The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) recently invited OYA’s Camp Riverbend Youth Transitional Facility Fire Crew to participate in the Union County Ag-Timber Parade in Island City, Oregon.
The youth loved handing out candy and meeting local residents as they walked alongside two Riverbend fire engines and a burn trailer. Riverbend Fire Crew supervisor Brett Dunten noted: “The guys had an amazing time seeing the smiles on the little kids’ faces, which in turn put smiles on theirs.”
Camp Riverbend has a well-established certification program that has trained numerous youth to become wildland firefighters. A long-standing relationship between ODF and OYA allows Riverbend youth to participate in practice burns and help fight actual wildfires in the field alongside professionals. OYA and ODF have also been working together to help the fire crew youth learn about service and public relations — the parade is the latest example.