M.E.E.T. 4-H Club helping young people learn about first responders in Alger County

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MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – Earlier this year, Officer Brendan Westenbarger had an idea to connect his job as part of the Munising Police Department with young people in his community.

“It was gonna be tough to get the program started on my own,” Westenbarger said. “And that’s when I had Liz Wiener approach me, the coordinator of 4H here in Alger County. She approached me and asked if I was interested with all this stuff I’m doing with community policing to become a part of 4-H. I told her actually I had an idea about it and we started brainstorming and put together what we call M.E.E.T.”

M.E.E.T. or Mentoring and Educating with Emergency Teams is introducing its members to what first responder jobs entail. At each event, professionals explain their roles to the kids while letting them interact with some of the equipment they use. With police and fire events held so far, this week’s meeting featured medical responders.

“The plan for tonight, the kids are going to meet some first responders here with Alger County EMS, paramedics and EMTs,” Westenbarger said. “And they’re gonna run them through the ambulances and everything that they do as far as EMS about how they save people and how they give medical care to people that need it.”

By taking an up-close look, M.E.E.T. aims to give club members exposure to how they can follow similar career paths should they take interest beyond any of the presentations. Events planned for the future include precautions to take when going out on frozen lakes, crime scene investigations, and a park safety presentation with rangers from Pictured Rocks.

“I can say that it’s been all positive,” Westenbarger said. “I haven’t seen one kid that hasn’t been absolutely ecstatic when they get to see all the equipment and the different things they get to do, so to be able to see that in these kids and see that reaction from them being able to see all this equipment and see this wow in their eyes is really fantastic.”

Young people aged 5-19 are eligible to attend, while adults can sign up to be a volunteer through 4-H. Registration for future events can be done on 4-H’s website.

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