Some Lawrence teen-agers may be going to camp this summer. Or hanging out at the pool. Or working at a fast-food restaurant.
But nearly 100 young people will be donating four to six hours a week this summer to learn about medical careers.
It's all part of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Auxiliary's Junior Volunteer Program.
"The Junior Volunteer program has been around for a number of years, but we haven't ever had the interest level that we have had right now," said Allyson Leland, director of LMH's Volunteer Services. "This year we have three times more kids than we've ever had."
A total of 88 youths, aged 13 and older, attended a training session last week at LMH and another 10 were being trained this week.
"Our biggest year was 35 to 40," Leland said. "Last year we had 25."
Why so many now?
"ONE THING IS we lowered the age range from 14 to 13," she said.
Also, the orientation period was moved from a Saturday in May to the first Monday in June which gives students more time to decide how they want to spend their summers.
Another reason is that local youth now are geared toward community service, Leland said.
"I think there's a greater awareness among young people about volunteer work than there has been in the past," she said.
Still another reason for increased interest in the program has to do with academic requirements. Leland said students interested in health careers sometimes find volunteer work is required for admittance to a medical academic program.
The volunteer program, which is chaired this year by Catherine Garrett and Jennifer Stone, requires students to serve a certain amount of time each week at the hospital.
THE TEEN-AGERS involved obligate themselves for a minimum of three to four hours at least one day a week, "and they usually end up working more," Leland said.
The students find themselves assisting the hospital's business staff as well as nurses.
"This year we have volunteers with the surgery department and with medical records and physical therapy," Leland said. "We have a total of 17 areas they could be in."
In the surgery department, the volunteers help transport patients, do some typing or run errands, she said.
In physical therapy, the volunteers also transport patients, or escort patients to treatment areas. They can be asked to let therapists know when patients have arrived or to make sure clean linens and other supplies are in place.
BEFORE BEING assigned to their particular area, all volunteers undergo a one-day training program.
"That involves everything from talking about confidentiality while they are working to learning how to feed a patient and make a bed," Leland said.
All of the volunteers also receive tuberculosis skin tests and must learn the hospital's rules and regulations.
"I personally don't believe that volunteers should do jobs that paid people should be doing," Leland said. "They should assist the staff so that the staff is free to do something to benefit the patient and so the professional staff has time to provide the hands-on care to the patient."
Leland said most of the volunteers, who formerly were called "candystripers," were girls.
"It's probably about five to one ratio," she said. "They have to wear uniforms. In the past, they had to wear the traditional candy-striped pinafores.
"THIS YEAR the boys and girls are wearing teal polo shirts and their identifying name tag and then khaki pants."
Many of the volunteers in the past have entered health fields, and some have received academic scholarships from the LMH Auxiliary.
"Several of our nurses who spoke at orientation said they started their profession as candystripers," Leland said. "I think it helps to have that exposure early on."
Two volunteers said they were enjoying their first week on the job.
Lori Dillehay, 2541 Mo., a 16-year-old junior at Lawrence High School, said this was her third year in the program.
"I'm interested in a medical career of some type, but I wasn't really sure what area yet," she said.
In past summers, she's worked in pediatrics, radiology and dietary departments.
"THIS SUMMER I'm doing physical therapy," Dillehay said. "I think it's really a good program."
She said she enjoyed working with patients.
"They're really nice and they're really fun," she said. "Anything you do makes them happy."
Angie Hattabaugh, 2416 Yale Rd., a 13-year-old West Junior High School student, said this was her first year in the program.
"I want a career in the medical field, but I don't know what," Hattabaugh said.
She also will be working in physical therapy.
"It's fun, and I've learned a lot," she said.