FARMINGTON — Scrub Club Camp, a weeklong exposure to job opportunities in the health field, began Monday morning at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

Nearly 60 students entering grades eight to 11 from Dixfield, Rumford, Jay, Livermore Falls and Farmington schools signed up to learn more about a wide variety of careers available in health care, said Dori Fellman, director of the University of Maine at Farmington’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Program.

This is the second year GEAR UP and FMH have coordinated the camp together to offer activities such as suturing, casting, lab analysis and an emergency response to a mock accident — all while students explore careers from physical therapy to pharmacy, mental health counseling and more.

The teams of about 10 rotate activities throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The students also spend time on a Scrub Club project. Last year they turned T-shirts into diapers for babies in third world countries. This year, the group is working on fleece blankets to be donated to the Abused Women Advocacy Project, area fire departments and animal shelters, Fellman said.

While teaching a team first aid, including how to bandage and use an allergic reaction pen early Monday, Karen Rogers, director of education at FMH, said part of the camp is funded through an FMH Area Health Education Center grant to recruit and retain workers in the health care field.

“As one of the largest employers in the county, job opportunities at FMH depend on post-secondary education,” Fellman said, “making it a great collaboration between GEAR UP and the hospital.”

The GEAR UP program offers tutoring and mentoring, activities on the UMF’s campus as well as after-school and summer programs to help students in rural schools work toward achieving more than a high school diploma, she said. They work primarily with students from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Dirigo in Dixfield and Jay High School.

Volunteers from the health field and the university are giving presentations to the teens this week. A mock accident at the hospital was postponed Monday as emergency crews were called out for an accident but will take place Wednesday, she said. The students will respond to the accident scene set up near the hospital and treat a special mannequin. They will also participate in a disability demonstration, hospital tour and an introduction to sign language.

This week, students will also see that health careers involve more than just nurses and doctors. From the hospital’s information system to the maintenance department, the variety of jobs available will be shown and how each is needed.

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