LAFCRD Youth Fire Cadet Program Prepares Young Adults for Future Careers; Former Cadet Shares Positive Impact

Submitted By: Katie Heck

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District’s Cadet Post 102 is focused on preparing young adults for a successful future in –and out – of professional firefighting. However, the Post Advisors do have a special focus; encouraging future professional firefighters to stay local and serve their hometown. Now, almost two years after re-launching the Fire Cadet Post after COVID, they are celebrating their first Cadet-turned-Firefighter for the District.

The District hired Firefighter/EMT Nate Luders, a graduate of Riverdale High School and member of the Cadet Post program, in August. Only a few months into his yearlong probation with the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District, Firefighter/EMT Nate Luders is ahead of most 19-year-olds when it comes to choosing and entering a career field. He says he owes a lot of his success to his involvement with Cadet Post 102, the District’s Youth Fire Cadet Program.

“I don’t have any family involved in the fire service, but it is something I have always been interested in,” Firefighter/EMT Luders said. “The Fire Cadet Program gave me a head start in my academic programs and hands-on experience related to both fire and EMS calls. The mentorship was invaluable as it came time to apply, and then interview, for the job.”

The Cadet Post Advisors are excited to see the Cadet Program flourishing in its second year. While the focus is on the vocational study of professional firefighting, the program is also open to youth who may not be interested in firefighting as a career. Cadets will build many different skill sets throughout their tenure in the program, building a solid foundation for a successful future in any field. Pride, commitment, courage, leadership, teamwork, integrity, and self-discipline are applicable and useful life skills to develop for many professions.

“Our Fire Cadet Program will offer youth and young adults an opportunity to experience life as a firefighter and learn about our team,” stated Chief DiLallo. “The program has many benefits, but most importantly gives cadets a feeling for what it’s like to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Ideally, some cadets will choose to remain here and serve their community.”

The program is open to participants between the ages of 14 and 20 years old, with meetings occurring weekly. Application information is available on our website:

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