Do you always have a plan when things go wrong? Do you have ideas about how to better prepare our nation for disasters? If so, we have a great opportunity for you!
FEMA is looking for young leaders across the country to be part of its Youth Preparedness Council.
Created in 2012, the council brings together students in grades 8 through 11 that are interested in supporting disaster preparedness and making a difference in their communities.
Members of the council work on projects that help increase preparedness in their communities. They share their opinions, experiences, ideas and solutions with FEMA leadership, and participate in the annual Youth Preparedness Council summit.
We spoke to three members of the current council to find out more about their experiences.
What is the most rewarding part of serving on the council?
Personally, seeing the direct impact I can make on my community is extremely rewarding. I am glad to know that hundreds of teens and their families around the world are more prepared to handle a disaster based on the preparedness workshops I co-hosted for Microsoft as well as internationally to other youth. Seeing this community engagement grow over my three years on the regional and national councils has been super rewarding, and motivates me to do more for the council. Whenever I see news about disasters happening around in the world, I feel grateful for all the knowledge I gained from the council and for the opportunity to help others be more prepared to handle the disasters in the future.
What advice do you have for the next council?
When working on a team, collaboration and communication are key! If you plan by setting goals for yourself and your teammates, things will run a lot more smoothly. Make sure to stay organized and manage your time wisely to keep on top of schoolwork, extracurriculars and being part of the council. Don’t be afraid to share ideas you may have and reach out to your team members. Try to get to know your teammates — it’s a lot easier to tap into your creativity and come up with ideas together when you are part of a friendly and supportive environment. After the YPC Summit, my team members and I connected over our other shared interests and passions, and I know that we have forged lifelong friendships along the way. Also, make sure to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that come from being on the council! Get involved as much as you can — attend webinars, participate in product feedback sessions, and more. This will make your experience even more fulfilling.
What has been your favorite part of serving on the council?
I’ve loved every minute of being a council member — it is an honor to rep Region 1! The best part so far has definitely been our friends on the council and at FEMA, and the summit. I’ve grown very close with my group, Team Access — it is very exciting to have friends from all over the States who are compassionate, creative, and just as interested in preparedness as I am! We also had the opportunity to meet many incredible civil servants at the national FEMA YPC summit; for example, I really loved getting to meet Congresswoman Titus and learning about the Congressional Appropriations Committee and getting a glimpse into daily life for our mentors at FEMA ICPD, such as Director Levy.
To apply for the Youth Preparedness council, visit FEMA.gov/ypc.