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Teens learn about what firefighters do on the job

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Teens learn about what firefighters do on the job

Manteca Junior Ambassadors and Manteca High seniors Monica Gonzales, Gabriella Pinedo and Yvonne Valenzuela head up a hole line under the direction of Manteca Fire Capt. David Marques.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED February 4, 2010 1:48 a.m.
The Manteca Junior Ambassadors – all high school seniors – experienced a taste of being a firefighter in the community on Tuesday at the Powers Avenue fire station.

Twelve days during the year the students get an orientation first hand on the workings of the community as part of the year-long leadership program conducted by the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

This week they were put through some of the paces firefighters face on a daily basis from going up on the 100-foot ladder truck, to laying a fire line and finally using the Jaws of Life to take a vehicle apart that had theoretically been in a traffic accident.

Manteca Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Moorhead led the group of some 20 students throughout – one of only two sessions not held on a weekend.  

“We are letting the kids know what’s out there and to see what is happening in our community – to see what our leaders are doing and to learn what it is like to go to a city council meeting.  It lets them know about business and to learn about water and water resources,” she said.

As for interfacing with the fire department, it gives the students a better understanding of what is to be a fire fighter, to see all the things they do and what is required to actually be a firefighter, she explained.  This includes going up on the 100-foot ladder and being part of a three-member hose team.

Four Manteca firemen led the students through the day’s activities that included using the Jaws of Life as they would be rescuing motorists trapped in a motor vehicle.  They were even treated to a noon time lunch cooked by the firefighters.

The Junior Ambassador Program is open to students ages 13 to 18.  Moorhead said she has gone to schools and youth church groups talking about the values of the program and searching out interested teens.  The chamber of commerce executive said there are 33 students currently in the educational youth program from Sierra, Manteca, East Union high schools and from Manteca Christian School.  She noted she has also had eighth graders participating from George McParland Elementary School.

In March the ambassadors are going to have their “media” month when they will meet with TV commentator Allen Sanchez.  They have been to the Venture Up Academy at the San Joaquin County Office of Education where they experienced new physical challenges including climbing telephone poles.
In November they were i
nvolved in a day of activities at Doctors Hospital of Manteca and in December they went to a Manteca City Council session at city hall.  In January the day was spent at Delicato Winery on Highway 99 at French Camp Road.

April is going to see the ambassadors learning about water and water resources at the South San Joaquin Irrigation District followed in May by an indoctrination of what assisted living is all about in a senior citizens operation.  They will be going to The Commons at Union Ranch on Union Road at Lathrop Road. 
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