In a few days, five intrepid young British Red Cross volunteers will be boarding a plane bound for Belgrade, Serbia. Their mission? To take part in the Red Cross of Serbia’s first aid training camp. Before images of ‘band camp’ (but with bandages) jump into your head please let me explain…

Every year, 28 National Red Cross / Red Crescent Societies gather to take part in the European first aid competition.  This competition pits teams of elite first aiders against each other as they tackle a range of challenging situations such as staged bus crashes, shootings and other incidents. I was lucky enough to take part in the 2009 competition and you can read all about my experiences in previous posts.

The Red Cross of Serbia take this competition very seriously. Their team has won the last three competitions (impressive stuff indeed). As part of their training, they run intensive weeklong first aid camps. We’ve been invited to take a team of young first aiders along to train along side the Serbian team. This camp will stretch their first aid skills to the limit as they work alongside their Serbian colleagues.

Leading the team is Lottie Stevens (16). Lottie, pictured, joined the Red Cross aged 15 and is an active peer educator. I caught up with her recently and asked her what she was expecting from the trip – “I’m hoping to gain more skills and soak up the culture of Serbia. First aid competitions are useful because they are so realistic which helps develop your confidence in emergency situations”.

None of these young volunteers are super heroes, they’re just ordinary young people who’ve chosen to volunteer their time. Sound interesting? There’s a whole range of opportunities for young people in the Red Cross, find out how you can get involved today!

Update: The young volunteers that visited the Red Cross of Serbia were in no way related to the British Red Cross team which participated at FACE 2010 in Belgrade. This was a separate trip designed to give our young people experience of how a different National Society operates and to extend their first aid skills.