Young European first-aiders from 10 Samaritan organisations in 9 countries competed in the 5th Samaritan Contest in Adria and Venice from August 7 to August 10, 2014. This year’s Contest was hosted by Italian SAM.I. member ANPAS.
Under the cheers of their team-mates and new found friends among the other young European Samaritans, the participants held up their trophies and winner’s certificates. Prizes were awarded for the best teams from each of the two age groups as well as for the individual best scores in each age group.
The individual winners of the younger group A were Juliane Säger (ASB Germany) and Matīss Ozols (LSA, Latvia). In the older group B, the individual awards went to Eva Medina (LSA, Latvia) and Antanas Žilakauskis (LSB, Lithuania).
In the group ranking, White Cross (WK) from South Tyrol won the 1st place for group A, with LSA, Latvia and ASBÖ, Austria on 2nd and 3rd place. ASB Germany won the 1st place for group B, followed by SFOP, Poland on 2nd and LSA, Latvia on 3rd place. The additional challenge cup for the best performance in the first aid category went to SFOP from Poland.
SAM.I. Secretary General Christian Reuter commented: “This makes me hope for a safe future with well qualified first-aiders. I was impressed to see the energy and motiviation with which the young people started into the competition.”
Mr. Reuter and the present members of the SAM.I.-Presidium also took the opportunity to thank all the local organisations and municipal authorities who supported the Contest and welcomed the young Samaritans to Adria and Venice.
The award ceremony on Saturday night marked the grand finale of three days of tasks which the participants had to compete in under the sunny sky of Adria and Venice.
The Contest started out on Thursday, August 7 with the creative task, in which the young Samaritans had to carry out a short stage play following the motto of the SAM.I. Year of Youth Engaged in First Aid: Heroes without superpowers. The best performance, by decision of the audience, was given by the teams from the host organisation ANPAS, Italy and from LSA, Latvia.
On the second day, the theoretical knowledge in first aid was tested with a written exam. The participants then went on to compete in dexterity tasks which, fitting the location of the Adria International Raceway, were held in the form of a relay race. In the evening, the participants were welcomed in Adria, to the city’s summer celebrations, where they held a parade of volunteers through the centre.
The centrepiece of the contest was held on Saturday, when the participants went to the city of Venice to practically test their skills in first aid. At four stations distributed across the historic city, ANPAS volunteers had set up stations with different emergency scenarios, to which the youth groups had to react. Not only their factual knowledge of first aid was challenged, but also their ability to adapt to situations beyond text-book knowledge. Sometimes they had to calm panicking bystanders or handle the fact that some of the people they had to aid were deaf, posing an extra challenge in communication with the patient. The latter aspect was specifically included to make the young first-aiders aware of the special needs that arise when people with disabilities find themselves in an emergency situation.
The event was also used as an occasion to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SAMARITAN INTERNATIONAL. Our network was founded in August 1994 by ASB Germany, ASB Austria, DKFH, Denmark and CB, France and has since grown to encompass 16 organisations in 15 countries with a total of 3 million members, 140,000 volunteers and 35,000 employees.
SAM.I. President Knut Fleckenstein thanked ANPAS for their great work in organising the event and then addressed to young volunteers: “Thanks to all of you who participated in this contest. Your enthusiasm and joy, your ambition as volunteers, your engagement and your motivation will make a major difference and will lay the foundation for a strong future of our common Europe.”