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Local youth certified as Lake County Search and Rescue Explorers

February 12, 2014 by

It’s never too early to start learning valuable life skills.

Morgan and Brenna Abel, ages 18 and 17, respectively, recently completed the certification process through the Lake County Search and Rescue Explorers program.

The program, certified by the Oregon Sheriff’s Association, affords young people between the ages of 14 and 18 years an opportunity to learn practical skills related to the outdoors, such as survival and rescue techniques.

Kevin Abel, who helps oversee the program locally, noted that the Explorers program operates under the Lake County Search and Rescue program, which falls under the jurisdiction of Lake County Sheriff Phil McDonald.

The program has been operational for just over a year, and the curriculum of skill sets taught include winter survival, starting fires without the use of matches, land navigation and ATV/snowmobile operation, he said.

Rescue techniques include methods of packing out an injured party from an isolated location.

“Our Explorers need to meet the same standards as our Search and Rescue (volunteers),” Abel said, “and the Oregon Sheriff’s Association standards.”

Four Explorers participated in the training program last year, for which testing was held in November, Abel said, but two of them moved out of the area.

The training sessions are held the hour prior to Lake County Search and Rescue’s monthly training, Abel said, which are held at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Lake County Search and Rescue facility, located just west of town off of Hwy 140.

Once the Explorers turn 18, they automatically become full-fledged Search and Rescue members, Abel said. Multiple opportunities exist for involvement with this volunteer-based group, including horse, ATV, dog and radio teams, he said.

If they so choose to do so, they may also remain with the Explorer program as leaders up to the age of 24, he noted.

The program provides young people with a variety of valuable skills applicable to their own lives, Abel said.

“We want to give the kids something important in life skills, and a way to give back to the community,” Abel said.

The application process includes a Boy Scouts of America form required for all applicants, he said.

For more information, contact Kevin or Krishna Abel at 541-219-1885.

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