This research paper is driven by a primary objective: to emphasize the critical importance of investing in long-term youth development programs designed explicitly for the field of emergency management. These programs serve as a potent mechanism for nurturing a future workforce that possesses the essential skills, knowledge, and mindset required to excel in this dynamic profession. To illustrate the potential of such programs, this study employs the Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) program in New Zealand as a comprehensive case study. It not only showcases the remarkable accomplishments of YSAR but also offers a detailed analysis of its influence on the youth participants and the broader emergency management sector. Through a meticulous examination of the contributions of youth, the significance of diversity, the enduring dedication of lifelong volunteers, the positive aspects of youth culture, and the effectiveness of participatory learning environments, this paper aims to underscore the imperative of adopting and expanding similar initiatives worldwide. By doing so, we can bolster readiness and resilience in the face of increasingly intricate and unpredictable threats.
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