BROOKVILLE — Nearly 300 second-graders enjoyed a fun day at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds last Thursday when Penn State Progressive Agriculture presented safety days.
The activities opened with Amanda Kanouff, 4-H Youth educator for Penn State Extension, welcoming the students, their teachers and other visitors. She said this year is the 25th anniversary of Safety Day presentations across the United States.
Kanouff introduced state Rep. Cris Dush, who told the second-graders that they would have a lot of fun during the day, and would also learn a lot to help them in the future. “Over 1 million kids have done this” during the past 25 years, he said. “You are going to have the chance to learn something new, and I know you are going to have a great time.
Throughout the day students visited a variety of stations, learning about everything from what to do if they found a gun on the ground to feeding a 2-week-old calf.
Second-graders had a chance to interact in several of the stations, with one of their favorites being the 9-1-1 simulator. As they were learning how to make a phone call to report an emergency, they were told that the more information they could provide, the more it would help the police. “You are the eyes and ears of the police in an emergency,” Chris Clark, deputy director of Jefferson County’s 911 Operations and Technology, told them.
Clark also told the youngsters never to make prank calls to 9-1-1. “We have ways of figuring out where you are,” he said, telling how they were able to find a second-grader in Brockway who had been making prank calls to 9-1-1 going to and from school.
“The principal and police found him on his bus. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his shoes when he got home that night and had to tell his mother. I’ll tell you a secret,” Clark said. “I’m more afraid of my mother than I am of the police.”
He also told the students that they have to be careful if they are using an old cell phone just to play games. “9-1-1 is the Universal way to call for help,” Clark said, and even “deactivated cell phones can still call 9-1-1.”
The students were divided into two groups for lunch. While half the classes enjoyed pizza, fruit, cookies and milk, the other half attended a presentation by Kaely Roen and Nate Weyandt, Penn State DuBois wildlife technicians.
“We want to show you how to be safe and still have fun outdoors,” they said. “Animals are more scared of you and will probably run and hide, unless it feels it needs to defend itself.”
During their presentation they showed animal skulls, talons, elk antlers, a mounted owl and a mounted coyote. They also played a safe and unsafe game, asking the second-graders if one of several activities, such as sharing their food with a wild animal, was safe or unsafe.
Brockway FFA students showed some of their farm animals to teach the second-graders another aspect of animal safety. Kyler Patton had his miniature donkey, Jasper, who is almost 3 years old; Weston Smith talked about his 3-week-old Holstein heifer calf; and Justin Smith showed his 4-month-old pig.
Other presentations included hidden hazards, bike safety, safe digging, electrical safety, good touch/bad touch, firearm safety, poison lookalikes, dog safety, ticks and lyme disease, poisonous plants, smoking education, Drug K-9 and bully bingo.
Students attending this year’s safety day were from Brookville, Brockway and C. G. Johnson in Reynoldsville.
Besides the students, the teachers also enjoyed the day at the fairgrounds. Mrs. Wise, a second-grade teacher from Brockway, said she has been going to the safety day programs for 15 years. “It gets better every year,” she said. “It was so nice to have Rep. Dush here, because he cares.”
Wise said her daughter participated in the safety day activities when she was in second grade. “She is a senior in high school and still wears her safety day shirt,” she said.
Kanouff said the day was a great success. “Pam (Passmore) and I are very thankful for the community organizations and volunteers who took time out of their busy schedule to work with our second grade guests at Safety Day. Their presentations were excellent and full of valuable information that we hope our youngsters will take home and share with their families and apply to their own life experiences.
“We also thank Representative Cris Dush who came out to spend some time at our event and spoke at our program opening.”
Kanouff said she wanted to give “a very big thank you to those who worked behind the scenes and provided support for the event —the planning committee, kitchen crew, photographers, the Jefferson County Fair Authority, and setup/cleanup crews. We couldn’t have had such a wonderful day without so much community support!”