The Roanoke County Fire Marshal’s Office hosted its 10th Annual Character Academy for kids last week. The three day camp was designed to teach middle school aged youth about fire safety and life skills. The mission also included an effort to build character fundamentals by having the children spend several days being mentored by firefighters and emergency medical service personnel in the day-camp environment.
Lifeguard 10 flew in for a visit and talked with the kids of the Character Academy about the importance of having good character when caring for people who are experiencing a traumatic medical event.
The twenty-five campers from around the Roanoke Valley spent Wednesday at the Fort Lewis Fire & Rescue Station learning about the gear, equipment and vehicles that firefighters and paramedics use throughout the day to keep the community and them safe. They also honed their fire safety and tornado skills by learning about and experiencing the Department’s Fire and Severe Weather Safety Trailer.
On Thursday the campers took a van ride to the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Training Center on Kessler Mill Road where they crawled through the dark confined space of an old train car, rappelled from the five-story training tower and got to challenge their athleticism by completing a simulated firefighter physical ability test. Campers finished the day with a cold flavored ice treat.
Friday, the kids took another van ride to Splash Valley for a quick swim and then headed to the Public Safety Center where they toured the Emergency Communications Center (or 9-1-1 center), dined on pizza for lunch with Chief Richard E. Burch, Jr. at the Fire and Rescue administrative offices and headed back to the Fort Lewis station for a graduation ceremony.
The campers received two Character Academy t-shirts (worn during the camp), a certificate of participation, official RCFRD logo cup, a video highlighting events from throughout the camp, and a lot of fun lessons about citizenship, trustworthiness, respect, fairness, responsibility and caring—CHARACTER.