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Post members Explore careers in vet medicine

April 17, 2006|by JANET HEIM

MAUGANSVILLE - When 15-year-olds Lacey Watson and Brandi Mellott completed career-interest surveys at their high schools, the two Washington County teens had never met. Now the two have become friends through their love for animals and a common desire to become veterinary technicians.

The survey, distributed by the Mason-Dixon Council of Boy Scouts of America, was designed to help the council focus its efforts for the Explorers program. Explorers Posts provide male and female teens with a structured format to explore careers.

Participants elect officers and are responsible for designing their program based on career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character education and leadership experience.

Lacey and Brandi, along with other youths, expressed an interest in the field of animal care. Margaret Rhoads, volunteer coordinator at the Humane Society of Washington County, agreed to be the post adviser.

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"We met in this program. I've been to every meeting," said Lacey, who attends Hancock Middle-Senior High School. "I want to be a vet tech."

"Me, too," said Brandi, a student at Williamsport High School.

Since the post began meeting in October 2005, the members have visited a vet clinic, learned about pet grooming, met with a trainer from Guiding Eyes for the Blind and participated in a seminar about playing with puppies led by professional trainer Pat Miller.

At the last meeting, Kelly Tracey-Martin, a licensed vet technician and instructor for the veterinary assistant program at Hagerstown Community College, led a hands-on seminar in the shelter's vet clinic. She explained the medications used to treat animals, and described the various medical conditions veterinarians treat and how to do a basic physical.

The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. A farm visit to learn about being a large-animal veterinarian is scheduled for April 26.

"This is an exciting time for the shelter. We're growing and expanding our services and education programs and hosting an Explorers Post is part of that growth," Rhoads said. "Giving teens an opportunity to explore, up close and personal, a career with animals, is very rewarding for me personally."

There are six explorers posts in Washington County, said Bob Holsinger, district director of the Mason-Dixon Council. In addition to the post at the Humane Society, there is a medical post, through Washington County Hospital, a fire-related post at First Hose Co. in Hagerstown, a rescue post at Community Rescue Service and two posts at Hagerstown Business College, one for business and one for computers.

Holsinger said there are about 100 students involved in the six posts. The program is open to students ages 14 to 20.

For more information about the Humane Society's Explorers Post, call Margaret Rhoads at 301-733-2060, ext. 212.

To learn more about other Explorers Posts, call the Mason-Dixon Council at 301-739-1211.

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