Columbia-Richland Fire Department Holds First-Ever Youth Academy

Over the course of two weeks in July, 12 kids from around the Columbia area took part in a Youth Academy hosted by the Columbia-Richland Fire Department. The academy focused on giving area youth an inside look at their fire department while also teaching them valuable, life-saving skills that they can use to aid their communities.

The program concluded with a graduation ceremony held on Friday July 22 where each child received a certificate of completion.

“This is the first time I can remember that we’ve ever done an academy like this for our area kids,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “We hope the ones that took part this summer will not only walk away with a better of understanding of the fire service but also a desire to serve in it. I applaud the members of our staff who worked to build this program and make it fun and engaging for the kids over the last two weeks. Going forward we are aiming to host more academies like this in the years ahead.”

Kids who took part in the CRFD Youth Academy were placed by the Columbia Urban League, which is a multi-service, non-profit agency that promotes financial stability and racial inclusion in our communities. Programs that promote education, youth empowerment and economic and quality of life empowerment are just a few offered by the Urban League.

Columbia Urban League President and CEO James T. McLawhorn as well as Columbia Mayor Daniel J. Rickenmann were on hand for the graduation to offer the kids words of encouragement.

From July 11 through July 22 participants in the academy were at CRFD each weekday for about four hours per day. During that time they took part in discussions that covered the history of the fire department as well as what goes in to daily operations. The kids also received lessons in basic life-saving medical care (i.e. CPR, tourniquet usage) as well as how to use a fire extinguisher. One of the final lessons covered during the academy focused on how to build a resume and apply for jobs.


Congratulations to the Graduates of our First-Ever CRFD Youth Academy!



Parker Benjamin

Sincere Clark

Jayda Graham

Josiah Henryhand

Micah Henryhand

Daniel Jenkins

Ernest Legette

Ryleigh McCree

Jeremiah Nichols

RaQuan Nichols

Amaria Smith

Cole Wilkins