Brandon Kathman For Immediate Release:
Sr. District Executive 10/17/2022
First responders share skills with local Scouts
Over 125 Scouts from across southeastern Michigan gathered at Orion Township’s Camp
Agawam on Oct. 15 for an “Emergency-o-ree,” a campout where first responders offered
experiential training for responding to emergencies.
“I’m so grateful for all of the volunteers that created this hands-on learning experience, especially
the first responders,” John Pineau, program chair for Scouting’s local Pontiac-Manito District,
According to Pineau, Orion Township Fire and Rescue, West Bloomfield Fire and Rescue, Star
EMS, the Oakland County Dive Rescue Team and the Lake Orion Police Department all ran
stations during the campout. The Oakland Township Fire Department’s Fire Safety House, a
trailer converted to simulate a burning building, was parked on site for Scouts to practice safely
escaping a house fire.
Event organizer Tom Houlihan, a sheriff’s deputy in Oakland County, said the event was the result
of years of planning.
“In all honesty, I feel a sense of relief and gratitude that it went so well,” Houlihan said. “It was a
good day; the kids had fun, and it was very gratifying.”
In the afternoon, older youth participants faced a surprise “mass casualty drill.” Twelve event staff
members donned latex wounds and staged a mock accident for Scouts to practice first aid. Some
posed as burn victims, while others nursed fractured limbs. On arriving at the scene, Scouts had to
determine which victims to treat first and how to ultimately evacuate them.
“I hope younger scouts learned more about first aid and how to handle stressful situations,” Life
Scout Paavo Nurmi, 17, said.
After completing the drill, the youth were given feedback on the choices they made during the
exercise. According to Houlihan, the simulation provided a safe environment to learn from any
“The next time you do this, it may be real blood, real broken bones and real fire,” Houlihan told
participants during the debriefing. “You may need to be a hero.”
Scouts to host pancake breakfast for Ukrainian refugees
The scouts of Troop 189 will host a pancake breakfast in partnership with Clarkston United Methodist Church on April 16, the proceeds of which will help those displaced by the war in Ukraine.
“After watching the news, we were inspired to find a way for Troop 189 to help,” Ryan Snudden, 17, a scout with Troop 189, said.
According to the troop’s leaders, a former scout now living abroad gave them the idea for the fundraiser. Eagle Scout Oskar Benson and his family moved from Clarkston to Kraków, Poland, in 2022. Since the invasion began in February, as many as 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have sought safety in neighboring Poland, according to the Polish Border Guard. Twelve of them found it in the Benson family home.
“Being able to help provide these people a meal, a shower, clean clothes, and a safe place to rest when they need it the most has been an extremely rewarding and satisfying way to serve,” Julie Benson, Oskar’s mother, said. “I’m glad we are here and able to make their lives a little easier and help them regain their dignity during this tragic time.”
The funds raised during the event will be earmarked and divided between three nonprofits presently supporting Ukrainian refugees: the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the Plast National Scout Organization of Ukraine and the Polish Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“The conflict overseas has weighed heavily on our hearts and minds,” Assistant Scoutmaster Ryan Weaver said. “I believe we have an amazing opportunity here to not only do something good for those in need, but also teach the youth in our program a valuable lesson.”
The breakfast will be served in the community center of Clarkston United Methodist Church, and diners can be seated at any time between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. Plates will include pancakes with a side of sausage. Adults eat for $10, while those 10 and under are only $5. Children under 3 eat for free, and gluten-free options are available. The troop can accept cash or checks, but not cards.
“The Scout Oath charges us to help other people at all times,” Weaver said. “It’s my hope that the scouts walk away from this experience having learned how easy it is to keep this promise, even on a large scale.”