COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - A group of 13 Rollins College students have come from Orlando to literally be immersed in crisis management. They are the first college students to do this kind of program with the Waldo Canyon Wildfire. Photo Journalist Joe Yates and I caught up with the group at the Flying W Ranch which was one of the epicenters of the Waldo Canyon Wildfire.
Student Jonathan Perry was with the others scraping and seeding the blackened area but also coming away with a unique perspective from this outside of the classroom education, "This is what we want to do. We will hopefully be those people who step up and respond to events like the Waldo Canyon Wildfire and seeing what it takes."
Rollins College staffer and graduate, Adrianne Benso told me the week long experience which ends on Monday is a hallmark of the school's push to help students mold themselves into good citizens and leaders, "Rollins College believes this is too important not to do for students. These are students from different majors. You get students out of their comfort zone so they can learn the complex social issues that go along with a crisis and rebuilding of it." Benso says this is her 10th immersion program she's been a part of, "This is such a critical need that students learn just as much outside the classroom as they do inside."
David Lord is a Rollins alum and lives in Colorado Springs. He told me, "These young people will get an opportunity in their lives in some community, somewhere and be faced with a crisis and have to deal with it." The students aren't just seeding the Flying W hillside, they are also growing ideas of their own about how they'd handle future crisis events from leaders who handled this one and are handling the effects of it, right now