REDLANDS, Calif. Young ham radio operators added a twist to the traditional youth pioneer trek for four stakes in Southern California.
Responding to the counsel of their stake president, youth of the Redlands California Stake applied their training in ham radios as they participated in a trek June 23-24 with the Yucaipa, Yucca Valley and Palm Desert stakes.
President Daryl Carlson of the Redlands stake had expressed his feelings "that it is important to have trained ham radio operators as a part of our stake emergency preparedness program."
Putting training into practice, a young man or young woman licensed as a ham radio operator was assigned to each of the eight companies of the nearly 400-youth trek.
Enthusiastic young people loaded their belonging into 5-by-6 foot carts and started on a trail in the San Bernardino Mountains in the 95-degree heat. A young woman became ill.
Isaac Arnott of Mentone said, "When this girl got sick, our captain asked me to contact base camp. I filled them in on our situation and the doctor relayed to me information on what we could do. . . I kept relaying her progress to base. They sent an ATV to transport her to base camp. I was glad I could help out."
Alex Williams of Redlands noted that someone had gotten into poison oak in a ravine. "I had to relay between the medical assistant and the control base," he said. "They applied some ointment and wrapped up his leg. After the situation was under control I went back to helping my 'family.' "
Because of the ham operators in each company, the organizers "knew immediately if there was anything wrong and could respond," said Alan McBride of Yucaipa. "We were also in touch with the forestry department in case of fire. The youth learned protocol and saw first hand the importance of ham radios."
"We pulled off 12 to 15 people from the trail who had heat exhaustion," said Bob Cannon, head of the organizing committee. "Doctors could convey treatment to the captains, and all of this was done through our youth radio handlers. It was a vital function in the success of the trek. Now we have experienced youth who will be an asset with their ham radios in the event of future disasters."
Brother Cannon noted that the radios were an asset when it came to removing rattlesnakes from the trail.