“What do kids know?!”


We often get discouraged trying to get people to take preparedness seriously. “It’ll never happen to me,” they say with a smirk. “Too much trouble; I don’t have time!” say others, shaking their heads. “Don’t know how to start,” they complain.

I was glad to hear of some young people who DO have the time and energy to Get Prepared! Here are five youth programs going on right around us!  Do you know about them?

FEMA for Kids

In Middlesex county, New Jersey, FEMA is implementing FEMA for Kids. While it’s designed to come into a community after a disaster, it is directed to children, using them as conduits to their parents with tips and advice on disaster preparedness for the future.

BSA Merit Badge

BSA Merit Badge in Emergency Preparedness

Boy Scouts of America

The merit badge in Disaster Preparedness (required for Eagle Scout) helps a Scout learn what is “helpful and needed before, during and after an emergency.” Over 50,000 scouts earn this badge every year. Official materials say that Scouts are “are often called upon to help because they know first aid and they know about the discipline and planning needed to react to an emergency situation.”

Girl Scouts of the USA

In 2009, then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Girls Scouts of the USA unveiled a Girl Scout preparedness patch, aimed at advancing community preparedness nationwide. Napolitano is a former Girl Scout who says she knows what it means to “Be Prepared!”

Camp Fire USA

Prepare Today – Lead Tomorrow is a teen program developed by Camp Fire USA. Its goals are to engage teens in intensive community preparedness learning experiences, and create opportunities for them to participate in community preparedness efforts.

FEMA Corps

In 2012, the White House announced FEMA Corps, part of the AmeriCorps program. Some 1,600 people ages 18-24 will join teams to learn skills and get community experience in the field of emergency management.

We all know what an impact kids can have on families and communities. It is thanks in large part to kids that parents stop smoking, start using seat belts, recycle … the list goes on. Find out what your kids are learning at school or elsewhere about Emergency Preparedness. Enjoy their enthusiasm as you conduct your own preparedness efforts. Figure out ways to include the local Boy Scout or Girls Scout troop as a resource in your CERT expo, you neighborhood block party, or your family garage sale.

They will probably be able to teach you something valuable!




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  1. Russ Flanigan