For 28 youths, this week was a chance to fill the boots of firefighters at the City of Asheville Fire Department’s Fire Escape camp.
For the third year in a row, AFD hosted the three-day camp for boys and girls in grades six through eight. Attendance at the camp, held at the Asheville Firefighters Association Camp off Clayton Road, has grown since it began in 2010.
“We got some repeat campers, and a few told their friends. Word is getting out and we filled up pretty quick this year,” said AFD Public Information Officer Kelley Klope.
The department’s interaction with students at Asheville Middle School through the In Real Life partnership also contributed to the turnout, Klope said.
Kids got to learn how to use turnout gear, the suit and equipment firefighters use when entering burning buildings, unroll and connect hoses and take a turn in the 100-foot-tall aerial bucket. They even got a taste of the obstacle course training that Asheville’s firefighters use to stay in top form.
“They get to learn the skills we use,” Klope said. “The kids just love it.”
The camp also serves as an introduction to other opportunities the AFD offers, including Asheville Fire Explorer Post 77, which trains young adults ages 14-21 firefighting skills. Several current firefighters with the department got their start in Post 77.
Fire Escape camp was provided free of charge, thanks to the participation of the Asheville Firefighters Association and Asheville firefighters who volunteered their time over the three days. The AFD also wants to thank Firehouse Subs and Asheville Pizza and Brewing for donating lunches.
Apply to attend Fire Escape Camp here:
For information about future camp opportunities, contact Kelley Klope at (828) 251-4011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.