The Washington Youth Academy was honored in September for its efforts to train each and every cadet with critical preparedness skills they can take with them back to their home communities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave an honorable mention to the Youth Academy in its national Individual and Community Preparedness Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness.
To date, 835 cadets have completed Community Emergency Response Team training. This year, the Puget Sound Energy Foundation provided grants to the Washington Youth Academy Foundation for the purchase of Community Emergency Response Team kits to give to the cadets when they go home. By giving all of the cadets Community Emergency Response Team training, the Youth Academy is turning them into preparedness ambassadors for their own communities.
“We’re getting our young people to be leaders in their community,” the application for the honor states. “They might not use this training every day, but if we get a major earthquake or even a storm event, we think they’ll be able to figure out what to do, to be there to help. Before this, most of these cadets have never even held a fire extinguisher or understood the basics of first aid. As a final test of their CERT training, the cadets conduct a mass casualty drill and practice what they've learned -- some cadets practicing as injured, while others demonstrate search and rescue skills.”
Empowered youth can help engage their families, their peers and their communities in disaster readiness. Youth are empowered through understanding of risks and knowing protective actions, per the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education.
Trainers from CERT teams in Pierce County and Kitsap County helped do the initial training. Lately, though, the program has been self-sustaining with cadre going through specific training so then they can pass on that knowledge back to the cadets.
The Washington Youth Academy Foundation, supported by a grant from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation, provided CERT packs for training and provided to cadets who sign up with their local community CERT program.
Cadet Amanda Torres, of Yakima, noted in the article that she hadn’t ever thought of emergency kits before the CERT training. Now, non-perishable items like canned goods and bottled water are something she actually thinks about.
“Now, I know how to use a fire extinguisher,” she added. “I never had to use one before, but it’s pretty easy. There were some pretty important lessons we learned here that we can take with us after graduation.”
The program began as a pilot with just a few cadets back in cycle 2014-2 when Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce was brainstorming with WYA Programs officer Patrick Cruz on ways to help the preparedness mission outlined by Maj. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, the adjutant general in charge of the Washington Military Department, including the Youth Academy. Every cadet has been trained since cycle 15-1.
Cruz credited the cadre and the cadets for taking preparedness seriously and getting everyone on board.
“Besides CERT training and CPR training, our cadets also embrace community service, donating many hours of service to their community,” Pierce said. “The last cycle, for instance, donated 7,992 hours of community service to the local area, which included creating care packages for the needy.”
Ms. Arel Solie, Homeland Security Commander, Washington State Patrol, has assumed Board Chair responsibilities for the Washington Youth Academy Foundation. Ms. Solie has been a member of the Foundation since September 2012 and previously served as the Foundation Vice Chair.
Mr. Michael McBreen was approved as the Foundation Vice Chair effective January 1, 2018
The Maj Gen Tim and Mary Lowenberg scholarship for excellence was awarded to Cadet Isrial Alvarado from class 2017-2. Mr. Joe Huden, Foundation Board Chair, awarded the scholarship at the cadet dinner on December 14th. Mr. Huden dedicated the scholarship in the memory of Maj Gen Lowenberg giving the class a glimpse of how he inspired him and made the Academy possible. Mr. Huden said, "it is my honor and privilege to award this scholarship in honor of a great man."
The 2016 Foundation Annual Report has been published to the website. You can view the report at this link [Click Here]
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The Washington Youth Academy Foundation in partnership with the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation supported expansion of the Academy Book Club. Dr. Brandon Sternod said, "The WYA book club is a reading program for a select group of cadets for the dual purpose of instilling a lifelong love of reading and increasing overall levels of literacy. The program was initiated by Mr. Tod Hall in the early days of the Academy and has provided learning opportunities for cadets every cycle since. The cadets of the book club are of mixed ability levels and are jointly led by Dr. Sternod, the current English teacher at the WYA and Joe Young, a Librarian at the Kitsap Regional Library. At each monthly meeting, the cadets are provided a friendly, low-pressure environment to discuss the books they’ve read and additional reading experiences to complete by the next meeting. Thanks to contributions from the WYA Foundation, the book club has been able to purchase book kits for exclusively for cadet use, this cycle and beyond. "
The 9th Annual motorcycle rally took place from Pendergast Park raising over $1,500 in donations to the Washington Youth Academy Foundation. Although there was some rain, the cadets marched down and were able to spend some time looking at the bikes and interacting with the riders. Mayor Patty Lent issued a proclamation for the ride and the Academy.
WHEREAS, the City of Bremerton supports the 9th Annual Washington Youth Academy Rides & Rods Rally at 10:00 AM on Saturday, June 10th, 2017. Beginning at Pendergast Regional Park, Soccer Field parking lot, at 1099 Union Ave. in West Bremerton and sponsored by Brothers Powersports, and North Kitsap ABATE, and
WHEREAS, proceeds from this event go directly to the Washington Youth Academy Foundation whose mission is helping Washington at-risk youth succeed; and
WHEREAS, the Washington Youth Academy Foundation was established to support the students and mission of the Washington Youth Academy . The Washington Youth Academy is part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program and is a state-run residential and post-residential program for 16-18 year old boys and girls who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out; and
WHEREAS, during the rider registration, the Washington Youth Academy Cadets will march in to the Park and the Cadet Drill Team will perform. The Cadets will also have the opportunity visit with the group;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Patty Lent, Mayor of the City of Bremerton, do hereby proclaim Saturday, June 10th, 2017 as
The 9th Annual Washington Youth Academy Rides & Rods Rally Day
and we encourage motorcycle riders, organized car and truck groups, and the general public to attend.
Signed this 7th day of June, 2017
Joe Huden is the Board Chair Emeritus of the Washington Youth Academy Foundation Board of Directors. Contact Joe or Arel Solie, Board Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org