LORDS VALLEY - Before summer concluded, a group of teens learned there is more to 4H then nature and farming. At the Pike County Training Center in August, through the Pennsylvania 4-H in collaboration with first responders from the area there was a mini-day camp to educate the youth about emergency services.

This was the first camp for emergency services at the training center, where children learned about law enforcement, emergency medical services from those who are in the field. Angelia Smith a 4H Extension Educator for Pike County said the staff of the center were “super awesome” as they showed the children everything they need to know with the equipment. Now, the 4-H would like to make the program an annual event said Smith.

While some link 4H with farming, Smith said that is a “common misconception” because thee is more to 4H then livestock and county fairs, although it is still a part of it. But, the reality is that, “society has evolved” especially since agriculture isn’t in the area like it once was. Instead, there are is an offering of various interests that revolve around life that include citizenship, leadership, science, wildlife, archery, shooting sports and more because this is “much more to 4H then livestock and county fairs” said Smith.

Big variety in 4H

There were 15 children who participated in the minicamp, 12 who were regular 4H members. Others joined to take part in the babysitter training, horsemanship lessons, cooking, plus some. The programs, Smith said are “wide spread” with the clubs meeting throughout the region, whether the archery club meeting at an archery in the area or the cooking club meeting in Matamoras and Dingmans Ferry said the activities are spread throughout the county.

Overall, at the end of summer Smith said 97 children were enrolled in the 4H for the programs, clubs and events. But, there are also school enrichment programs for students in the Delaware Valley District, which means the “special interest programming” occurs throughout the year that is open to community members as well, not just 4H members.

8 to 18

4H, Smith said traditional 4H members range is 8 years to 18 and is about “the head, heart, hands and health” to provide educational programming, while also promoting healthy lifestyle and development empathy, citizenship and leadership skills.

After riding on a fire truck at the center, 4H member, 12-year-old Olivia Rowehl said the ride was “exciting” since it felt like a rollercoaster. Rowehl enjoys participating in 4H because it is “open to everyone” as well as the many activities to participate in. At the Pike County Training Center, Rowehl said she learned that what the first responders do when called is different then what “Hollywood portrays” because it is “harder.” Seeing the demonstrations in person, that gave her a “very different” perspective she said.

“Pretty fun”

Vianna Basctura, age 10 described her ride in the fire truck to be “pretty fun” because, since she rode up front she felt in charge. From the first responders, Basctura learned why its important to carry a first aid kit. The lessons were great because she was learning and they were “fun” since there were games involved. After listening to the first responders, Basctura said she had a different idea of what they do because beforehand, she didn’t realize what they do when called.

Rowehl said the demonstrations gave her a different perspective of emergencies because she saw what happens from the responder’s perspective, through the chain of departments contacted and who’s involved.

Rowehl’s brother, 13-year-old Vincent called the camp “fun” and the program was “educational” because of what he learned about emergency services. One thing he learned was what to put into a first aid kit, because more then band-aids is needed.

After trying to spray a fire hose, Rowehl said the hose was “powerful” because the “gust of wind” pushed her back and that was surprising.

Owen Ruzanski, age 12 said spraying the hose was “fun” since he aimed for the cones and learned how powerful the hose actually was. Quite different then a garden hose, trying the fire hose was “amazing” since he had to take a step back as he aimed for the target. From the camp, Ruzanski said he learned that “you should always be prepared.”

Prepare for any emergency

Tim Knapp, the director of the center said the camp was an opportunity to prepare children for “whatever emergency they might find” while also give them insight so they can get involved in emergency services. The first day of the camp the children met a correction officer from the Pike County Prison who taught them about stranger danger and if they see something suspicious they should report it.

Aside from touring an ambulance and riding in the fire truck, which informed the children of emergency response procedures, they also learned about emergency preparedness Knapp said, so they can prepare at home and create a safety plan with their families. This was the first time for a 4H camp at the center, which went “great” since there were so many youth involved. Knapp said, if just one of the 15 children gets involved that’s a huge success.

Toolbox on wheels

Kyle Rohner showed the children the different equipment that can be found on a fire truck, from the various sized ladders and explained the reasoning for the many sizes, whether needing to get in a window or into an attic. Since there are multiple types of fire trucks, Rohner explained the purposes of the different trucks, such as a tanker is used to put water on a fire, or the ladder truck is to get to the roof of a building, with ladders that are 75 to 105 feet depending on the size of the truck. The rescue truck, he said is, “basically a toolbox on wheels.”

A firefighter, Rohner told the children generally carries 50 to 60 pounds of gear when working and with that, he told them to imagine what it’d be like to operate a hose while carrying their equipment in addition to managing the heat and the fire. Then, there is a misconception Knapp said, that firefighters wear gas masks, when they actually use self-sustained breathing apparatus. Rohner told the children to remember that while firefighters have tools, they are not fireproof and so, they must be aware.

There were many lessons during the camp, one child learning how to stop drop and role if on fire; another to knock a person to the group and smother them with a blanket if that individual was on fire. If a building was on fire, they must get out and then call 911.

For more information about the PennState 4H Extension visit https://extension.psu.edu/programs/4-h/counties/pike .