By Frank E. Vaerewyck
It is often said that the future is in our youth, and this statement is particularly true in the Fire Service. Little kids love firefighters, and most want to be one from a young age. As we grow older, other things tend to get in the way, like sports, academics, friends, relationships, and such.
Scouting has become a cornerstone of growing up in America, and we all know someone who is involved with either Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts. The cookies that Girl Scouts use as an annual fund raiser have become an international sensation. From these organizations have sprouted other interest-based programs like Sea Scouts, a specialized program organized to address a youth member’s boating skills and promote knowledge of our maritime heritage, and Fire Explorer, a hands-on career-based program of Learning for Life. The program is open to young men and women ages 14 (and completed the 8th grade) to 20 years old with an interest in learning more about a career in the field of Fire & Emergency Services.
I was recently asked to join a local Fire Explorers Post as an Advisor, and after some research and thought, I realized what a great opportunity this is for young people and how incredibly important programs like these are to the future of the Fire Service. Programs like these help in developing young people who have the desire to serve their communities with pride and the skills needed to do so. Advisors assist youth in developing leadership skills, respect for firefighters and the fire service, new personal skills, emergency protocols, volunteer opportunities, team building skills and learning proper equipment usage and care. The future of the fire service is these young people, and programs like these secure that future – and “That’s Bringing the Firehouse Home!”
Firehouse-Friendly No Bake Thin Mints
Makes 15 cookies
15 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
8 oz Baker’s Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate (8 squares)
1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract (or oil) (Do not use flavoring; it may contain water that will cause problems with your chocolate)
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces
3. Place chopped chocolate into a small microwave safe glass measuring
cup. Measuring cups are a good shape for dipping the cookies later. (For best results, do not use water or moisture to assist in melting the chocolate.)
4. Microwave on high for 60 seconds, stir and microwave again 15 seconds, stir and microwave again 15 seconds until most of the chocolate is melted. Remaining lumps will melt as you stir. Don’t overheat the chocolate.
5. Stir in 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract to taste.
6. Using a fork, dip the cookies very gently in the chocolate to coat on both sides. Let the excess chocolate drip off before setting the cookies on the parchment or waxed paper baking sheet. (Be careful! These wafers can be brittle and may break whilst dipping. If they do, lay the wafer on the fork and dip or drizzle the chocolate over the wafer without dipping it.
7. Let set at room temperature, and then store in the refrigerator. ENJOY!