YES to the Rescue Youth Emergency Services

Village Church youth are involved in community service and disaster response through their Youth Emergency Services or YES club. Eight young adult members of the College Place Village Church formed the first YES club in the Pacific Northwest in October 2001. Designed for academy- and college-age youth and young adults, YES clubs recruit, train, and mobilize young adults to participate in local Christian community service and provide disaster response during local earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. Since most of its members are over 18, the College Place YES team can also respond to national disasters.

Pastor Dan Solis, Village Church youth pastor, is the club’s instructor as well as a National Disaster Response Consultant. Club director Debbie Nelson and members Becca Nelson, Crystal Nelson, Candace Nelson, Ryan Allen, Amanda Schippers, and Jay Peterson completed Step Five training in August 2002, during the National Disaster Response Institute held at the College Place Village Church. In addition to YES club training, members also take classes from the Red Cross in basic life support and CPR. Certified Disaster Response team members can, in times of crisis, contact and act as liaison with various disaster relief agencies such as the Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Salvation Army. Members can set up and draw from multi-agency warehouses and donation centers where items are collected and sorted. They can also recruit and train volunteers to help operate the warehouses. YES club team members work to create public awareness about resources needed at warehouses or donation centers.

Last fall, YES club members participated in more than six local community service projects. Debi Nelson, club director, characterizes a typical YES club member as “an active agent for the improvement and welfare of the local community.” The College Place YES club works in conjunction with the Upper Columbia Conference Disaster Response coordinator or Adventist Community Services director. Adventist Community Services sponsors the nationwide YES program. The club typically meets every other week and is currently engaged in several fund-raising activities to purchase field uniforms.

If you are interested in starting a YES club in your church, contact Pastor Dan Solis at the College Place Village Church, Box 205 College Place, WA 99234.

Featured in: February 2003