Two female high school students examine a skeleton on a table

Mont Alto MedCamp

A unique blend of hands-on work with many different health care professionals allows high schoolers to explore career options

It was obvious that Samantha Gembe, Waynesboro (Pa.) took her week at MedCamp very seriously. During every instructional session, the 10th grader instinctively jotted down notes – not wanting to miss a morsel of knowledge. Experiences with her grandparents’ hospitalizations sparked the teen’s interest in healthcare.

“MedCamp was a way for me to explore as many medical careers as I could. I learned that there’s much more to the medical field that being a doctor or a nurse,” she said.

Samantha was one of 34 students, in 9th and 10th grade, who attended Penn State Mont Alto’s 14th annual MedCamp to learn about careers in the health care and medical fields. The camp, held June 17-21, cost $280 which included lunch, snacks and transportation to field trips. The week-long, day camp introduced participants to medical careers with hands-on activities and field trips to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, Wilson College and Shenandoah University.

Student campers explored a number of healthcare careers including: nursing, anatomy, neurology, radiology, emergency medicine, surgery, dentistry, physical therapy, occupational therapy and veterinary medicine.

Pennie Folmar, Drifting, Pa., and her daughter Katlyn traveled three hours to the camp. Instead of making the trek each day, the mother-daughter duo stayed in a local hotel near the campus.

“She’s learned a lot (at MedCamp). She’s been able to narrow down what she wants to do – which is invaluable for her,” said Folmar.

After a week of exploration, Katlyn plans to pursue a career in pediatric or cardiac surgery.

Camp Director Renee Borromeo said it’s no surprise to her that students travel from the tri-state region to attend the one-of-a-kind camp.

“I’ve never seen one just like it anywhere. We have a unique blend of many different health professionals that work with the kids and provide a multitude of hands-on activities. I have yet to see one that offers as much as we do,” she said.

Initially, Sadie Garbinski, rising sophomore from Mercersburg (Pa.), wanted to go into dentistry, but a week at MedCamp changed her mind. Now, she’s leaning toward a career in nursing after she participated in a mock surgery during a field trip to WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital.

“At lot of things you do at this camp, you wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else,” she said.

MedCamp 2020 will be held in June. The application process will open online in mid-February.