Girl Scouts of Western New York’s Webster-area troops got some hands-on experience with a special First Aid Overnight event at Girl Scout Camp Piperwood in Victor, NY. The overnight event was attended by more than 70 Junior Girl Scouts in 4th and 5th grade.
The event began with a troop leader asking what the girls thought of when they thought of a firefighter. Answers from the crowd included helpful, strong, life saver, hero, and other positive traits. One girl said she thought of a man. A firefighter stepped out from a back room of the camp lodge dressed fully in gear, then removed the mask to reveal herself as Sarah Rosenberry from the Webster Fire Department. The girls were given the opportunity to ask lots of questions and discover how a woman makes an effective firefighter and can bring her own strengths to the job of keeping people safe. Rosenberry is also an elementary music teacher for Webster Central School District.
Abigale Terrana, Girl Scout Troop 63113 Co-Leader and one of the event organizers said, “We wanted to provide an opportunity for our Juniors to be able to get to know each other and to meet strong women in the community’s medical or helping fields. We wanted to break down stereotypes and have a woman who is a teacher and someone that the girls are familiar with. They see her out places and at school, but she can also go into a fire and be strong. Women are in all of these different fields and we wanted to make this a big initiative tied into getting our girls outdoors.”
Afterward, the girls moved through stations. At one station, girls were presented with a poster with various edible-looking items. They had to guess whether each item was food or medicine. The task taught the girls not to assume what looks like candy because it could be incredibly dangerous to ingest without asking an adult first. Another station gave girls the confidence and preparedness to call for help and assist a person until emergency services could arrive. The Girl Scouts also assembled mini first aid kits and discussed what each item in the kit could be used for. They had a chance to practice applying bandages and went over common household injuries and illnesses. Another station talked about bicycle safety and helmet fit. The girls learned about booster seats and how to make sure they fit properly so that a seatbelt didn’t injure them in the event of an accident.
Janelle Campbell, a Girl Scout parent volunteer, stated, “It’s so Important for our girls to learn first aid because we’re camping more and with cuts, scrapes, and sprains all possible, we want them to have some knowledge of it.”
A panel of four local female medical professionals, including a registered nurse, a lifeguard, a pediatrician, and a pharmacist, answered the girls’ questions, such as how they’ve helped the community, what their jobs are like, and how they were trained for their careers. The panel was also presented with scenarios the girls were afraid of experiencing and how to handle each situation. Scenarios included a friend experiencing anaphylaxis due to food allergies, how to stay safe when old enough to be without a babysitter, asthma attacks, and the Heimlich maneuver.
After the panel Q&A, Webster Girl Scout Savannah Riggs told all the girls about her recent experience using her first aid skills. Her grandmother had an accident and injured her hip. Savannah calmly called for emergency services, then attended to her grandmother’s needs including bringing her water and a special trinket to comfort her, while ensuring her younger brother and cousin were safe and stayed indoors so they weren’t upset or in the way.
Riggs said, “I had to stay calm and knew the number one important thing is to call 9-1-1 if someone is hurt. When I helped my grandma, I felt kind of sad, but at the same time I felt proud of myself and brave.”
Terrana added, “So many times our girls are faced with situations where things might get out of control or dangerous and they don’t know what to do. We don’t want them standing there, stuck and scared, when an emergency happens. They’re getting a chance to experience some of these things in a way that’s fun and comfortable so if something happens they can hopefully recall the information and assess what they need to do. We really wanted them to learn the ideas and not rush through it so they can take it in.”
The girls also conducted their own safety audit of camp to talk about potential risks, such as hiking accidents, animal encounters, inclement weather, or other outdoor injury situations. The girls also practiced an emergency evacuation drill. They also learning knot-tying and general camp skills. They also learned the principles of Leave No Trace, which include making sure to leave outdoor places clean and to respect nature and wildlife.
The Girl Scouts wanted to thank the people in their community who work to keep everyone safe. They wrote thank-you cards and notes for the Webster Fire Department and Webster Police Department. They also wrote condolence notes to Girl Scouts from the same area as the three girls and one troop leader killed in the hit-and-run accident in Wisconsin. At the evening flag ceremony, they observed a moment of silence in their honor.
The next morning, the girls were joined by Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts from Kindergarten through 3rd grade who had special first aid lessons of their own. The Webster Service Unit Girl Scouts thanked Giambrone’s Produce, Wegmans Pharmacy, Eastside Pediatrics, Samantha LaRocca from WHEC, Webster Fire Department, the parents who volunteered their time, and anyone else who was involved in making the event possible.
To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York, visit gswny.org.
About Girl Scouts of Western New York
Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) serves nearly 15,000 girls and 7,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council’s administrative service centers are located in Batavia, Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Rochester.
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world and take action to solve problems and improve their communities.