Thirty students preparing for emergency medical services careers converged at the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows to lead, feed, mentor, guide, laugh with and play carnival games with the community’s youth.
These enthusiastic Truckee Meadows Community College Emergency Medical Services Program volunteers helped Reno-Sparks kids win prizes as they knocked down troll figures together.
“A cute eleven-year-old girl, with her face all painted up at one of the booths, came up to me and told me that she’d like to be a paramedic one day,” said Shelby McKenna, Emergency Medical Technician student. “Then she used her tickets to play carnival games and won a stuffed Dumbo that she gave me.”
McKenna helped by scooping up potato salad, smiling and talking with the children attending Boys & Girls Nite Out on Wednesday, Mar. 25 at the Boys & Girls Club’s Donald W. Reynolds Facility on East Ninth Street in Reno.
As she eagerly described meeting the young fan, other kids with their friends and peer mentors in bright blue T-shirts zipped by on their way to play tossing, winding and knocking down games, earning tickets toward prizes.
Paramedic Lead Instructor, Gina Schuster, agreed that the children were looking up to TMCC’s students in their sharply pressed, neat and tucked-in dark uniforms.
“The children have been asking about what paramedics do,” Schuster said. “They are really enjoying the interactions.”
Community engagement is part of the emergency medical services training at TMCC
Students pursuing careers in emergency medicine need to build familiarity with many different age groups and personality types, because they will be working in sudden and intense situations with people out in the field.
Jonathon Petersen said he had not interacted very extensively with children before he entered the EMS Program at TMCC. At the event, he started to enjoy the energy of kids running past him and felt more at ease in an environment with many young voices around. He noticed that time spent volunteering can start building familiarity, empathy and respect.
“Even with this event, I’m now ten times more comfortable, and when I get called out in the field to assist a child, I’ll be much more prepared,” Petersen said. “Kids are really giving, and one little boy even brought me some popcorn.”
TMCC students studying to be an Emergency Medical Technician complete 12 hours of community engagement as part of their program. EMT-Advanced trainees finish an additional 12 hours of service. Paramedic students have the longest course of study, and along with it, complete 48 hours working with members of the community. Schuster said that the time spent getting to know people, such as those in youth programs, nursing homes and community service groups such as Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful help raise awareness in future emergency service professionals.
The Boys & Girls Club Nite Out is an opportunity for volunteers to meet Club members
Boys & Girls Nite Out is an annual event, this year sponsored by Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, in Reno. The two-and-a-half hour carnival is part of National Boys & Girls Club Week.
Youth are paired with teens and adults from the community to enjoy games, snacks, activities and performances. This year, Circus Circus provided theatrical circus acts, and the University of Nevada, Reno Wolfpack Drumline and Nevada Cheerleaders also presented choreographed numbers.
During the week, Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. celebrate with similar events in the spirit of mentorship and spending quality time with kids. Community groups and corporate teams have taken part in the annual Nite Out as a fun way to donate time to a worthwhile cause. Nichelle Hull, Volunteer Coordinator at Boys & Girls Club, served as the chairperson for this year’s event.