In Brief: Texas State hosts nationally-recognized youth preparedness camp

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
June 22, 2015

The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) at Texas State University is sponsoring its fifth annual Youth Preparedness Camp June 21-26.

The camp will be held on the Texas State campus for the second year.

The camp offers a select group of young people a chance to learn emergency preparedness skills as well as training in youth leadership and community-based action planning.

More than 50 youth and their adult sponsors will spend five days on the Texas State campus to receive basic Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. This includes working on planning and leadership skills necessary for developing community action plans, addressing emergency preparedness in schools and communities, and identifying and completing community action projects. By Thursday, participants will be ready to test their skills through a mock disaster exercise where they will use both classroom and hands-on instruction to address a realistic emergency scenario. The TxSSC Youth Preparedness Camp activities will end June 26 with a graduation ceremony attended by officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region 6 and the state fire marshall’s office.

"The goal of this program is to empower our young people to become change agents for preparedness in their communities," said TxSSC Executive Director Kathy Martinez-Prather. "We want to give them the skills and training they need to be successful. This is part of our commitment at the Texas School Safety Center to help schools and communities prepare for a safe and healthy tomorrow."

The TxSSC introduced the program in 2011, and it has grown steadily since then. By September 2013, the Center’s youth preparedness program had gained national recognition and was honored during National Preparedness Month ceremonies at the White House, where the TxSSC Youth Preparedness program received the FEMA Outstanding Achievements in Youth Preparedness award. Also, Youth Preparedness Camp Coordinator Joseph McKenna was named a White House "Champion of Change" for his role in coordinating the program. 

"These youth have the ability to facilitate projects and initiatives at home, at school, and in their communities that can impact preparedness from a whole-community perspective," said McKenna, TxSSC program manager. "The activities that they conduct in their communities after camp bring awareness and initiate change in both knowledge and action. These are skills that the youth will retain throughout their lives."

The TxSSC serves as a resource for school districts, parents and community leaders to create safe and secure learning environments. To learn more, visit the website at 

For additional information, contact Joe McKenna at (877) 304-2727.