As children flock to numerous kinds of camps this summer, the American Red Cross in the Philadelphia area is hosting a unique kind of camp experience. At Camp Save-A-Life, the Red Cross will teach over 180 kids lifesaving and swimming skills and international humanitarian law this summer.
“This camp allows us to learn how to protect our lives and how to teach our family and loved ones how to protect their lives,” said camper Alaina David, 13.
Red Cross Club members from local high schools and colleges serve as camp counselors and begin planning for Camp Save-A-Life in the fall as their capstone project for the year.
“It allows me the opportunity to teach children the skills they need to know in case they are ever in a tough situation,” said camp counselor Khalilah Shoatz, a student at Lincoln University.
But that’s not all that goes on at Camp Save a Life. “We teach the kids things, and the kids are always teaching us things,” said camp counselor Su Cooper. “The kids teach me to be a better leader.”
Cooper is a student at Valley Forge Military Academy and College and participated in a Red Cross Club in high school. However, his relationship to the Red Cross began long ago as a child in Liberia when he said the Red Cross fed and sheltered his family.
“I’m just trying to give back to the community,” he said.
Over five days, campers rotate through sessions on humanitarian law, Military 101, a fire safety demonstration, swimming skills, CPR training and disaster preparedness. There are also sessions on leadership and communications skills and college readiness. The week ends with a skit presentation for family and friends and a graduation.
Started in 2008, the camp, hosted by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter, has grown from a one-week event with 35 children to six one-week camps educating nearly 200 children.
Other Ways to Learn Lifesaving Skills
There are numerous ways to learn lifesaving skills from the Red Cross. For information on Red Cross in-classroom courses, online courses and group trainings, review the options online.
People can also download free Red Cross mobile apps to get expert advice for everyday emergencies and to learn what to do before during and after disasters.