GOOD NEWS

Girls At Firefighter Camp Extinguish Sexist Stereotypes

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A Virginia camp is getting girls and teens fired up about female empowerment. 

A group of campers are learning all about firefighting this week at Camp Fury in Chesapeake. The program, organized by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCC) and the local fire department, aims to show the campers that they can work in any field they want, including traditionally male-dominated ones.

“The message we’re trying to give girls is that they can be the go-getters, the innovators, the risk-takers, and the leaders our country needs,” Marcy Germanotta, communications and marketing director of GSCC, told the Huffington Post. 

Only about 5.7 percent of all firefighters in the U.S. are women. It’s a statistic the program, open to girls in grades 6-12, hopes to change by exposing the campers to the industry and building confidence.

The girls are split up into squads and learn various firefighting skills including water supply, rappelling, CPR and more, Kaitlin Smith, public relations manager for GSCC, told HuffPost. By participating in activities, Germanotta explained that they learn how to communicate with each other, work on a team, and ultimately empower and lift one another up. 

In addition to learning the ins and outs of firefighting, they also work with female firefighters and meet women in other fields, such as a female Navy pilot. 

Germanotta explained that by interacting with women in industries with a male majority, the campers can understand that those fields are not out of bounds. 

“When they’re engaged with women role models ― with women that are actually doing the job ― that’s so impactful,” she told HuffPost. “It lets girls know that [working in these jobs] is a reachable dream.”

It’s only been a few days but the camp, which was replicated based on other Camp Furys in Arizona and Virginia, but it seems to have already had an impact on the girls. In fact, Mandy George, program manager and firefighter, told ABC News that a few of the campers have said they’re interested in becoming firefighters.

Now that’s what we call girl power.  

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