In July, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) hosted its annual Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) summit.
ICPD brought together 15 national Youth Preparedness Council (YPC) young leaders from across the nation who are interested in supporting disaster preparedness. This year, 10 new members were selected from the largest pool of applicants FEMA has seen yet. They join five returning members on the Council as well as several mentors. While on the council, members contribute based on their wide range of backgrounds and interests, such as pet preparedness or climate change, all while holding a common ambition: preparing their families, peers, schools, and communities to be resilient in the face of disasters.
The theme of this year’s summit was “Equity into Everything,” with sessions that covered topics including accessibility, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the power of media and storytelling.
Among numerous notable speakers, council members had the honor of being joined at the summit by the Second Gentleman of the United States, Douglas Emhoff. Mr. Emhoff praised the YPC members for their dedication to community disaster preparedness and engaged the members in a question and answer session.
Congresswoman Dina Titus, who chairs the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management as part of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure also joined the summit. Congresswoman Titus discussed the intersection of emergency management and the legislative branch, and also answered member questions.
Many of the new and returning members hope to pursue careers and leadership opportunities related to their passion for preparedness. One career panel session, entitled “A Day in the Life of a FEMA Employee,” featured four FEMA leaders and was one of many other highlights of the summit. The panel members shared their own experiences during steady state operations and deployments while also providing advice and guidance to help the young leaders chart their own courses.
Throughout the summit, members also learned about skills necessary to strengthen preparedness across the country. They also began planning their own projects to host back home and learned about the many free preparedness resources FEMA offers to help them get started.
The youth leaders that make up this year’s national YPC, along with past council and Regional members, are the future of disaster preparedness and emergency management. Their unique viewpoints and the work they have already done assures that they are up for the challenge in building a culture of resilience. By working with them and other like-minded young people, FEMA can empower the next generation of emergency managers.
The 2021-2022 YPC program year will be an exciting one! We can’t wait to share more about these inspiring young leaders in the coming months.
The next application cycle will open in early 2022. Teens in the eighth through 11th grades may apply online at https://community.fema.gov/applytoYPC .
Learn more about the YPC at Ready.gov/kids and join us in congratulating the new and returning members as they embark on an exciting year to come.
This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here
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