Fire starters catch on as popular seller

Bethesda offers an easy way to light your campfire.

We all know the feeling: you are crouched over a pile of kindling as you desperately try get a fire started to make s’mores, and you just can’t get the fire going. Did you know there is a product you can purchase for only three dollars to light your campfires with ease while you also support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

People Bethesda supports at the Employment & Community Life Center in Watertown, Wisconsin, have been making fire starters as part of their day programs since 2000. At the Employment Center, people Bethesda supports develop job skills that help them achieve employment goals they have set for themselves.

“The programs Bethesda provides give each person a sense of self-worth,” said Donna Winter, Area Director. “Working at the center provides a meaningful day, builds their confidence and helps with socialization skills.”

Staff at the center also create adaptive equipment for people with developmental disabilities who need assistance in order to be successful at their job. Scott Williams, pictured above, has worked at the center since 2008 and uses adaptive equipment that holds the cups up as he makes fire starters.

The fire starters are made out of paper cups, recycled shredded paper and wax. They are easy to light and contain no wick, so campers just need to light a match, set the cup on fire and voilà—a campfire!

The Employment & Community Life Center in Watertown is where fire starters are manufactured and distributed. The creation of fire starters began in 2000 and only 20 bags were sold that year.  In 2015 they sold 5,561 bags. The fire starter’s popularity has caused them to be made and sold year round.

They are sold by the case which contains 24 bags. They can be found at select Bethesda Thrift Shops and various campgrounds.

Light your fire and support Bethesda’s mission.To learn more about employment supports services, day programs and job skills training at Bethesda, check out our services page.

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