Camp Red Cross
This summer, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a counselor at my local chapter’s first youth camp. It was targeted for children of a certain income bracket to learn important skills such as water and fire safety.
The camp had been in the works for about a year, and we had almost 100 kids sign up for the 3 sessions. I personally had never had the opportunity to go to a summer camp, let alone be a counselor. I really didn’t know what to expect.
To my surprise, the kids were so easily able to open up to us. The first icebreaker dispelled any initial nerves. By no time, they were braiding our hair and telling us the gossip from their schools.
I got to teach a Red Cross leader-led program about water safety called WHALE tales, where I taught them about how to be safe at the pool or beach. We also did the Pillowcase Project, Scrubby Buddy, and many other safety-related lessons. The kids were really involved, answering questions and participating in skits whenever they got the chance. It was so incredible to see their desire to be so engaged, and I feel like I learned just as much from them as they did from us.
Throughout the week, we worked together on short skits related to one of the 5 major Red Cross lines of service. Some acted out what to do in the case of a house fire, some did how to respond to finding a wounded dog. Watching them bring together everything they learned that week was incredible. Within the span of a week, I had gotten so close to the kids that it was hard to part ways. The skills they learned will stay with them for years, someday potentially saving someone’s life. It’s important for all children to be trained in fire/water safety and first aid, especially at such a young age. Who knows when it could come in use?
– Swati Guin, National Youth Council Member