Westhampton Beach Junior Fire Department
The Westhampton Beach Fire Department Junior program allows youth the opportunity to gain technical skills they can apply toward a future career or as a volunteer in the fire and emergency services. An equal – if not greater – benefit to youth is the opportunity to develop and build teamwork and leadership skills, confidence, responsibility and the ability to stay calm in emergency situations.
These and other valuable life skills benefit youth as they navigate through teenage years and will continue to help them through whatever college/career path they choose and into adulthood. These skills are also important attributes to career or volunteer firefighters, which many Junior firefighters might one day become.
Junior firefighter program advisors serve as both mentors and coaches. In the coaching role, they instruct, teach and train Junior firefighters. They have to be a motivator, set goals and evaluate progress. As a coach, they will have to discipline Junior firefighters and educate them on their mistakes. This is preparation for the future of the fire service and through appropriate coaching and mentorship, they will respond to their first call as confident, ethically-minded and well-trained adults. Leadership, teamwork, responsibility and community service are inherent to training drills and other department and program activities.
The program has 28 members who participate in community fundraisers. They were jumping in the ocean in January for the polar plunge, doing community beach cleanup in April, rolling in the mud to raise money at the middle school in June, helping set up the Cancer Hospice Gala in July, teaching fire education and fire extinguishers at open house in August, going to parades, watching over the fire pit at the village festival and at the end of the year they baked cookies for widowers and senior members of the fire department as well as for the food pantry.
They have more than 1,015 hours of community service, activities and training in Firefighter 1 this past year. The Westhampton Beach Junior Fire Department truly embodies the meaning of giving back.