While many county teens are spending their summer vacation lounging by the pool or hanging out with friends, a handful of select high-schoolers spent a large part of this week looking toward the future.
This year, 18 students were selected to attend Camp Med, a hands-on camp funded by the Northwest Area Health Education Center and North Surry High School.
Through Camp Med, students interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field have the opportunity to explore different medical professions.
Toni Ledford, health science teacher at North Surry High School and Camp Med facilitator, said the students attending this year’s camp are rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in Surry County schools.
But not everyone who wants to attend is selected for the elite camp.
“They must have a grade-point average of at least 3.0, and each student must write an essay discussing why they would like to attend,” Ledford said. “They are then selected by committee.”
This year, the three-day camp began on Tuesday, with a roundtable discussion of careers like dentistry, forensics, nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy. In addition, the students spent some time Tuesday with Ginny Anderson of the American Red Cross.
Wednesday’s agenda included a tour of the county’s home health department, Surry Community College’s health sciences department and Northern Hospital of Surry County.
Today, the students will travel to Winston-Salem to tour Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.
“This is an elite group of students,” Ledford said as the teens gathered in the lobby of Northern Hospital.
Participants each received a Camp Med T-shirt, stethoscope and a lab coat as part of the program, which they will get to keep at the end of the camp. The interests of the students are varied from nursing to emergency medical technicians.
But not all know exactly which field fits like a glove, as evidenced by East Surry High School rising senior Amber Collins.
“I’m here to learn about the different careers,” she said quietly. “I know I want to work with emergency services because I like helping others and being one of the first people to see a patient.
“You can really make a difference working for EMS, but nursing was more interesting than I thought it would be.”
Collins said she may have had her interest piqued during a practice session in nursing.
“I think what really made it jump out at me was we had the chance to practice giving shots to mannequins,” she said. “That was really fun.”
And after her camp experience, Collins said her eyes have been opened.
“Since attending the camp, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be studying healthcare,” she said. “I want to do EMS first, but I like nursing and my plan is to become an anesthesiologist while working as an emergency medical technician.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.