California Educator

March 2017

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that had ropes and technical rescue gear on hand, as well as the training to use them. Students successfully rescued the woman, and after a debriefing following the incident, received a standing ovation from the other agencies involved. During another search in Lake County the same year, K-CORPS members assisted in finding a missing elderly woman with Alzheimer's. After hiking through thick brush, they located her in a deep ravine. She had injuries that prevented her from being able to walk out, and the ter- ra i n p re v e n t e d t h e m f r o m carrying her out, so they built a fire to keep her warm and dry. e team stayed with her overnight, and in the morning packaged her so the helicopter could lift her out and trans- port her to the hospital. " Th ere's nothin g li ke it," says Cassidy Holmes, a senior squad leader who has been on many callouts with K-CORPS. "It's great to be able to help someone in need and help to save a life." Recently, a Bay Area man hiking in snow became lost. Holmes was among those who helped find him. "He was so scared and said, 'ank God you're here.' He was so thank- ful. It was really emotional and rewarding to help someone in need." e man recently came to the K-CORPS class- room to personally thank the students and tell his story. Holmes was also involved in efforts to locate a 5-year- old boy who became lost in the Willits area. "We found him at the top of a hill when the sun rose. It was the best feeling ever." K-CORPS FOSTERS COMMUNIT Y Budget cuts have threatened the program over the years, and at times K-CORPS has been on the chopping block. But community members rallied in support of the program because they see it as providing an important service. e program has received a commendation from the Office of the Attorney General and a Golden Bell Award from the state superintendent of public instruction, and has logged more than 80,000 man-hours of service. Students say they love knowing they are making a differ- ence. K-CORPS gives them the opportunity to build strong bonds with their peers, which last long past graduation. e program also can help them choose their careers, and some graduates have segued into law enforcement and medical careers. GREENIES AND OLDIES The Kelseyville Community Organization for Rescue and Public Service course is broken down into two phases, the "greenie" year for 12 juniors and the "oldie" year for 12 seniors. New members are chosen by instructors Joanie Holt and Taryn Larson and the current oldies, with final approval from the Lake County Sheriff 's Department. Students must keep a minimum 2.5 GPA to remain in the program. Greenies spend their first year learning necessary skills, which they teach to new members the fol- lowing year. The academically challenging course is taught during seventh period at day 's end. At the end of the year, all greenies attend a five-day overnight practical final at a state park, where they are tested on what they have learned. Depending on their performance during class and this testing period, greenies are placed in leadership positions they will assume as oldies. Oldies are organized into squads, and some are chosen to specialize in specific functions such as trackers, medics and techs (technical rescuers). Although each oldie is fully qualified to perform all these duties, the specialists are the first to be called when a specific need arises. Joanie Holt checks Carli Mendonca's helmet in front of the students' emergency packs. Joanie Holt demonstrating how to rappel off a bridge. Photo courtesy K-CORPS Timothy Wichlaz, a "greenie" or junior, says he will never forget the moment when he was invited to join the group that has made such an impact in his life. "I had been struggling the previous year, and Mrs. Holt pulled me aside and told me that joining would be a great way to build leadership skills and be part of a team. I'm so glad I did. I love coming here every day. It feels just like a second family to me." 19 March 2017

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