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Youth Camp Focuses On Emergency Preps

Updated: Monday, June 23 2014, 10:07 PM CDT

It seemed nothing ever happened in nearby Jarrell until an F5 tornado flattened the town in 1997. The twister caught many people unprepared. Right now, a special summer camp at Texas State University hopes to keep that from happening again.

Anthony Ortega is a high school student from Houston attending the Youth Preparedness Camp. He says, "Let's say there's a natural disaster. You can't be panicking or you end up getting squished or anything could happen," adding, "It's really important to be prepared."  

Classmate Yancey Elguezabal chimes in, "Being here is a great opportunity to learn something new just in case any of that happens. You know what to do. You know the next step."

The Youth Preparedness Camp is no day at the beach. It's actually part of the state's official disaster plan.  

Joe McKenna, the state's youth preparedness coordinator says, "We're tasked with the governor's homeland security strategic plan to provide citizen corps programs to schools."  

And that means the camp empowers young people to help first responders in the event of an emergency at school or out in the community. It also gives them life-saving leadership skills.  

High school senior Christopher Chatman explains it this way, "I want to be the person who can either lead people away from the danger or keep control of things so they won't be as frightened."

The campers have a busy week ahead, but it doesn't end here. They'll be going home with a project to carry out to spread the word in their school and communities about the importance of 'preparedness.'

By Fred Cantu

Youth Camp Focuses On Emergency Preps

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