Jul. 15, 2013

RYSAG Campers to Receive CERT Training


Students and counselors from the Rochester Young Scholars Academy camp at SUNY Geneseo participate in "ice-breaker" activities on the first day of the two-week camp.

GENESEO, N.Y. – Zombies will be lurking on the SUNY Geneseo campus July 15 – 26 as rising fifth- through 11th-grade students from the Rochester City School District receive community emergency response team (CERT) training during the college's annual Rochester Young Scholars Academy camp (RYSAG). Program leaders are capitalizing on the current prevalence of zombies in popular culture to complement the training.

CERT programs prepare citizens in emergency and disaster preparedness skills so they are able to assist professional responders during an actual event in situations where first responders become overwhelmed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supports CERT programs across the country, including a program for teens. During the two-week camp, the 80 students will learn such skills as reducing fire hazards in the home and workplace; using fire extinguishers to put out small fires; and applying basic first aid.

CERT trainers will be working with the students during the day while SUNY Geneseo faculty members expose them to college skills in chemistry, research techniques and interpersonal communication skills to help connect their classroom experience to the CERT training.

"CERT training is a perfect fit for our informal STEM camp and our 'other world' space," said Susan Norman, camp director and director of Geneseo's Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education. "On the academic side, it teaches our campers to become better observers, to analyze and deconstruct complex problems, and to find real solutions with few resources. On the personal development side, these exercises tend to increase children's self-confidence, to successfully deal with all manner of conflicts as they anticipate and respond successfully to difficult situations by demonstrating their unique capabilities and strengths."

Also attending the camp are special English-language-learning friends from the Maplewood area of Rochester. The local librarians from Maplewood have worked diligently with the student to ensure their involvement in the camp activities. Their participation is made possible by a Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation grant to the Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association, which is helping the students acquire pre-collegiate experiences.

Additional funding for the camp is being provided by the Rochester City School District, Xerox Corp. and SUNY Geneseo.

The camp will culminate July 26 at the Scottsville Academy fire training department, where the students will demonstrate their CERT skills by evacuating a mock burning-building and rescuing survivors.

That will be followed by a graduation ceremony at the academy where the students will receive their CERT training diplomas.

The RYSAG program continues during the school year through a Saturday school program at the Rochester Public Library, where Geneseo education students tutor and mentor RYSAG students involved in the summer camp.

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