The Coronavirus pandemic has led to a wave of people desiring to take action and help out their community. Yet as high schoolers, it’s often easy to wonder what you can contribute to in a meaningful way. Especially given the sameness of every day during online school and the pandemic, it’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of the daily high school experience. However, the Chatham Emergency Squad (CES) Cadet Program offers a break from this pattern. The Cadet Program is an opportunity for current sophomores to join CES and receive full Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. This program is unique because it is unlike any other experience open to high schoolers. Where most high school programs force kids to take a backseat and watch, the cadet program puts you right in the thick of it. As a cadet for CES, you will ride on a shift once a week, respond in the ambulance to emergency 911 calls, and work as a team with the adult members of the Squad on your shift. The initial training class you will take is not like a normal high school class. Adults will be your peers, and you will be held to the same standards. This provides for an incredibly rewarding way to serve the community, learn lasting lifesaving skills, and explore the professional medical world.
I have been a cadet for two years. I know I have gained insight into the medical field, my community, and the professional world that will last with me forever and help me immeasurably in college, career, and beyond. I truly regard the experiences I’ve had as a cadet EMT as some of the most rewarding and impactful experiences from my time in high school. Another senior cadet, Sam Cooperman, reflects that “I initially became an EMT because I wanted to be there to help my community members when they’re having their worst day and do my part to make the situation just a little bit better. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people and gain knowledge and experiences that will always stick with me.” The current cadets include 4 other seniors and 6 juniors.
If this opportunity sounds like something you would want to chase, consider applying. To apply, you must:
- Be a Chatham resident.
- Be a high school sophomore in good academic standing.
- Turn 16 years old by July 1, 2021.
- Attend the mandatory parent and applicant meeting on January 20, 2021 at 7:00pm over Zoom.
Things have certainly changed because of the pandemic within CES, but the cadet program has adapted as well to allow cadets to participate while simultaneously staying safe. There will be an application and interview process to select the new cadet class. Accepted cadets will begin riding on a weekly shift in late June of 2021 and continue with their crews until high school graduation (where you can then become certified as an adult member). Accepted cadets will also need to complete a 200 hour State of NJ EMT initial training course and pass the National Registry EMT exam. For more information, head to chathamemergencysquad.org or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or anyone you see cruising around school in a cool EMT sweatshirt.