More than 100 Minnesota high school students will get hands-on training in emergency medical response at a three-day camp this week.

The camp will provide students with practical training and experience that will include first aid, CPR, psychological first aid, medical evacuation by helicopter and tactical communications. The instructors will include community first responders, National Guard soldiers and local public health emergency preparedness and behavioral health professionals.

Students will gain skills such as CPR and get a glimpse into potential careers.

"The camp is one of the most unique and electrifying events in all of Minnesota," said Dawson Clifton, the president-elect of Minnesota's Health Occupations Students of America Medical Reserve Corps and an Andover High School student. "It's a must for any students interested in learning about all things emergency preparedness."

The camp, which will be held Thursday through Saturday at Camp Ripley, allows students to explore opportunities related to epidemiology, emergency medicine, National Guard and other related careers, he added.

And in the end, it may help Minnesota bolster its ranks of volunteers who can respond to disasters and emergencies.

"It's about building our future," said Nancy Carlson, the camp co-director and behavioral health coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health. "It also trains kids on how to take care of themselves during crisis and disasters."

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Medical Reserve Corps was started, providing a national network of volunteers to respond to emergencies, Carlson said. The youth corps began popping up soon afterward, she said.

The Minnesota camp, which includes training on a current disaster or public health emergency, will provide a session on e-cigarettes, vaping and opioid use, a growing concern among Minnesota youths, according to state health officials.

The camp also will expose students to mental health skills needed to help those dealing with the stress and shock of a disaster or crisis, Carlson said.

Previous camp participants said the experience gave them valuable life skills and helped them make career choices.

"MRC Camp was paramount in helping me choose the career I wanted to go into," said Lauren Trygstad of Lakeville North High School, who wants to become an emergency medicine physician.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788