SEATTLE, Wash. -- Cayman Kirkhart, of Hayden, Idaho, has been selected by FEMA to serve on its first Youth Preparedness Council.
FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for a select group of youth leaders to voice their opinions, experiences, ideas and solutions to help strengthen the nation’s resiliency for all types of disasters. Council members have demonstrated a willingness to represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and pledge to take information back to their communities to share it.
“Engaging youth is an integral step in preparing the nation for all hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Youth have a unique ability to influence their peers and families to be more resilient, and children play an important role in disaster preparedness, during and after a crisis.”
For his Eagle Scout leadership project, Cayman designed, planned, organized, and publicized “Be Prepared Day,” a community-wide disaster preparedness event that featured a series of classes and demonstrations to educate families about disaster preparedness. This 4-hour event required nearly seven months of planning and coordination with personnel from 13 organizations, including local fire, rescue, and police units; the American Red Cross; the National Guard; the Coast Guard Auxiliary; the Health Department; and the Office of Emergency Management. “Be Prepared Day” was featured in the March issue of Boy’s Life.
The Youth Preparedness Council is comprised of 13 diverse leaders, 13 – 17 years of age, from across FEMA’s ten regions, who are:
Dedicated to public service; Making a difference in their community; and Expanding their impact as a national advocate for youth preparedness.
This year’s council members will have the opportunity to participate in a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington, D.C., where they will advise and ask questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of national organizations working on this critical priority. It is also expected that members will meet with FEMA on a quarterly basis via conference call or webinar and provide ongoing input on strategies and initiatives. Council members are eligible to serve on the Council for two years.
Children comprise approximately 25 percent of our nation’s population and are the future of our communities. They can play an important role in disaster preparedness, and all have the unique ability to help their communities be safer, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster or emergency event.
Youth have proven to be positive influencers, leaders, and first responders to their families, peers, and neighbors when they take the preparedness message home. The Youth Preparedness Council will provide a venue to engage an often overlooked population and take into account their perspectives, feedback, and opinions.
To learn more about FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts please visit: /www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/youth/youthindex.shtm.