Memorial Hospital Health Camp Inspires Youth to Enter Health Care Careers
August 03, 2023
NORTH CONWAY, NH—Instead of asking kids “What do you want to be when you grow up,” the Mount Washington Valley School to Career Partnership (MWVSCP) shows kids what is possible. MWVSCP is a collection of week-long summer camps designed to introduce local middle school students entering grades seventh through ninth to a variety of career opportunities available in the valley.
Maya Eastwood, now a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital, recalls attending Health Camp, one of the longest standing and most popular week-long camps hosted by MWVSCP. “I loved Health Camp as a kid. At the time I had just had knee surgery the fall before and I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor force participation is still down in comparison to February of 2020. Health care in particular is an industry vying for new workers. With early retirees accounting for some of the discrepancy, many employers have their eye toward the incoming generation of workers with new and creative workforce development strategies.
Marta Ramsey, a clinical educator in Memorial’s education department, has taken the lead on health camp for the past twenty years. Other facilitating partners include SOLO Wilderness Medicine, North Country Dental, White Mountain Community Health Center, Jackson Police Department and North Conway Fire Department.
Ramsey looks back on the success of the program, “We take pride in knowing that the reputation and history of Health Camp includes being one of the two original MWVSCP camps; Health Camp and Culinary. Even with the now eight camps, Health Camp continues to be one of the most popular choices and is always the first to fill up.”
Memorial Hospital has participated in Health Camp as a sponsor and program facilitator since its inception in 2002. Like Eastwood, there are a number of Health Camp graduates who have advanced in a health care career, many of whom are also employed at Memorial. Participants spend the week exploring health care careers. Campers earn their CPR certification and experience hands-on simulations with real equipment including taking vital signs, drawing blood, giving injections and suturing wounds.
“I loved the idea of helping people,” recalls Eastwood. “The part of Health Camp I remember the most is testing our blood type because I remember being excited that I was O-negative, the universal donor. I also remember practicing starting an IV on the rubber arm.”
Ramsey recalls the many career paths she has seen camp graduates take, “We have seen kids from this camp go into health care as nurses, LNAs, surgical techs, orthopedic PAs, physical therapists, imaging techs, biomedical engineers, paramedics, EMTs and veterinarians - just to name a few!”
“Marta (Ramsey) deserves an award for all she has done to make Health Camp grow and earn a prestigious reputation in the community,” says Nurse Practitioner Mary Vigeant, one of the camp presenters. “She really placed a spotlight on health careers.”
Beyond Health Camp, Memorial Hospital prides itself on offering innovative training programs, many of which pay participants while they learn. The Medical Assistant Training Program is one that hires entry level workers to complete the training program and guarantees an interview for full-time employment upon completion.
“Memorial Hospital and MaineHealth are committed to creating opportunities for employment and growth in our community,” says Beth Carpenter, Human Resources Director at Memorial Hospital. “Health Camp is the first step to inspiring kids to consider a career in health care. From there, we can help them develop their skills. Earn while you learn training programs are a great launching point to start a meaningful career in health care.”
To learn more about workforce development opportunities at Memorial Hospital and MaineHealth, email email@example.com and ask about career growth opportunities. To sign up a middle school student for Health Camp next summer, visit mwvschooltocareer.org or contact Joe Riddensdale, Summer Camp Coordinator, at 207-890-6558.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org.