"This program builds a better person. It prepares young people for life and helps them deal with the challenges that the future offers them. It also teaches them dependability, loyalty and how to depend on each other," said Frank Correggio, Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services public information officer.
Correggio has other plans for the Explorers, including field trips to the Florida State Fire College in Ocala and the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
Explorer Christopher La Porta is already on the Community Emergency Response Team or CERT in Boca Raton.
"I want to pursue a career as a firefighter. I have a godfather who works as a firefighter paramedic for Boca Raton," said La Porta, 16, a Boca Raton High School sophomore who attended the meeting with his mother Caryn La Porta.
Funds for the Explorer program were budgeted through the fire department, but students must pay for their shoes and nametag. For field trips and expenses, Correggio is hoping that parents and students will help raise money.
"We're hoping to raise funds by having car washes, barbecues and spaghetti dinners. We're also hoping to get donations from local businesses and organizations for activities and training costs. The more money we raise, the more extracurricular activities we can do," Correggio said.