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Not your average day at camp

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CARTHAGE — Carthage Area Hospital hosted the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization annual Medical Academy of Science and Health camp July 8 to 10 with a few changes from previous years.

“We did a decontamination camp at Carthage that was pretty neat. It allowed students to see protocol if there was any chemical emergency at the hospital,” said program (director) Yvonne Pearson.

Students wore biohazard suits while others volunteered to get wet, as if they were being decontaminated. Additionally, pilot Dick Eddington, flight nurse Kyle Williams and flight paramedic Mark Tuttle from Life Net of New York were on site in the camp’s final day to discuss air operations.

“They talked about their careers and what they do,” said Ms. Pearson. “Students were able to sit in the helicopter and look at the equipment.”

Three-day camps are held at several hospitals in the tri-county region over the summer. CAH began hosting the camp in 2008.

The camp was originally established by Northern New York Rural Healthcare Alliance. Last year, the program was turned over to FDRHPO.

“[NNYRHA] asked us to take it over. We already do job shadow opportunities with high school and college students and we can provide guidance with students and pipeline them through the program,” said Ms. Pearson.

The camp saw 10 participants and had students from grades eight through 12.

The majority of participants were from Carthage Middle and High Schools, with other students from South Lewis, South Jefferson and Immaculate Heart Central.

“We allow students to see work in a hospital setting. They were able to shadow the operating room, emergency room, anesthesia, physical therapy, radiology and Air Methods. It was a tour for kids to see what they like,” said Ms. Pearson.

Students were also CPR certified and practiced using IVs on mannequins.

On average, CAH can accommodate up to 10 students, and all must be selected pending an approved application and successful interview in April.

“They have to write a 250-word essay demonstrating why we should pick them for MASH camp and their interest level ... We want to see that the dedication is actually there,” said Ms. Pearson.

Students are also asked to have a grade point average of 75 or higher, and submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor.

Although camps are full for the summer, students can begin seeking additional information about the February, 2015 session. For more information, visit www.fdrhpo.org.

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