WESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Teens 14 to 17 years old spent a hot week at the WVU Extension Junior Fire Fighter Camp, and on June 23 they graduated from this summer’s program.

West Virginia State Fire Academy Deputy Director Ralph McNemar said the hope is that those who age out of the program stay around the fire service and that those within the age limit continue to return each year for more advanced programs.

“The biggest thing is to save the lives of those who are there to help, as well as protect them from becoming injured or being killed in the line of duty, so the better trained they are, the better able they are to provide that care,” McNemar said.

McNemar said that the junior firefighter camp needs financial support and that it has funding for training firefighters, but no funding for its camp. Since there is no funding, the cost for each camper is $375.

“If you’re interested in supporting the future of firefighters in the state of West Virginia, and all across the nation, help support us and get more of these kids coming in,” McNemar said.

Some campers were sponsored by their county or local fire department, but others had to find their own funding. There were 67 teens who graduated from the WVU Extension Junior Fire Fighter Camp for the summer of 2022.