Cortland Medical Academy of Science and Health Camp

MASH Camp students exploring the Mercy flight helicopter at the Guthrie Cortland Medical Center (Camilo Fredes/Cortland Voice).

The Medical Academy of Science and Health Camp known as MASH Camp is back at Cortland for its 19th year.

The Cortland MASH Camp is a program where the Central New York Area Health Education Center partners up with the Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, in order to provide two days fun and educational activities for middle school and high school students.

During these two days, students are exposed to many different professions in the medical field.

“Our mission is to get people interested in healthcare and for them to pursue a career on it,” said Claire Payne, program manager of the CNYAHEC. “Our main goal for this program however, is to educate kids on different careers out there besides just doctors and nurses.”

The the first day of the program had a big highlight in the middle of the day, featuring a Mercy flight helicopter landing at the hospital’s green space.

Students were able to meet the flight team, ask them questions, and explore the inside of the helicopter.

“Our target audience for this program are typically students in the 8th, 9th and 10th grade,” said Jarrod Kolodziejczyk, Director of volunteer and courtesy services at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. “This is because, that is the time and age when kids start having an interest on what they might want to be considering for a career. We therefore, give them these two days to be interactive with the staff, clinicians and explore other department.”

Students learning at MASH Camp. (Camilo Fredes/Cortland Voice).

During the program kids are able to learn about certain educational retirements, job duties and skills.

They participate in interactive hands-on scenarios, where they use medical equipment, technology and other resources available to them.

According to Kolodziejczyk, the operating room brings some of their equipment down to the conference room. Therefore, allowing students to do some hands-on work on raw chickens; so that they can practice on that.

Most kids that come to the Cortland MASH Camp are from Cortland County schools. Since it is a New York State program, kids outside of the county and even outside of New York are also welcomed.

“This is only one of our locations for MASH Camp,” added Payne. “We serve 14 counties within the Central New York area and have about another 10 locations; not just hospitals, but also nursing facilities as well.”