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Summer camper comes full circle at VCU Health

Nine years after attending summer camp in a hospital, a nurse gets hired at the same health system.

A group of teenagers learn CPR in a classroom. A group of summer campers at VCU Health CMH in 2014 learn CPR. (VCU Health CMH Education Department, Hazel Willis)

By Hazel Willis

You never know what impact you may have on someone’s life and the career paths they may choose based on early education opportunities. For 18 years, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Career Scene Investigation summer camp has been inspiring the next generation of healthcare providers and scientists. One of those teenage campers is now looking to make an impact by serving some of Central Virginia’s youngest patients.

Cassandra Smith, of South Hill, recently shared with the CMH Education Department that her daughter, Lucy Smith, has been studying nursing at Radford University and is currently working for the neonatal intensive care unit at Roanoke Carilion Hospital. After graduating in May, Lucy plans to start working for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU as a pediatric intensive care nurse. 

“Several years ago, Lucy attended one of your camps at CMH. That educational experience proved to be the first step of her journey to a career in the medical field,” Cassandra wrote in an email.  

Nurse wearing grey scrubs.
Lucy Smith (Radford University)

Along the way, Lucy earned EMT certifications, volunteered for the Southside Rescue Squad and worked for LifeStar patient transport services. Her mother attributes her daughter’s interests in nursing and medicine to CMH’s summer camp. 

“Thank you for your dedication to providing such an enriching experience for our young people,” Cassandra said.

Students still have the opportunity to get involved in CMH’s Career Scene Investigation summer camp, which will be held from July 24 to July 28. Seventh and eighth graders in Brunswick, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg counties can apply for the camp online by visiting the Community Resources page on CMH’s website at vcuhealth.org/cmh. The deadline to apply is May 1. For more information or for an application, please call Hazel Willis in the Education Department at CMH at (434) 584-5438. 

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