SANTA MARIA, Calif. - For the next four days, Central Coast teens are learning what a day in the life of a Santa Maria firefighter is like.
It's all part of a four-day Junior and Teen Firefighter Camp where kids get hands-on experience. "People had Superman and Spiderman when they were my age I had firefighters,” said Abraham Villanueva.
Villanueva has always seen firefighters as heroes. For him, becoming one is a dream he hopes to one day make a reality. "I saw a fireman run into this house with a hose and I thought they were Superman,” he said.
His admiration with the career started at just 10 years old after he saw firefighters help knock down a fire on this block. "I love it, it’s truly an amazing experience here with all of the firefighters,” he said as he described his experience at the camp.
He has been coming to firefighter camp in Santa Maria for the last four years. Here, he gets to work with the people he looks up to. "Two things I am looking forward to is the search and rescue when we look for the dummy and repelling is fun,” said Villanueva. He and dozens of other kids get hands-on experience at the camp.
"They are learning something hopefully they can use in their daily life and it keeps them out of trouble,” said Matt Luis, an engineer with the Santa Maria Fire Department. He said this is the second year the station puts on this teen camp.
"I live right across from the Pismo Beach Fire Department and I wanted to know more,” says Merrik Brown.
Living across from a fire station has inspired kids like Brown to come learn with Santa Maria firefighters.
The teen camp is for kids 13 to 17 years old who get to experience a day in the life of a firefighter.
"In the academy "I'll come with more than if I was not in these programs and have a more can-do attitude,” said Villanueva.
Firefighters say this camp is structured like real fire academy. For the next four day, Villanueva says he’s taking advantage of all of the things he can learn here.
For kids on the fence about joining the camp next year, he says, “to the people at home afraid to join this, don’t be afraid, it’s a lot of fun.”
Junior and Teen Fire Camp is put on once a year.