the program will improve academic performance, school attendance, graduation rates and attitudes,” said Deputy Fire Chief, Carrie Edwards. “We believe that showing youth what they are capable of helps them recognize and unleash their potential, which can change the trajectory of their life.”
Participants can sign up for the program by visiting the city of Flint website and downloading an application.
Lead photo courtesy of City of Flint