Fire Camps for Girls & Young Women

By:  Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

In a previous post, I shined the “spotlight” on CampHERO, a fire camp designed to show young girls that they can become a firefighter, law

Fire camps provide an opportunity for girls and young women to see first-hand what a great career Fire & EMS can provide.

Fire camps provide an opportunity for girls and young women to see first-hand what a great career Fire & EMS can provide.

enforcement officer, or EMS provider. I asked you readers to provide information about similar fire camps around the USA and Canada and you came up “in spades”! Check out some of these other camps that are working to give young girls and women an opportunity to experience life in public safety.

Camp Cinder operates in San Luis Obispo County, CA for girls age 15-18 years old to participate in fire related activities. Their mission is to introduce young women to the fire service through activities such as:

  • Providing hands on experience in a positive, team building environment;
  • encouraging and supporting self-confidence and a can do work ethic;
  • Experiencing structural firefighter activities;
  • Experiencing rope/ocean rescue activities;
  • Experiencing SLO City Ladder Truck Operations; and
  • Experiencing wildland firefighter activities.

Contact: April Mangals (Camp Director) or Stephanie DiNinni (Program Coordinator) via email at CampCinder@CampCinder.org or visit: www.CampCinder.ORG

Note:  All of the camps to follow offer similar opportunities for their campers so in the interest of brevity I’ve edited the information that I received about each camp.

Camp Fury is a collaborative effort between the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, Northwest Fire District, Oro Valley Police Department, Tucson Fire Department, and the Tucson Police Department that provides teenage girls the opportunity to train alongside female firefighters and law enforcement personnel. During Camp Fury the girls learn search-and-rescue skills, crime scene investigation techniques, and perform physical fitness drills. The camp also provides the campers with exposure to the women who are breaking down barriers and stereotypes in these non-traditional career fields.

Contact: Ellen Pott at epott@girlscoutssoaz.org

Fire Cadet Training BuildingCamp Houston Fire is a community outreach and long-range recruiting tool for promoting interest in young women for the Fire Service. The goal of Camp Houston Fire is to show young girls that the fire service is a great career for women. The campers are exposed to women currently in the fire service who help build enthusiasm, showing potential firefighters the special camaraderie they enjoy, and giving them the power to go back and spread the good word that Girls Fight Fire Too.

Contact: Laura Hunter, Director. Visit www.camphoustonfire.com

HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT – YOUTH FIRE OPS In October of 2013 the Houston Fire Department held its inaugural “Youth Fire Ops” camp. “Youth Fire Ops” is an interactive recruiting tool used to recruit and raise awareness about career opportunities in the Houston Fire Department for college-bound women of the Greater Houston Area. Participants participated in simulated fire suppression evolutions to encourage confidence and awareness that they too can compete and succeed in the occupation of firefighting. Contact: Laura Saavedra at laura.saavedra@houstontx.gov

SUMMER HEAT is a is an annual weeklong day camp that accommodates 16 to 24 girls between the ages of 15-19 that’s hosed by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Summer Heat introduces these young women to career opportunities in the fire service.   During camp, the women develop confidence, enhance leadership skills, and broaden their problem solving abilities.  This is an exciting opportunity for young women to develop leadership skills, community awareness, and lasting friendships.

Contact: Rachael Staebell at RStaebell@springsgov.com

Phoenix Fire Camp conducted by Fire Service Women of New York State is a camp for young women who are interested in the fire service.Girls Fire Camp 3 Phoenix Fire Camp was launched in 2007 by Fire Service Women of New York State (FSWNYS) to address the issue of diversity in the fire service, specifically the challenges of recruiting and retaining women.

The program—an annual week-long overnight camp for girls ages 14-19—nurtures interest in, and education about, careers in the fire service for women. Phoenix Fire Camp was the first camp of its

Contact: Fire Service Women of New York State for an application http://www.fswnys.org

The fire service women of Metro-West run Camp Bailout to encourage young women to become more involved in the Fire and EMS services, either as a career or volunteer.  The curriculum is designed to provide young women a safe, interactive and physically challenging environment to gain strength and knowledge while building confidence and leadership skills. Every year, young women are invited to join this FREE camp to explore their options in this wonderful and rewarding profession.

In July of 1999, the first Fire Service Mini Camp was hosted by the San Diego Fire and Life Safety Department. The team leaders from that camp decided to form Camp Blaze to create a free, annual camp for young women to experience what a career in the fire service might be like.

Camp Blaze offers campers the opportunity to experience: live fire training, using portable fire extinguishers, aerial ladder climbing, and search and rescue, as well as interviewing techniques, rappelling and hose handing team-building exercises.

Contact: http://www.campblaze.com

Camp Fully Involved is a physically challenging, aggressive hands-on, live-in week long summer camp directed towards young women between the ages of 14 (and having completed the 8th grade) and 20 who are interested in exploring the career of a firefighter. No experience or affiliation with a fire department is required, and young women who do not have any affiliation with the fire service are encouraged to apply. There is no residency requirement for attendance and Camp Fully Involved encourages young women from all over the world to apply!

Contact: info@campfullyinvolved.com or Camp Fully Involved, PO Box 793, Merrimack, NH 03054

Every other year during spring break, Pender Island Fire/Rescue, in association with Salt Spring Island Fire/Rescue, guides a group of 16 courageous youths (boys and girls between the ages of 15 – 18) through an intense week of hands-on fire/rescue training at the Gulf Islands Fire/Rescue Cadet Camp

Firefighter training has been shown to be a great way to challenge teens – mentally and physically – and this unique boot camp has helped its graduates reach new levels of confidence, self-esteem, strength, teamwork, and initiative. Their rigorous instruction includes structure fires, auto extrication, high angle rope rescue, search and rescue, medical first response and other related skills, totaling over 100 hours of training. Although there are a handful of Fire Cadet programs across Canada, the Gulf Islands Fire/Rescue cadets live, work and play with firefighters and community mentors 24 hours a day for 6 consecutive days.

Contact: Brigitte Prochaska – Information Officer Gulf Islands Fire/Rescue Youth Camp, b.prochaska@telus.net

Camp FFIT (Female Firefighters in Training) is a week-long day camp for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 run by OttawaGirls Fire Camp 4 Fire Services with the support and assistance of Fire Service Women Ontario. Camp FFIT provides young women an opportunity to find out what it takes to be a firefighter – including physical fitness, being a team-player and possessing a strong work ethic.     Throughout the camp, instructors offer guidance, discuss the importance of community involvement and volunteering in their neighborhoods, or city/township at large and impress upon them the importance of being judgment free when dealing with the public, regardless of the situation.

Contact: www.ottawa.ca

The Connecticut Fire Academy’s Introduction to the Fire Service (ITTFS) Program was designed to provide high school students with an opportunity to learn more about the profession by attending a residential camp and performing training evolutions at the Connecticut Fire Academy. Over nearly 20 years, the program has evolved from the two original five-day sessions each summer to three, six-day residential sessions per summer. Many alumni have moved on to become full members of their Fire Departments, have attended college in Fire and EMS programs and have earned employment as career Firefighters.

Contact Ian Tenney, Program Coordinator, at ian.tenney@ct.gov

Big thanks to the International Association of Women in Emergency Services (iWomen) and the Connecticut Fire Academy for graciously sharing information on the above camps.

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

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Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, rpa1157@gmail.com.