By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
So, the other night my fire service colleague, Sue Jones, a Fire Prevention Officer with the Ottawa Fire Services, posted the following message on Facebook:
“Last night, at the Fire Chief’s Commendations and Awards Ceremony, I was honoured [sic] to receive the Fire Chief’s Ambassador Award for my efforts with Camp FFIT. I think it’s an understatement to say I felt a little awkward on the stage, the lights, and the ceremony of it all.”
“Being the Director of Camp FFIT-Ottawa, working with some of the most wonderful people in OFS [Ottawa Fire Services], meeting and working with twenty-four young women every summer and then, the best part, getting to stay in touch and watch them progress from high school student, to post-secondary [school], to job applications, and eventually being hired in their chosen field has been amazing!”
“Many have become firefighters in their communities, a few have become full time firefighters, one right here in Ottawa (and a few more are in the process), others have become paramedics, police officers, nurses, joined the military, and even if they do not pursue firefighting, I feel like they remain part of our fire family. Seeing these young women put all their efforts into reaching their goals is inspiring and they constantly remind me how it felt when I was first called with a job offer.”
“I could go on for days, but a simple, but gigantic, thank you to everyone who has ever been involved in camp, from the beginning with Carissa [Campbell-Darmody] and Louise [Hines-Schmidt], ten years working with Mark Saunders [Training Captain], to the amazing number of women and men who have volunteered their time to make this program amazing (from OFS and beyond), the campers, their parents/guardians who support them, our leadership who supports, us and everyone else who has had any part, big or small.”
“Thanks again, everyone! Here’s to the next 10 years!”
Which got me to thinking that It’s probably time to post some updated info about firefighting camps for girls, like Camp FFIT (Which, BTW, is not a typo. FFIT stands for Female Firefighters in Training. Honest, that’s what Sue told me!). So, here are a couple of links about Camp FFIT to get your brain cells activated! BTW, the 2020 dates for Camp FFIT–Ottawa are August 10-14.
This is the link to one of my previous pieces on firefighting camps for girls. In this article I’ve listed several camps for girls that were provided to me at that time:
But before you scroll down further, check out my previous post on this topic because there are plenty of firefighter camps for girls listed (And I didn’t have space in this post to include all of those here).
Check out the previous post here Fire Camps for Girls & Young Women
Here’s a video that features another one of my firefighter camps for girls “heroes”, Fire Chief Cheryl Horvath talking about “her baby”, Camp Fury, last year:
Here are some other camps and their contact information and dates.
SDFD Girls empowerment Camp. The dates for this San Diego-based camp in 2020 are April 4th and 5th 2020.
Girl’s Future Firefighter Camp. 2020 Camp dates are June 26, July 10,17,24,31 with graduation July 31. I’m working on updating the website.
Camp Fully Involved—New Hampshire. 2020 Camp dates June 26; July 10, 17, 24, and 31 with graduation July 31.
Camp Fierce Firefighting Camp for Women. Sponsored by the Tulsa (Okla.) Fire Department, it is a two-day camp for women 15-years-of-age and above who want to learn more about the fire service. Check it out on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CampFierce/
Camp Ignite. Camp Ignite is a four-day camp that educates and inspires young women to follow their dreams.The camp is open to British Columbia (BC) girls in grades 11-12 (ages 16-18 ), and gives them an introduction to the world of firefighting.
Aside from firefighting, each participant will learn about fitness, nutrition, health and teamwork.This year’s camp will run from August 6th to August 9th, 2020. Camp Ignite is supported by its BC sponsors and fire departments – so there are no costs and no barriers to participate.
Camp Brave Heart. The Iona McGregor Fire Protection and Rescue District (Fort Myers, Florida area) has announced its inaugural girls’ empowerment camp, Camp Brave Heart, will be held Friday, March 13, 2020. Camp Brave Heart will be geared toward girls in grades 5th through 8th. The camp has a limit of 30 campers and registration is on a first come, first served basis.
The hope of Camp Brave Heart is to build confidence, work on team building & bonding, and introduce the girls to the many career paths that are available to females in the fire service. We hope each camper will leave knowing the sky’s the limit!
Women in the fire service from across Florida will be there to serve as camp counselors to share in this unique opportunity with the campers.
Interested? Email Megan Contreras at [email protected]. She will confirm your child’s spot via email. In the email, please include your child’s first and last name and the grade she is in this year.
International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (Women in Fire) is an organization of women and for women seeking to make the fire service a professional place where women and men work together harmoniously. (Women in Fire also has a number of male fire chiefs, union presidents, EEO officers and others as members because they find Women in Fire to be a valued source of information and counsel).
One of those resources is a listing of other firefighting camps for girls across the U.S. and Canada (That I’ve not already mentioned).
And Speaking of International
From my fire service colleague in Finland, Mira Leinonen, I received this message:
“Robert, we have around 20 camps all around Finland every year. The camps are like mini-cities, they even have daycare, their own radio channel, and magazine! 🙂 The camps are usually one week long and what you do during the week depends on your age. Topics covered include first aid to basics of firefighting and group leading. Every fourth year, we have an international camp which always have 3500 – 4000 participants.”