BEMIDJI-High school students learning about careers in health care left the classroom and the hospital behind for a time on Tuesday. A total of 30 campers at Bemidji State University's annual Scrubs Camp took turns exploring, and posing for photos with, a Sanford AirMed helicopter during a visit to Bemidji's Sanford AirMed hangar.

Scrubs Camp is a four-day camp that provides high school students with hands-on and fast-paced activities relating to health care professions and education. Nursing students at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College serve as camp counselors during the week and lead students through their activities.

Along the way, the students can expect many opportunities for networking with BSU faculty and other local health professionals.

Luna Harbour, BSU nursing student and Scrubs Camp counselor, said she thinks it is crucial for students in high school to have experiences such as these, which will aid them in their decision making for their future.

"It helps open their minds into their interests and passions and help them direct their lives," Harbour said. "I think it can really help give them more of a purpose."

Students gathered around members of the Bemidji Sanford AirMed crew on Tuesday afternoon and had an opportunity to ask questions about their experiences, and the background needed to be a crew member. Students asked questions about salaries, educational requirements and myths they have heard from movies and TV shows about medical flight crews.

"I think this gives them the opportunity to actually see a genuine medical setting outside of being sick and having to be here," Harbour said. "It gives them a realistic expectation outside of the TV shows and movies."

Crew members then opened the helicopter and let campers file through and check out the equipment on board. The AirMed tour also is an experience given to students to gain knowledge about medical experiences outside the typical hospital atmosphere.

Camp counselors and professionals hope the tour of the AirMed facility will encourage students to find their own educational pathway and start working for what they want to achieve.

"The benefit I hope it has if they had an interest in the medical field, that they go that direction or say 'I saw enough and I don't want to go that way,'" said Brian Ecker Sanford AirMed crew member "I hope they find that direction and have a better way to go about it."

Natalie Hilden is the Pioneer’s summer reporting intern. Originally from Nevis, she is a senior at South Dakota State University.