Young Explorers: Local high schoolers mentoring at Warwick Ambulance

By on December 13, 2017

Five local high school students (in red) are participating in a Boy Scouts Explorer Post at the Warwick Community Ambulance Association. Shown (front row, left to right) are volunteer William Bufis, Sarah Quiros, and Nevaya Warfel; (standing, l-r) Michael White, Selena Barr, director Marlene Barr, and Kenna Hayden.

Sarah Quiros hopes to go into medicine one day. Selena Barr wants to become a paramedic or an emergency room nurse. Michael White has aspirations to be an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Quiros, Barr, and White are among five high school students who are participating in a Boy Scouts Explorer Post at the Warwick Community Ambulance Association. There are four girls and one boy who are all learning about the ins and outs of being part of the local ambulance.

The Explorer Post was started in October, and since then, the young people have been meeting with their director Marlene Barr, who is captain of the Warwick Community Ambulance. They have had classes on CPR techniques, AED operation, respiratory emergencies and basic first aid.

“The Explorer program is essentially a way for youth to shadow in different careers,” says Barr. “Here at Warwick ambulance, the teens are able to see what we do and learn about being an EMT or paramedic.

It’s also a good way for the Warwick Community Ambulance Association to recruit future volunteers and employees. The Explorers teens are aged 14 to 17. By the time they are 18, they can join the ambulance association as a volunteer.

Barr notes that the ambulance has about eight volunteers and 30 employees, some full and others part-time. There is a growing trend toward having paid employees, rather than volunteers, because there is so much training involved and there is a need for highly qualified emergency personnel who are stationed at the ambulance and ready to respond immediately.

The young Explorers have the opportunity to find out if a career in medicine or emergency services is a good fit for them. In coming weeks, they will have the opportunity to go out on ambulance call to observe. They will get to talk to emergency personnel to find out what the job involves.

“They will need to find out if they will be able to emotionally handle what happens when we go out on a call. It can be an accident, an injury, a medical emergency. It can be tough,” says Barr.

Some of the young Explorers already have a pretty good idea of what EMT life is like. Selena Barr, 15, is a freshman at Warwick High School. She is Marlene Barr’s daughter, and her father, Scott Barr, is a volunteer EMT in Rothsville.

“I have grown up with both of my parents involved with the ambulance,” says Barr, who feels confident that she too will become a paramedic or an ER nurse when she is older. She hopes to become a volunteer when she is 18.

Nevaya Warfel, 14, is a freshman at Lancaster Catholic High School. Her mother is a hospice nurse and Warfel is interested in the medical field, possibly as a behavioral analyst. She might want to be an ambulance volunteer, and even if she doesn’t take that path, learning CPR is always a valuable skill to have.

Kenna Hayden, 16, a junior at Linden Hall, agrees. She thinks it is important to know what to do if someone suffers a heart attack or an injury. She has always been interested in the medical field, and might want to be a doctor, nurse, or veterinarian.

“I’m not sure yet if I want to work with people or animals,” says Hayden, who joined Explorers with her friend, Sarah Quiros, 15.

Quiros is a sophomore at Linden Hall and volunteers in with Hayden at the emergency room at Pinnacle Health (formerly Heart of Lancaster). She hopes to go into medicine and might want to work with the ambulance. She once had the opportunity to ride in the ambulance and was impressed with the way the ambulance personnel treated the people they were helping.

“They had such compassion for people who were sick or injured and scared. They treated the patients with such kindness,” says Quiros.

Michael White, 15, a sophomore at Ephrata High School, is pretty certain he wants to be an EMT. Both parents and his sister have been EMTs. He grew up with it and feels confident that will be his career one day. Coming to the Explorer meetings helps to reinforce his intentions.

William Bufis, 18, is a 2017 Warwick High School graduate, who is already serving as a volunteer for the Warwick Community Ambulance Association. He is a role model for the younger Explorers.

“I am enrolled in the EMT program at HACC, and I volunteer here maybe 20 to 40 hours a week,” says Bufis. “I want to be an EMT and then later, become a paramedic.”

For Marlene Barr, having young people who are interested in serving the community is heartening. They are motivated to learn about CPR and first aid, and might one day save someone’s life.

“What better goal could a young person have?” says Barr.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at

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