Day camp to equip young people with disaster recovery skillsA new training camp for young people whose families were affected by the 2012 flooding operates on the premise that equipping them with skills and information to deal with emergency events in the future will help move through the challenges they’re facing right now.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The old idiom about “fighting fire with fire” may never be truer than when it comes to recovering from a natural disaster.
A new training camp for young people whose families were affected by the 2012 flooding operates on the premise that equipping them with skills and information to deal with emergency events in the future will help move through the challenges they’re facing right now.
The Triple “R” Disaster Training Camp (“Relief-Restore-Rebuild”) is set for Monday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Covenant Park Bible Camp in Mahtowa. Young people between the ages of 11 and 16 from throughout the region are encouraged to register for the session with an eye toward gaining the sort of key information that will help develop a proactive approach toward recovery.
“We feel by giving them knowledge of what disasters are, how public service agencies such as ambulance, fire and police prepare, and how they, themselves, can be prepared as well will fill them with the sort of confidence it takes to overcome the fears they have endured, and may continue to endure,” said Candy Leopold, state advisor for the Minnesota Student Organization for Future Health Professionals (MN HOSA, a certified unit of the Medical Reserve Corps which utilizes student volunteers statewide).
This is the first camp of its kind in the state of Minnesota, and it started through a partnership between MN HOSA and the Minnesota Department Health Office of Emergency Preparedness that began two years ago. Leopold said the model for the training camp was built around a number of concepts, including the goals of the MN HOSA unit, which are to “Prepare, Teach, Respond and Recover.” It also incorporates curriculum established by the Department of Health Office of Emergency Preparedness referred to as DRAT! (Disaster Readiness Action for Teens).
“We hope to reach out to youth who may have been affected by the floods or have friends or family who endured the disaster,” said Leopold. “Our goal is to let them speak about it, learn about disasters and how to prepare in their homes, schools and communities, and then reach out with their knowledge and skills to teach others.”
The agenda for the day-long session includes CPR/first aid, DRAT! and psychological first aid training, team building/leadership in emergency situations, and an introduction to careers in emergency preparedness.
Each participant will leave the camp with certificates in all areas completed, as well as a DRAT! Disaster backpack which will be filled with the start of an emergency preparedness kit.
The sponsoring groups are working with both Mercy Hospital of Moose Lake and Lake Superior College for help with supplying staff from teaching career areas as well as needed items for the camp.
Dawn Moffett, education coordinator at Mercy Hospital, teaches a health careers class at the hospital for area high school students and HOSA members. She will have some of her students assisting with the disaster training camp, as will Kim Olson, health science/HOSA teacher from the Duluth area.
The staff at the day camp will also include two CPR/first aid instructors and two to three health science/HOSA teachers. Personnel from area fire department, ambulance, police and other emergency response teams are also expected to participate.
“This will be a hands-on learning day with a lot of activities, geared toward the outcome of a well prepared group of kids who will feel confident to go home to teach their parents, grandparents, friends and the community,” Leopold summed up.
The day camp is limited to the first 100 participants to register, and though there is no cost to sign up, young people are encouraged to bring one non-perishable food item for local food shelves. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 20. Registrations should be sent to: MN HOSA MRC, 8553 Chanhassen Hills Dr. S., Chanhassen, MN 55317, or faxed to 952-960-0093, and should include name, address, home phone, cell phone, email address and a parent signature.
Camp participants are encouraged to wear appropriate clothing for outdoors and weather. Snacks and lunch will be provided.
For more information, contact Leopold at email@example.com.