Soledad Holguin of the Bureau of Indian Affairs wrestles Smokey’s shovel from a Camp Smokey visitor.
What a delightful experience I had to observe Camp Smokey at the California State Fair in Sacramento. I was invited to observe the young adult volunteers and interns for the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs teach the fire prevention message to children of adults who told me they had participated as children. Each child was issued a passport which was stamped inside of delightfully decorated mini buildings located in the “forested area” inside of the state fairgrounds. They learned about campfire safety, Firewise landscaping, stop drop and roll, and Smokey’s five rules. Over 14,000 children’s passports were issued last year.
The children squealed with delight when Cal Fire, fire personnel rang the bells at the mini fire station, announcing puppet show. The children and parents sat in a campground like setting, entertained by the enthusiastic young ambassadors for Camp Smokey. Through songs and delightful puppet-infused stories reinforced all critical elements of the classrooms. The children and their parents, laughed, stamped their feet and shouted out all of the correct answers. What a delightful way to get the Fire prevention message out there! The parents who had attended as children were telling me that they learned lessons at Camp Smokey that lasted a lifetime!
Firewise was there at Camp Smokey thanks to efforts from members of the firewise/NFPA team! NFPA’s Public Education Division provided first nations materials “Remembering When” that were seen in the Bureau of Indian Affairs little red schoolhouse. Firewise Community’s newest video featuring Jack Cohen and Gary Marshall the Firewise advisor for the Northwest (Examining Home Destruction in the Wildland/Urban Interface) and (Wildfire Preventing Home Ignition) were steamed continuously through the television in the tree that tired parents were watching as they waited for children to learn their lessons in each building. Look on our website for your free copy of these DVD’s on our online NFPA Firewise Catalog!
If you are interested in helping with Camp Smokey next year, contact Soledad Holguin Bureau of Indian Affairs at Soledad.Holguin@bia.gov Remember you can make a difference in the outcome of the survivability in the event of wildfire!