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Redmond high student's experience with hurricanes leads to Redmond Ready Day for teens

Julia Doherty (left) being sworn in as a national council delegate for Girl Scouts of Western Washington by chair Catherine Gelband at the 2014 Annual Meeting on Feb. 8. - Courtesy of Julia Doherty
Julia Doherty (left) being sworn in as a national council delegate for Girl Scouts of Western Washington by chair Catherine Gelband at the 2014 Annual Meeting on Feb. 8.
— image credit: Courtesy of Julia Doherty

At the age of 16, Julia Doherty is no stranger to disaster.

In fact, by age 7, she became well versed in catastrophes in a very short amount of time.

“I went through four hurricanes in Florida,” she said. “They were all in the same year.”

The Redmond resident — who was born in the Pacific Northwest but lived in the Sunshine State until eighth grade before moving back — said it was hard for her to understand what was happening during that time. While her family knew the hurricanes were coming and prepared for the storms, Doherty said, “as a kid, (she) didn’t know what that meant.” With the threat of disaster upon them, she said no one took the time to explain to her what was going to happen.

Having gone through such traumatic events at such a young age, the Redmond High School (RHS) junior is now doing her part to make sure young people are more educated about what they can do in the case of an emergency.

For her Girl Scouts Gold Award, Doherty has been working with the City of Redmond’s Office of Emergency Management to help teens prepare for emergency situations.

“We developed a curriculum for the Redmond Ready Day, which is already established, but for teens,” she said.

Redmond Ready Day is an event that encourages a culture of preparedness for City of Redmond employees and the public.

The next event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow in the Redmond Police station training room, 8701 160th Ave. N.E. For teens ages 15-17, registration is free. Adults can register for $25. Light refreshments and a gift for attending will be provided by Redmond Citizen Corps Council. Visit www.redmondready.org to register online and for more information.

Doherty said at Redmond Ready Day, people will be able to become cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid certified. Before the training begins, there will be a Power Point presentation with information about how to prepare for disaster as well as what types of natural disasters are likely to hit this area.

Doherty said for her part, she worked with city staff to redevelop the Power Point to include information for teens. In addition, she will present that portion of the Power Point to the crowd on Saturday as well as help run and oversee the event.

“This is my first big event,” said Doherty, who has helped organize and run small Girl Scout events in the past. “This is very massive.”

While she may be nervous about tomorrow, Doherty’s mother, Patty Doherty, is confident her daughter will do a “super job.” Patty said her daughter has always been a good project manager and very resourceful. She said Julia has always had a passion about disaster preparedness since those four hurricanes in Florida.

“She learned a lot from our elders,” Patty said, adding that Julia wants to pass that knowledge on to her friends so they can be resourceful if and when disaster strikes here. “I love her passion. She’s a natural motivator.”

In preparing for the event, she has put in about 80 hours of work — the minimum amount required for a Gold Award project.

Doherty, who is part of Girl Scouts Troop 52334 at RHS, said the Gold Award is the final award a scout can earn — the equivalent of an Eagle Scout for boys. This “take action” project is open only to scouts in high school and requires measurability, sustainability and focus on a specific issue.

Doherty joined Girl Scouts when she was in fifth grade, saying she felt it was important to be an active member of her community and the scouts in her community in Florida were very service oriented. She continued participating when she moved back to Redmond because enjoyed making friends with the girls she met. She said she also learned things about team building, leadership and even business that she did not learn about in school.

Outside of Girl Scouts, Doherty is the captain of the RHS swim team and very involved in the school’s drama department. She said these three activities keep her busy and there is not much time for anything else.

“I’m either at rehearsal or practice or a Girl Scouts meeting or school,” she said with a laugh.

 

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