Explorers are young men and women aged 14-21 years old that are affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. The Explorers are special interest posts where members learn and participate in specific life skills. Fire departments or police departments often host them.
Back Row Standing: Associate Advisor Todd Purzycki, Captain James Bellamo, Asst. Chief Douglas Logan, Deputy Chief Frank Seidl, Associate Advisor Jason Landry.
Middle Row: Explorers Robert James, Bhupal Babajiyavar, Adam Dube, Lindsay Godwin, David Cedar, Head Advisor Ray Chaffee.
Front Row: Associate Advisor Robert Johnson, Firefighter Sean Angus, Explorers Catrell Simmons, Jodie Dube, Sarah Chaffee, Erin Chaffee, Associate Advisor Elaine Bates-Jones.
CROMWELL -- A local teen, who takes interest in volunteering for the fire department, has built up the Youth Explorers to what it is today. A group of 11 people, ranging in ages from 14 to 20, spend hours each week assisting and training at the Court Street Fire Station. This group won "Post of the Year" recently from the Learning for Life Division of the Boy Scouts.
Cromwell’s division competed against three police posts for the award, given for the first time last week.
The group helps by volunteering at fund-raising events and providing programs on public awareness for fire safety. After reaching age 16, participants ride on the fire trucks and assist firefighters, by hooking up the hose to the fire hydrant and supplying ladders and other needed tools.
"They train to be firefighters or ambulance [workers] or both," said head advisor for the Explorers Raymond Chaffee.
No agility tests are involved to become a member, but he said a physical and the ability to throw the hose is required. Interested parties can call the fire department at 635-5211.
"It’s a double honor -- not only being the post of the year, but the first post to get it," Chaffee said.
Cromwell Fire Department Post #46 Captain Sarah Chaffee won "Female Explorer of the Year" for her hard work and dedication. She is also a firefighter and medical response technician. She attends Central Connecticut State University and works part time at Middlesex Family Physicians as a patient care technician.
"It’s a place to go and something to do and [allows] you to help others," said the 19 year old, who joined when she was 15.
Her father credits her with getting more members involved. Another daughter, Erin, is also a member.
"I had been doing it for over 30 years," he said. "She’s always followed Dad."
©The Middletown Press 2001