HOLDEN, Mass. — The young firefighters who make up Holden Explorer Post 2012 stepped up as leaders Saturday, passing along their special training to other youths from programs in Roxbury and Hinsdale, N.H.
After hearing about Holden's program, Dean K. Mike Thompson contacted post coordinator Lt. Mike Rosen in hopes of bringing students from a fitness and health program at Egleston Community High School in Roxbury for a day of firefighter training.
In addition to the 23 city students, the junior firefighters were joined by four kids from a new program starting in Hinsdale, as well as extra cavalry from Sutton Explorer Post 40 to assist in the day of training at the Holden Fire Department.
Breaking into groups, the teens threw on their protective fire gear and learned a variety of essential firefighting skills, ranging from dressing a hydrant and knocking down a target with a forestry line to pulling a hose up to a second-story window.
Holden Firefighter Jack Bryan, co-coordinator of the explorer post, said it was a great activity for the inner-city kids, who don't often get a chance to do something like this.
"Especially that they're in a fitness program, and this incorporates what the fire-side does with fitness — it's all about working together, and these kids are doing an awesome job. Everybody's learning and everybody's having fun."
For the Holden Explorers, Bryan said it was an opportunity for them to jump into leadership roles.
"The explorers are teaching the newer ones, and the advisers are helping out, so everybody's working as one big group," he said.
Jeffrey Harris, executive director for the Quinsigamond District of the Boy Scouts of America's Mohegan Council, said the day was about more than just giving the kids a chance to see what fire service is all about. It also allowed them "to be able to take the leadership qualities from fire services and apply it to something else is absolutely invaluable. Any organization, any business, is looking for leaders, and people that are going to bring the organization to the next level."