I have fond memories of doing first aid for girls camp.  I loved certification and I loved learning more about how to better care for myself and others in any situation.  I really want to pass on my love of this knowledge so I brainstormed as to how I could make this more fun and interesting than the standard read out of the book > take test > sign off approach.  That’s how Rosa happened.

Meet Rosa. Rosa is a life size pinata!

I wanted something funny/different/useful and really, is there anything better than a life-size pinata to accomplish that?  Since we weren’t certifying with a legit CPR instructor with fancy dummies I felt like Rosa would just have to be a replacement.  She is unfortunately no where near anatomically correct…but that didn’t keep us from trying to save her.  We didn’t judge Rosa for her giant head and peg arms.

I brought an assortment of first aid kits including a mini one that I put together at the dollar store just to give the girls an example of what they could easily put together with only a few dollars and a little creativity.

Our schedule looked like this:

  • 7:00:  Meet together and have opening exercises
  • 7:15-7:45:  Group into years and learn skills, test and put together skit to teach the big group
  • 7:45-8:10 Perform skits and add additional thoughts to each year.
  • 8:10-8:30 Learn and practice CPR and Heimlich
  • 8:30 Destroy and eat contents of life size pinata


A few Tuesday’s before I had met with the YCL’s (youth camp leaders) and assigned pairs of them different years for first aid (the same night we did our leadership training).  One pair had to learn all the first aid for the 1st year campers, another pair for the second years and so on.  Some came well prepared with props and everything and others were more minimally prepared…either way it went well.  We started off having them split into their years with their coordinating pair of YCL’s and I gave them half an hour to learn the skills, test and then put together a skit as a group to teach the large group what they learned.

I prepared the following tests:

The 4th years are supposed to learn the carry-holds and also review skills from years past so I allowed them to use their book for the test.  The other 3 groups I encouraged to take their test closed books.  I emphasized questions that I thought were most important to our group-specifically the emphasis on heat exhaustion.  Amazingly 30 minutes was a good window of time for them to get through all they needed to do.  The skits were minimally prepared, but they didn’t need to be scripted or elaborate.  Most groups used Rosa to demonstrate their skills-and it was both educational and hilarious.


Poor Rosa.  After each group performed all of the standard first aid from their year I added my 2 cents.  Here are my discussion notes for each years skit:

FIRST YEARS (performed purpose of first aid, excessive bleeding, caravat bandage folding, first aid kit contents and uses. Girls Camp Manual pg 8):

  1. Reviewed contents of my favorite first aid kit and why:
  • All the standard stuff ie bandaids, neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, gauze, (see girls camp manual, pg 46)
  • non-applicator tampons for nose bleeds
  • maxi-pads for ALL bleeding
  • cravat bandage with a review of uses
  • flashlight
  • why we use gloves (they’re even more for our protection than others)
  • non-rebreather facemask
  • PRID
  1. width=1Do we ever remove a dressing from excessive bleeding?  NO.


SECOND YEARS (performed shock, fainting, heat exhaustion/heat stroke, hypothermia, and frostbite. Girls Camp Manual pg 11):

  1. What’s the most important thing you can do to prevent heat exhaustion?  Once again, living in Southern Utah this is the injury we’re most likely to be dealing with at camp so I want to make sure the girls truly understand how to prevent it for themselves and how to spot it and treat it in others.


THIRD YEARS (performed insect bites or stings, burns, blisters, and snakebites. Girls Camp Manual pg 14):

  1. Insect Bites:  PRIDwidth=1.  PRIDwidth=1 is an old school homeopathic drawing salve and it works magic when it comes to bug/spider bites.  You can get it cheaper at wal-mart, but I included the link to amazon so you can get a look-see.
  2. Should you dress a burn?  NO.  I keep seeing all this instruction to dress a burn with dry dressings…don’t do it.  Not if it’s a bad burn that you’re going to the hospital for.  Burns are sticky and anything you put on them has to come off.  I just remember discussing that in my Emergency Medical training and it was a big pet peeve of ambulance crews.
  3. Snake Bite Review. This is a great article about how to treat snakebites.  Since this is another common and serious injury in our area I wanted to spend extra time reviewing it.


 FOUTH YEARS (broken bones and transports. Girls Camp Manual pg 17):

  1. What else could you use to transport someone?  I wanted them to get creative because sometimes you have to!


CPR (See this manual from the American Red Cross)

CPR-CertificationNext we discussed CPR.  CPR is something I have to stay up-to-date on for my job, but just to be sure I found the newest guidelines here from the American Red Cross, updated January 2015.  Lucky for us, this night is not the first exposure to CPR most of our girls are getting.  The majority had learned about it at school or previous camps so this was a review. I wrote up on the board the following:

  1. ASSESS the situation.  Begin CALL-CHECK-CARE  OBSERVE-are you or the victim in danger?
  2. CALL for help or send someone to do so.
  3. CHECK for breathing and pulse using LOOK, LISTEN & FEEL.
  4. CHECK for severe bleeding (we don’t want to be pumping blood out of someone so that needs to be treated)
  5. CARE for the victim:  COMPRESS 2 using 2 hands, Check AIRWAY after initial compressions. 30 compressions to 2 BREATHS, 100 breaths per minute. (It’s CAB now instead of ABC).

It is best to breath for a patient but if you are unable or unwilling to do so it is acceptable to provide compressions only at a rate of 100 per minute.


I highly recommend finding someone that has had to perform CPR to come and tell about the incident.  My biggest goal for the girls is for them to understand that all of this information is applicable and important for them.  In the event of an accident we need people prepared to be running toward the fire instead of away from it and the more knowledge we can give them the better prepared they will be for when that day will come.  I always tell my story of my run in in the wild instead of while working in the medical field because it paints a picture of how these skills really are valuable.

pumpani I then threw Rosa on the floor and went through a few scenarios emphasizing one part or another.  One included a dangerous situation (DO NOT put yourself in danger to help someone else), one included excessive  bleeding (don’t do compressions on someone bleeding out severely) and one included a compromised airway (don’t put your mouth on someone you don’t know or is bleeding around the mouth).  I made sure to talk  about how likely it is for people to puke after CPR if they do come around and what to do in that situation (roll them to the side and make sure they have a clear airway).

I very quickly then had the girls split up into their yearly groups again and demonstrate on their YCL where you would do chest compressions, how to assess using LOOK LISTEN and FEEL, and proper hand position.  It’s very important to me that they get over the weirdness of touching another person and this is one of the easiest ways to get over that or at least begin that process.  People die surrounded by others who are too scared, too grossed out or too unfamiliar to help and I don’t want that to happen to my girls.


Super easy.  I used Rosa to demonstrate and then also used a volunteer.  We talked about what to do if the person was too big to put your arms around them, pregnant or if they became unconscious.  We also talked about how important it was for the girls to properly signal (hands up to the throat) that they were choking if they were and not to run off to the bathroom alone!


I opened it up for questions and then, FINALLY, we destroyed Rosa and ate all of her guts.  The whole activity was really successful.  My plan is to go from this to doing a mock disaster at camp where they then need to use all of these skills!



I hope this post helped you get going with first aid for girls camp.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me-I\’d love to help!  And if you have anything to add-comment below!  I\’d love some feedback for next year!


  1. I am in charge of this for our ward as well. I am needing I Rosa – did you freaking make her? I will pay you big money to make me one!!!

  2. Brandi Dimmick Baker

    Thank you! I am using some of these ideas to make my training work. Love the pinata! It is just what I needed! My kids thank you too as they were going to be my pretend victims.

  3. The links for the different camp years test isn’t working. Is there anyway that I can get those?

  4. Do you have any more posts like this one related to camping activities? I am fron Guatemala our stake is new and I got called as a stake camp leader and I have just three months to plan the whole camp and I think this first aid activity is great.

  5. As amember of the Church who is a Scout leader of a community coed Venturing Crew & Sea Scout Ship, I am troubled with statements made in the blog concerning CPR & First Aid. By admitting that you are not a qualified licensed instructor or gave what qualifying agency, if any was used, you have put yourself and the program at risk. LDS girls in my units are shocked when they find out this “pseudo 1st aid training does not count and most times learned incorrectly. Please put out a clarified that proper certification is a must! I am trying to save lives not give misplaced hope and potentential legal problems or death because of “good intentions”.

    1. Scout Leader:

      Hi! You realize that the scouting program and the girls camp program are two very different things? Unfortunately the church puts very little into actually teaching many of these life-saving skills to our young women and often CPR is skipped or glossed over and rarely, if ever, is a proper instructor hired to come and certify the girls because of the cost. I have only attended one girls camp certification in my life where a real instructor and real dummies were brought in and the girls were actually certified at $30 a head.

      While I am not a certified instructor, I am an Emergency Medical Technician and I have had extensive training in resuscitation and was hoping to educate other leaders (often called in with zero medical training) about where they could find more information and a good format to use. I cannot see any way in which I am putting any of the churchs programs at risk by providing this information-in no way does the church make any claims that their girls are certified in ANYTHING other than passing off Girls Camp Certification (which counts towards getting a certificate every year…). It’s unfortunate that the LDS girls you have in your program would think anything further.

      If you have other concerns about Girls Camp First Aid you’re welcome to take them up with your local church leadership. Personally I think it’s worth it to bring in an actual instructor and certify ALL of the youth properly, but that’s up to each and every ward individually to see if they have the budget for it. Our ward has 40 young women alone and wasn’t interested in dropping the $1200 to get them all CPR cards. Hopefully this is something that will improve in the future, but for the time being I’ll continue teaching the basic first aid that is included in the girls camp manual and help other leaders do the same. Thank you for your concern?



  8. Can you give me an idea of how much the pinata cost? You said you got it at 3 Amigos Market, can I order online? Where is the store located?
    I love this idea 🙂 Being called as a Camp director we are expected to do SO much for the girls. This year we are in a ward camp setting not a stake camp so I am feeling the pressure of trying to figure out how to get the certification done and I really like your idea. I think it will keep the girls focused and entertained.

    1. Hi! The 3 Amigos Market is a small mexican market in Southern Utah…I don’t think they have a website. I’m sure if you looked you could find something similar online? Good luck!

  9. Thank you so much! This was so great and as stated before, a great way to get through the Young Woman’s Camp first aid in a fun as well as an educational way 🙂
    Thanks a bunch!

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