Safety Days provides hands-on lessons, practices

KERSEY – Fifth grade students from throughout Elk County recently participated in the Progressive Agriculture Safety Days, a nationwide program geared toward teaching youth about safety issues dealing with agriculture, community, home and other topics."The students and teachers really enjoyed the event. Presenters are encouraged to do hands-on activities with the youth in order to keep them engaged. The teachers enjoyed the activities and the important lessons learned. Many of the presentations can be directly related to school curriculum, which makes it a very worthwhile fieldtrip," said Natalie Aiello, Elk-Cameron County 4-H/youth extension educator for the Penn State Cooperative ExtensionLocal elementary schools attending were from Ridgway, Fox Township, Bennetts Valley, St. Boniface and St. Marys Catholic Elementary.Due to the growing number of youth interested in attending, the 2012 Safety Days event was held at the Elk County Fairgrounds in Kersey for the first time. "In order to accommodate the increasing number, we decided to move the event to a larger area. The Fox Township Ambulance also donated their time to ensure safety for the youth and adults on the grounds," said Aiello. "A lot of planning goes into this event which starts in early January, when correspondence with the administrators and teachers of the schools begin."Each student receives a complimentary T-shirt from the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, the force behind Safety Days. The students wore their T-shirts the day of the event. Students arrived at the fairgrounds at 9 a.m., with a round of 10 different presentations beginning at 9:30 p.m. Small groups and students and teachers rotated to each station for 20 minutes during the day-long event, which concluded at 2:30 p.m. with a group photo and closing remarks.This year's presentations and presenters were "Bullying/Personal Safety" by Jody Johnson, 4-H program coordinator in Elk and Cameron counties; "Water Safety," presented by Jim Clark of the Penn State Cooperative Extension; "Cyber Safety," presented by Theresa Merritt of the Elk County Sherriff's Office; "Home Safety," presented by Susan Alexander of the Penn State Cooperative Extension; "Chemical look-alikes," presented by Jana Davidson of the Penn State Cooperative Extension; "Drug and Alcohol Safety," presented by Drug and Alcohol of Elk and Cameron Counties; "Survival," presented by Elkland Search and Rescue; "Bicycle Safety," presented by Dawn Walls of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; "Food Safety and Hand Washing," presented by Marlene Johnson-Pierce of the Penn State Cooperative Extension; and "Large Animal Safety," presented by Lynn Prechtl and Jenna Ross, participants in the local 4-H Stride for Stride Saddle Club.Pick up a copy of the Friday, May 18, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.