17th Annual Safe City Youth Summit

On January 9, 2011, O.M.E.G.A. was asked by the Denver Safe City Office to present to the participants of the 17th Annual Safe City Youth Summit at the Tivoli on the Auraria Campus on March 24.

The Denver Safe City Office (SCO) serves as the youth prevention and intervention arm of the Denver Department of Safety.  SCO was created in part as a response to Denver’s 1993 Summer of Violence when youth-related crime and violence reached new heights.  Over the years SCO has become an integral part of Denver’s public safety plan and has expanded programming to better serve the community and its youth and families.  SCO partners with non-profit, community-based, private, business and government organizations to serve nearly 3,000 youth and families each year through a number of prevention and intervention programs.

The mission of the Denver Safe City Office is to promote positive youth development and provide a continuum of services aimed at reducing youth violence, crime and victimization by developing and implementing community solutions through intergovernmental and intercommunity cooperation.

We were more than happy to participate and I appreciated having Donita Hilfinger join me at the workshop.

Our adventure at the Youth Summit started when we showed up, checked out the room, and discovered that the audio and visual request had been misplaced (the deer in headlights look and the crickets in the background was a dead giveaway).  I did bring extra equipment just in case, but their technical support person came through with flying colors.  We tested out the equipment just in time for our part of the workshop to start.

We were not sure how many people would show up.  I would have been happy to have just one person attend.  As it turned out, we had 85 participants to fill the room!

I am sure most of the youth attending came seeing the opportunity to get a day away from school.  After all, when I was their age, I jumped at any chance to legally be off the school campus.

We shared at a very high level the concepts behind CERT and its mission:

1. Identifying potential hazards in homes and workplaces.

2. Reducing hazards, where possible.

3. Developing a disaster supply kit.

Gauging the interest from the audience, we went a little deeper into CERT and what the program teaches:

  • Locating and turning off utilities, if safe.
  • Extinguishing small fires.
  • Treating injuries.
  • Conducting light search and rescue.
  • Helping to relieve survivor stress.

But I believe what really caught their attention was the section on “Seven Signs of Terrorism”.  These signs are:

1. Surveillance

2. Elicitation

3. Test of Security

4. Acquiring Supplies

5. Suspicious People Who Don’t Belong

6. Dry or Trial Runs

7. Deploying Assets and Getting into Position

I did ask the class when do they think this video was made and why.  It was interesting to hear the responses we got: 1996, 2001, in the ‘80’s.  If you want to know, you need to attend one of our CERT classes.  The presentation was a preview of the CERT program and offered a lot of information in a very short time.  It is my hope that the attendees don’t become overwhelmed by what they heard as this family did:

A New York family bought a ranch out west where they intended to raise cattle.  Friends came to visit and asked if the ranch had a name.

“Well,” said the would-be-cattleman, “I wanted to call it the Bar-J.  My wife favored the Suzy-Q.  One son liked the Flying-W and the other son wanted the Lazy-Y.  So, we’re calling it the Bar-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y Ranch.”

“But where are all your cattle?”

“So far none have survived the branding.”

I hope we did not swamp the youth with too much information and that they will enroll in one of the upcoming CERT classes.

We would like to thank Carolyn Bluhm and the Denver Office of Emergency Management for providing O.M.E.G.A. with this opportunity and we look forward to next year’s Youth Summit.

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