The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partners with Naselle Youth Camp (NYC) to provide firefighting training and job skills to youth in residence. During this very difficult fire season, a crew of 10 residents was dispatched from the facility to assist with the Evans Canyon fire in Central Washington. Each day, the crew worked tirelessly to prepare 1,000 – 1,200 lunches for firefighters on the front lines. Over six days, these youth made approximately 4,000 meals, all while meeting basic food preparation standards and COVID-19 requirements. Many of the firefighters expressed their appreciation for the crew’s efforts. The DNR Foreman told DCYF he “heard nothing but compliments from everybody about the lunches the youth made.”
Soon after assisting with that fire, another crew assembled to help at the Bay Center fire near the facility. The following week, youth headed to Shoalwater Bay to help put out residual “hot spots” from a beach fire that threatened a nearby highway.
The spirit of this partnership and vocational program is about developing skill sets for young men, preparing them for re-entry to their communities and positioning them for employment opportunities. The facility continues to hear from former DNR/NYC residents who have secured positions working in forestry and firefighting programs. Recently, staff learned of two former residents who are currently fighting fires in California on the front lines.
There is no greater reward than to see this outcome. This is evidence of a partnership, program and collective effort that truly pays off for youth in our care. Please join us in thanking the youth and staff at NYC for helping to protect our environment and communities during this fire season.