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Photo above: Cynthia Tossie (left) and Katie Warner (right) learned about Red Cross services at the first Red Cross Leadership Development Camp.

Developing Future Red Cross Leaders
By Ruth Young

During summer camp one may hike, swim and sing songs around a campfire. However, at the Red Cross Leadership Development Camp (LDC) 30 youth volunteers experienced all of those things and learned professional skills to last a lifetime. The camp focused on the concept of service-learning, volunteering with purpose and reflecting on individual experience.

Camp activities were held at Skycroft Conference Center in Frederick County from July 23-27. Students arrived at chapter headquarters to register for a week of fun, sunshine and learning in the great outdoors.

Brittany Boller (l.) and Courtney Burr (r.)
From Baltimore City to Howard County to Poland, Red Cross youth volunteers attended the camp with one purpose in mind - to learn more about Red Cross services. Emilia Nowakowska and Beata Pikarz traveled 17 hours from Lodz, Poland to attend camp. At 16-years of age, Emilia and Beata volunteer with the Polish Red Cross by teaching first aid and international humanitarian law, helping the elderly, fundraising, and tutoring young students. "We expect to learn something new and exciting and to have a lot of fun," said Beata. They will share with their families and friends all of the information and knowledge that they have learned from LDC. During their 10-day visit to America, chapter board member Jeff Eyring hosted Emilia and Beata. Before attending camp, they shopped, sailed and visited local Baltimore attractions including the aquarium.

The Leadership Development Camp was Kavon Thomas' first experience with the Red Cross. Kavon started out as a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore and now serves as a youth counselor. "My goal is to develop my leadership skills so that I can teach the kids at the club and be a better role model," said Kavon.

Shomari Cromwell, a freshman at Hereford High School in Cockeysville says he wants to learn more about what the Red Cross does. "I like the idea of helping people," says Shomari. The LDC is his first Red Cross experience as well. Last summer Shomari volunteered as a counselor and teacher assistant at Leithwalk Summer Camp. Maxine Ramsahoye, a junior at Franklin High School in Owings Mills, is a Red Cross instructor aide who look forward to learning a lot from the week-long training.

School Chest Redux

As students and teachers return to their classrooms, the American Red Cross hopes to recruit more schools to participate in its School Chest Initiative. Begun last year, the School Chest Initiative was so successful that the Maryland State Department of Education is making it an annual statewide service-learning project.

More than 27,000 Maryland students in schools across the state participated in the project, stocking 175 school chests that were shipped to Kenya. Students gained an awareness of the problems affecting Kenya and surrounding countries, as well as a broader understanding of local and international health, hunger, disaster, and sanitation issues.

The Red Cross produced a 22-minute film showing the distribution of the Maryland school chests in Kenya's Kerio Valley. A new country will be chosen to receive the chests this fall. If you want to involve your middle school or high school in the School Chest Initiative, contact Bill Clarke at 410-764-7000 extension 3009 or by email at [email protected]

Leadership Lessons
By Rebecca Conti-Vock
Reflections by a delegate at Leadership Development Camp

Leadership is so much more than just the ability to bring people together and have them work for a common cause. If there is one thing I have truly learned in the past week, it is that. To be the coordinator of a project or the embodiment of an organization is not enough. To lead by example or by persistence is not enough. You have to truly show those whom you wish to lead that you are genuine, that you not only have what it takes, but that you are unique, strong and creative.

At LDC everyone was challenged to be ourselves-totally ourselves - to share experiences and ideas, dreams and realities. It is quite hard to fashion words around the almost utopian society created. At LDC each one of us had a deep understanding of the other. This understanding led all of us to recognize that being ourselves may be just enough, just enough to help the rest of the world recognize that although we are separated by language barriers, religious beliefs or background differences, we can still come together because we all can feel compassion.

I think the most important lesson that LDC taught me is that communication is the key. We as human beings carry the awesome ability to reason, and by reasoning through our own doubts and insecurities, we can reach an understanding of the soul. To be completely open in our narratives of past realizations or encounters helped us all to recognize that we are who we are for different reasons, because different occurrences formed our thoughts, actions and abilities. I believe that I can speak for all of us [delegates], in saying that we learned to be leaders. However, in doing so, we have to keep an open mind, no matter what the circumstances are and try to reach out with an open heart.

Youth in Emergency Services

Area students participating in the American Red Cross Youth in Emergency Services (YiES) recently graduated from the disaster relief training program. Members of the graduating class includes: Rachel Belitz, Ashley Condict and Ira Kita, an Albanian exchange student from the Key School in Annapolis. Jeremy Putt and Andrew Blankenheim of Meade Senior High School in Ft. Meade also successfully completed the Red Cross training classes.

The students were trained in first aid and CPR and are eligible to serve as disaster action team members responding to disasters in Anne Arundel County and the Central Maryland area. To find out more information about Red Cross Youth in Emergency Services (YiES) training call 410-674-3110, ext. 1 or 410-764-7000, ext. 4602.

Red Cross Honors Youth Good Samaritans

Local heroes may not be "faster than a speeding bullet" or "more powerful than a locomotive" but, at the Red Cross Central Maryland Chapter they have saved lives or made a life better. The attribute that local heroes and superheroes have in common is the spirit of humanitarianism.

The Central Maryland Chapter recognized 15 local heroes at the third annual Hometown Heroes Breakfast. Rachel Taylor, Charlie Littlewood and Jeff Cash received the Red Cross Youth Good Samaritan Award for helping to put out a house fire by connecting several garden hoses before the fire department arrived. The three continued to fight the fire which allowed the resident to escape out of the house. Congratulations to our Hometown Hero Youth Good Samaritan award recipients on a job well done!

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