A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
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2019 Youth Preparedness Council Summit

August 2019

FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) Summit was held July 16-17, 2019.  The American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington D.C. hosted the event.

During the year, YPC members break into three teams to work
together on a project. The teams focus on youth preparedness education, citizen responder programs, and financial preparedness. Members also meet with FEMA personnel to give feedback on strategies and programs.  The YPC Summit is an annual event for YPC members to gather and share their ideas. YPC members serve on the Council for two years.

This year’s Summit was packed with activities. For example, YPC members built leadership skills in the Extreme Event Game. This role-playing game gives participants a taste of what it takes to build community resilience in the face of disaster. The game was developed by the Koshland Science Museum, now LabX. Matthew Marquis, a representative from Fairfax Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and Marjorie Windelberg, the Alexandria Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator, led the session. The YPC members also practiced communication skills through mock radio interviews. Partner organizations such as the American Red Cross, National Fire Protection Association, Safe Kids, Inc., and the Uniformed Services University’s National Center for Disaster Medicine & Public Health briefed YPC members on the important work these organizations do in preparing the Nation.

FEMA leadership also stopped by to show their support. Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor gave a speech. He followed this with a question and answer session. Assistant Administrator Alex Amparo spoke in a closing session. Each YPC member and mentor then received a certificate and posed for a photo with Mr. Amparo.

Returning YPC members also presented their projects from the past year. Each group addressed their own problem statement and developed a solution.

The Youth Preparedness team addressed the statement: Youth in America should be aware of preparedness programs and how to use them. The group promoted the Prepare with Pedro activity book and the Ready 2 Help card game. To do so, they shared the Prepare with Pedro activity book with local agencies. They worked with local schools and made a log of partners. The team also made a video for Ready 2 Help in English and Spanish.

The Citizen Responder team addressed the statement: High school youth should have access to Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs at their school. This group wanted to create a culture of preparedness. They developed a Teen CERT implementation manual.

Finally, the Financial Preparedness team addressed the statement: Youth in America should know how to be financially prepared for a disaster so that they can become more resilient adults. The team educated young adults about financial preparedness. This would help them be financially prepared adults. They could also teach their family. This group also made a video about youth financial preparedness, wrote a briefing on their research, and presented on a webinar.

After many great projects this year, the 2019-2020 YPC cohort has a lot to live up to! Here’s what they’re planning:   
  • The Youth Preparedness team will develop a plan to promote the Ready 2 Helpcard game.
  • The Citizen Responder team will build a plan to promote and sustain an upcoming school-aged trauma training. It is focused on providing immediate lifesaving skills to teenagers and adults.
  • The Financial Preparedness team will help develop graphics and research to promote youth financial preparedness.
Keep an eye out for more to come from the 2019-2020 YPC cohort!

This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here.