Middle School of the Kennebunks student Kana Walsh, who plans a career in medicine, talks about her experience taking a Wilderness First Aid and CPR class. Courtesy Photo

My name is Kana Walsh. I am an eighth-grade student at Middle School of the Kennebunks. Outside of school, I am the Youth Engagement Lead at the American Red Cross. I am also a Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.

(I am sharing) my experience completing the Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification course. Mine was offered through SOLO (Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities) at the Aphasia Center of Maine and I took the course along with members of the Maine Mounted Search & Rescue. Overall, it was a really great experience.

First aid is an important skill for not only Scouts, but for everyone. Through preparations for outdoor trips and rank advancement requirements in BSA, I had learned the basic principles and procedures for treating someone who is injured. But through Scouts we did not tackle emergencies where a single person would need to be able to save somebody who is in critical condition and more than two hours from a hospital. One of my many aspirations is to become a doctor specializing in the field of space medicine. In medicine, first aid helps mitigate the severity of a person’s injuries, as well as reduce the number of further casualties to those around one.

As my career ambition is to become a doctor, I am always looking for ways to help in my community. From being a Red Cross volunteer, to staffing at my Boy Scouts Camp, I am always trying to find ways to broaden my leadership and problem-solving skills. Getting my Wilderness First Aid and CPR Certification was one way for me to do so.

The course was held at the new Aphasia Center in Brunswick. The class was fairly small–my mom and I being the only participants who were not members of the Maine Mounted Search & Rescue. The Maine Mounted members were taking the class in order to get recertified.

The course was two full days long. We reviewed basic first aid for minor injuries such as scrapes, first degree burns, etc. We also learned how to treat and stabilize more acute injuries, such as scalp fractures, heat strokes, spinal injuries, etc. Furthermore, we learned how to assess the scene of the accident, making sure that we were not putting ourselves in danger while trying to help someone else. We also learned fascinating facts, like how it is better to give a diabetic sugar instead of insulin if they are in shock, as well as how the likelihood of CPR saving a person whose heart stopped is actually around 10 percent. Through the training, we were able to play out scenarios, responses, learn how to build splints with objects that one would carry on a remote trail, demonstrate how to evaluate both the current injuries and potential hazards, and more.

The WFA and CPR course unequivocally taught me so much about the importance of first aid, as well as how I can make the most difference in the case of a calamity when I am outdoors.

In the near future, I am planning to use my training to be able to staff more at the BSA Camp Hinds, as I am now able to succor youth more coherently, which is very important when we go on long hikes and do any of our adventure activities with youth of all ages.