An outreach program organized by the Arkansas Tech University Department of Emergency Management has earned statewide recognition.
The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) announced that the ATU Department of Emergency Management Youth Preparedness Camp is the 2020 recipient of the ADEM Community Preparedness Award for the northwest region and the statewide winner of the 2020 ADEM Whole Community Award.
Designed for students in grades 9-12, the ATU Youth Preparedness Camp teaches participants about topics such as fire suppression, disaster preparedness, terrorism, search and rescue and disaster medical operations.
“The goal is to make an impact on our communities,” said Bethany Swindell, instructor of emergency management at ATU and director of the ATU Youth Preparedness Camp. “We’re doing it through a grass roots effort with the young people. They’re coming here and learning these vital skills. Hopefully, they’ll take them back and teach their parents or their friends so that our communities will become more resilient.”
Campers have participated in a National Weather Service Skywarn severe weather spotting class, viewed a demonstration of how unmanned aerial vehicles assist in emergency response and participated in community service activities.
Swindell explained that not every student who attends the camp has a goal of entering the workforce in an emergency management capacity.
“We have campers who want to be journalists or veterinarians, but honestly, if you think about it, at the core of all these professions are people who want to help,” said Swindell. “They want to better their communities, make a difference in the world and impact other people. Really, that’s what we’re doing here…enabling them with the skills and tools to be able to do that.”
Learn more about the ATU Department of Emergency Management at www.atu.edu/emergencymanagement.