Teen-centric Programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County

When Zombies Attack

Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County (BGCYC)'s Catawba Teen Center prepared for just about any disaster imaginable this year. With help from York County Environmental Education Liaisons Club members learned how to take shelter during a tornado and also how to prepare for a possible zombie apocalypse. No, we are not kidding. Members imagined the scenario of a zombie apocalypse to think through a number of emergency situations, taking on the roles of "walkers" and "survivors", and developing plans for survival. They learned first aid such as how to bandage and care for wounds, how to splint broken arms, and what goes into a first aid kit. Members also worked with the York County Emergency Management Services who brought their mobile command center to the Club. Teens were learned just how chemical waste is handled, and even practiced using some of the mobile command center’s equipment. To see more fun photos from zombie preparedness and other programs at BGCYC, check out the Club’s facebook page.

Preparing Youth to Confront Catastrophes

Lisa Pratt, BGCYC’s Director of Club Services, spoke about the value of incorporating disaster preparedness programs into Clubs. She says that, yes, it is true that Club members at the Catawba Teen Center are now prepared to respond to emergencies that may occur within the Club, and also know how to avoid emergencies within their own homes. In recent years disasters have occurred across the nation: natural disasters including Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York, and the tornado in Moore, OK; and also the shootings that have taken place in schools like Isla Vista and Sandy Hook. These events were true tragedies. Lisa says that preparedness programs help teens to confront current events that they see in the media and that, “Teens are aware of current events. They need to be able to form opinions about events that have been occurring across the nation and to engage in conversations about them.”

She also added, “In our programs we are always looking for the academic component to span across all areas of programming, and to touch on different subjects that aren’t covered in school.” When youth go over fire and tornado drills in the school environment, it may not be engaging, and it may not feel relevant. Within the Club environment Lisa was able to transform a dry topic into something fun, and to encourage teens to relate disasters to their own lives.

Photo Credit: Jessica Carriker, Summer Marketing Assistant at the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County