KUSA - Roxanne Freeman is like many teenagers. She can focus on her school work at Dakota Ridge High School. She likes to share a good laugh with her friends. But, she also likes to do something many teenagers do not get to do - save people's lives.
"Not very many people will have this experience that I do, getting to work like an adult, work for an emergency team like an adult would - as a high school student," said Freeman, a senior at Dakota Ridge High School.
She is a member of the Arapahoe Rescue Patrol, the only youth-based search-and-rescue team in the United States. But, they train like professional adults.
"Hazmat, driver training, navigation, map and compass, communication," Freeman said. "How to drive in an emergency situation and to treat somebody in critical condition."
Freeman and three other classmates at Dakota Ridge High School are just a few of the 30 teenagers involved in the team that's been around since 1957.
"I love the mountains. I love helping people," said Kelly Ingraham, a senior at Dakota Ridge High School. "It's really cool being a part of something bigger than yourself."
But, Freeman says, even though the team has a rich history, some people still cannot believe its comprised of high school students train help people lost in the wild.
"That is the perception because we're all teenagers and that's one of our biggest problems is that people don't take us seriously," Freeman said.
Justin Kanaber is the Chief of the patrol and one of the few adult members of the team. He says students learn valuable life lessons.
"They do know what they're doing. They do know what they're talking about," Kanaber said. "They can handle this quote-unquote adult job."
This is their yearly recruiting season and Kanaber says they need to replenish their numbers which used to around 80 members.
"We're graduating, I believe, nine members this year from the patrol," Kanaber said.
If you are interested, the team is holding three meetings for new recruits. They will all be held at Littleton Fire Station #12 at 6529 South Broadway. The first meeting is on March 27th at 6:00 p.m. The next meeting is on April 11th at 6:00 p.m. The third new recruit meeting will be April 13th at 9:00 a.m.
"I never imagined I would be doing something like this," Ingraham said.
If you would like to know more, check out their web site at: http://www.arapahoerescue.org/
"Nowadays, it's really difficult to be involved in something as a teenager, involved in something professional and serious and having to do with other people's lives at stake," Freeman said.
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