By Chris Weaver, Venture Crew 911
Venture Crew 911 is an outreach program at St Anthony’s Hospital for young men and women interested in a career in emergency medicine. A venture crew is a co-ed unit of the Boy Scouts of America for those aged 14-21. Each venture crew selects an area of focus, and Crew 911’s specialty is emergency medicine. Crew 911 was founded as “Explorer Post 911” in 1989 with a focus on Search and Rescue. It wasn’t long, however, until the interest of the first members honed in on the medical aspect of Search and Rescue.
Crew 911 is open to anyone who wishes to learn and gain experience in the field of emergency medicine. Members are initially trained in basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They then take their emergency medical responder (EMR) course, commonly known as a first responder course. Qualified students can then become certified by the State of Colorado’s Department of Fire Safety as EMRs. Many members continue their education by becoming emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and physicians. There are very few fire departments and ambulance services along the front range that don’t have Crew 911 alumni in their ranks.
Crew members practice their skills by providing first aid at community events. The Crew is a great opportunity for young people to practice first aid under the supervision of medical professionals. Crew 911 has provided first aid support to the Triple Bypass cycling event since 2007. The crew staffs a medical team at every aid station along the route, including the finish line. The more intrepid volunteers ride the course to help riders needing medical assistance between aid stations. Other volunteers drive the course in areas of steep ascent/descent and areas with no mobile phone coverage. The Crew provides tents, heaters, medical equipment, and oxygen at each station. Between 50 to 60 volunteers from Crew 911 help at each Triple Bypass ride on both Saturday and Sunday. Most volunteers camp at the Loveland Aid Station, the Vail Pass Aid Station, or the Squaw Pass Aid Station on Friday and Saturday night.
Before Crew 911 began receiving funds from Team Evergreen, members were required to pay monthly dues. Members were also required to buy their own materials for the courses and pay any associated fees. Since 2007 the Crew has been able to offer its program to members for free. The Crew has never turned anyone away for financial reasons, but still the number of underprivileged youth participating in the program has increased thanks to the Crew’s partnership with Team Evergreen. Crew 911 has also been able to upgrade the equipment trailer, medical supplies, and radio equipment. CPR and Wilderness First Aid training are also offered to the community at below-cost prices.
Crew 911 also promotes camping and adventure to its members. This summer, just a few days after the Triple Bypass, a group of Crew members will embark on a life-changing 12-day trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness with trails that climb from 6,500 feet to as high as 12,441 feet. Philmont Scout Ranch is the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camp and the largest youth camp in the world serving nearly one million participants since 1938.