News release: High school students get hands-on training in emergency medical response at unique camp

News Release
December 10, 2019

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High school students get hands-on training in emergency medical response at unique camp

More than 100 youth from 13 cities to attend camp Dec. 12-14

There are many kinds of youth camps, but how many give you a chance to learn how to care for critically injured victims of a tornado?

More than a hundred high school students from across Minnesota are headed to Camp Ripley Dec. 12-14 to get hands-on experience in that skill and others involved in responding to public health and medical emergencies.

When disaster strikes Minnesota, a group of volunteers made up of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health professionals stands ready to tend to the injured or ill, often providing life-saving measures. To ensure there are enough volunteers to respond to crises in the future, the Minnesota Behavioral Health Medical Reserve Corps partners with the Health Occupations Students of America Medical Reserve Corps (HOSA-MRC) each December to host a three-day camp where Minnesota high school students gain practical training and experience in emergency medical response. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota National Guard are also sponsors of the event.

Students will receive intensive, hands-on instruction in first aid, CPR, tactical communications, incident command structure, psychological first aid, medical evacuation by helicopter and other topics of current interest. Instructors come from the ranks of community first responders, National Guard, local public health emergency preparedness and behavioral health professionals, federal response agencies and others.

Each year the camp provides the youth with training on a current disaster or public health emergency. This year, the Region 5 Prevention through Active Community Engagement (PACE) Surgeon General’s Education Team will present a session on e-cigarettes, vaping and opioid use, which continue to be a growing concern among Minnesota adolescents.

“Helping individuals, families and communities deal with the stress and mental shock of disasters and crises is a big part of response and recovery,” said Nancy Carlson, behavioral health coordinator at MDH and camp co-director. “So we expose our students to some of the mental health skills needed to do that.”

Students from previous years say the camp has been instrumental in helping them make career choices and learn valuable life skills.

“MRC Camp was paramount in helping me choose the career I wanted to go into,” said Lauren Trygstad of Lakeville North High School and the HOSA State Office. “Because of the hands-on training I received in emergency preparedness at MRC, I learned that I wanted to become an emergency medicine physician. The skills that MRC Camp teaches you can save lives and help you navigate your future.”

“The camp is one of the most unique and electrifying events in all of Minnesota,” said Dawson Clifton, of Andover High School and 2019-2020 state HOSA president-elect. “It’s a must for any students interested in learning about all things emergency preparedness. Through hands-on certifications, inspiring sessions and fun-filled events, Minnesota HOSA members have the opportunity of a lifetime to explore opportunities related to epidemiology, emergency medicine, National Guard and other related careers.”

The schools represented by attendees and the number of students from each school are:

  • Andover High School - 11
  • Blaine High School - 4
  • Burnsville High School - 6
  • Coon Rapids High School - 7
  • Denfeld/East High School (Duluth) - 24
  • Kasson-Mantorville High School - 9
  • Kasson - Mantorville Middle School - 3
  • Lakeville North High School - 11
  • Red Wing High School - 18
  • Rochester Public Schools - 4
  • Spring Lake Park High School - 4
  • Tech High School (St. Cloud) - 2
  • Zimmerman High School - 4

More information on MRC and HOSA can be found on the HOSA website (link removed from host site).


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications