Children are being asked to make sense of chaos this summer holidays.
Everything from floods, fires, earthquakes and cyclones; to criminal acts; pandemic outbreaks; car accidents; chemical spills and even shipwrecks are on the agenda for a new school holiday workshop.
Participants in the three-day course will get an understanding of the realities of emergency response strategy before applying their problem-solving skills and pitching fresh ideas to assist agencies and communities in times of trouble.
Lighthouse chief executive Anna Pino said the theme for the fifth iteration of Teen Start Up was chosen by young people.
From January 17 to 19 students aged 12-18 years will hear from ACT Fire and Rescue, NSW Police, Lifeline and other agencies but also immerse themselves in crises scenarios through virtual reality and other interactive gaming.
"It is about exposing participants to things they might not get access to in their every day," she said.
"We have mapped the course to the soft skills that are very difficult to teach within the school curriculum. Things like problem identification, communication, teamwork, negotiating and conflict resolution."
Equal numbers of boys and girls have signed up for the summer camp and Ms Pino said parents were alert to how vital these core competencies would become as the world of work changed in future.
The wealth of new experiences provides the opportunity for incidental learning.
But for emergency services agencies it is a chance to broaden public understanding of the complexities of prevention, preparation, response and recovery processes.
"The aim will be to ensure students understand that hazards which face the nation can affect us locally," an ACT ESA spokesman said.
NSW Police Sergeant and Lake George Area Local Emergency Operations Controller, Paul Batista, said every individual had a role to play in crisis management and a responsibility to know how to protect themselves.
"It is a constant battle for emergency service to get that message out," he said.
People's interest in emergencies preparedness was typically low until a crisis was imminent, by which time it was too late to prepare, he said.
Outreach with the next generation of adults was a proactive step toward fostering future community resilience, but also opened up an opportunity to hear their ideas.
"This workshop is great," he said. "The kids will spread these messages tenfold. Being youngsters they no doubt have fresh ideas, innovative ideas that older folk may not have thought about."