Dreaming of becoming a Pediatric ICU Registered Nurse, Lieutenant Justin G. Tsai always knew from an early stage he enjoyed working with children and teens. A retired career educator, EMT Robert L. Fox misses being able to work with children daily. A recent graduate of the EMS Academies, EMT Gary M. Peters is quickly working hard to make the most of the opportunities available to him.
The three EMTs, from the Township of Washington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, were posted this past summer to different locations as Summer Camp Standby EMTs. The trio were responsible for assisting youngsters who became ill or injured, providing first-aid and medical assistance as necessary. They also acted as advisors to the teachers-in-charge of the day-to-day operations of the camp, and to campers and their parents when necessary.
Historically, Camp Standby positions were amongst the most in-demand and competitive special assignments available to EMTs, and it isn’t all too hard to figure out why. When not engaged in providing medical care, Camp EMTs enjoy playing with the children and joining them in their sports, activities, and field-trips. Additionally, EMTs on loan to the camps are paid by their employers around $15/hr, pay increases possible for subsequent seasons.
A former counselor who came up through the (camp) ranks, this was Lt. Tsai’s third summer in a row as Camp EMT. Aged 21, and a third-year B.S. in Nursing Student at Seton Hall University, Lt. Tsai’s time includes two tours with a 5th and 6th grade day camp, and one with a day-trips only program for older teens. EMT Fox has spent the last two summers serving a K-2nd grades day-camp, working with the same age-group as he did in education. EMT Peters had just completed his first year with a 3rd/4th grade day-camp, and looks forward to returning the next year. In recent times EMT Isabelle-Joy Carrillo served as “Medical Officer” one summer for a Boy Scouts Camp as well.
As the trio each noted, these assignments challenged each of them to grow as they were offered many opportunities to quickly deepen their understanding. Operating outside a usual environment whilst working with a special population, all three were often asked to adapt their training to many special considerations. As rewarding as it was to make a difference in a youngster’s life, all three appreciated the opportunity to serve as quality role-models as well; as Tsai noted, some of his favorite moments were being able to answer the children’s questions on EMS and even talk to some who hope to become future EMTs.
Aside from working various standby assignments, an EMT’s perks also include the many scholarship opportunities available, with the most opportunities available for those who are full-fledged EMTs prior to the final semester of high school. Additionally, a beginning as an EMT serves as a springboard for several career paths as well, including healthcare, public service, and politics.
As always, the Corps needs additional members, be it to help staff it’s 911 ambulance or to fill positions at local summer camps. Any person interested in volunteering their time can find our application online at www.wtvac.org or call us at 201-664-3784. Anyone aged 16 and older, no maximum age limit, is eligible to attend EMT training. Those who are too young or wish to attend training at a later time may still apply and get involved in the meantime. Those approaching the age of 16 may contact us ahead of time to begin the application process as well. Additionally, the Corps has loan-out medical supplies available to residents of the Pascack Valley as well, anyone in need of free equipment may contact Naomi @ 201-474-5626.
Above: from Left to Right Lt. Justin G. Tsai, EMT Robert L. Fox, and EMT Gary M. Peters pose for a photo in their Camp EMT Gear (Photo Credit: Ms. Melissa Peters)
Above: Lt. Justin Tsai and EMT Gary Peters pose in their Corps Formal Uniforms (Photo Credit: Ms. Melissa Peters).