Professional Growth Opportunities

The American Red Cross is an incredible organization with an extraordinary amount of positions for growth within its own structure. The organization is built to create its own leaders and the National Youth Council has taken it upon ourselves to make sure that you are aware of all of these amazing opportunities.

My favorite way in which the National Youth Council informs our youth population of the positions is through our trainings and events. This last year I was tasked with coordinating the efforts and leading a planning team of youth volunteers for two National Youth Institutes, one in Albany, New York, and the other in Portland, Oregon. These two institutes were the perfect platforms upon which we can train our youth to see the opportunities that lie before and ahead of them. What I mean by that is you can be a youth who attends a monthly Red Cross Club meeting and goes to service projects, and you can grow into a youth who sees the vast array of avenues you could take within the Red Cross that are not youth specific.

At each National Youth Institute, along with running some incredible leadership training, we exposed youth around the country to opportunities within Red Cross lines of business. We engaged youth in an open dialogue on how they can be involved in disaster services and that working with Biomedical Services is another great opportunity to serve. We taught youth that they can be involved in every line of business now, and 20 years down the road.

For example, volunteering now as a case worker for a single family fire might just convince you that you want to take the extra classes and be able to respond to the Hurricane Rita and Wilma’s of the future, maybe even become a director of disaster services for a chapter. As for myself and my fellow National Youth Council members, we are convinced that within the Red Cross there is a line of business that every youth in America could find meaning in volunteering with.

The National Youth Council however does not go it alone when it comes to informing other youth of opportunities that lie within the American Red Cross. In fact, the National Youth Institute in Albany was a partnership with the Service Area 6 Youth Council whose goal of educating and uniting the American Red Cross youth was perfectly aligned with the National Youth Council goal. We look forward to partnering with field units to help train and push our youth to take the opportunities presented to them. Katie Soe, a Service Area Resource Council Member for the Pacific Service Area, and youth have been linking together nearby chapters with youth programs so that they might share and spread ideas. Her idea of having a Youth Consortium in which multiple chapter’s youth contingencies get together to receive trainings and spread ideas has grown tremendously in California. She has now successfully run one-day Youth Consortiums in both Northern and Southern California and National Youth Council Members were by her side at both. Working together we were able to educate many youth about the opportunities that lied within their chapter, at the Service Area level and at the national level. These are just a couple of many examples we have all across the country.

Having this said, we cannot reiterate enough that the National Youth Council is committed to fostering the growth of our youth volunteer base throughout the nation. We aim to educate our youth volunteer force that they are the leaders of today as well as tomorrow. We want each and every youth volunteer absolutely overwhelmed by the endless possibilities they have within this organization. So if you ever hear a youth volunteer tell you that there is just nothing else I can do within the Red Cross, first, try not to laugh, and second, send them my way.

Pat West, California
[email protected]

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