Back to Military Life

Grit for girls

Capital Metro Fire opens registration for summer Girls Camp

Young women ages 14-18 participating in Capital Metro Fire’s inaugural “Girls Camp” in 2017, at Mark Noble Regional Fire Training Center in Olympia. Photo courtesy of Capital Metro Fire Girls Camp

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

What makes for a more exciting summer camp experience than learning how to use a chainsaw, handle a fire hose, or rappel out of a fire tower? We can't think of a single thing. If you can't either, you'll be delighted to know Capital Metro Fire (CMF) has opened registration for Girls Camp: a weekend-long, confidence-building camp giving young women opportunities to overcome fear and intimidation, cultivate grit, and gain exposure to tools and tasks they wouldn't come across otherwise.

"One of our goals is to show young women they can accomplish anything if they put in enough hard work and grit," said Jessica Johnson, professional firefighter and coordinator of CMF Girls Camp. "Our community rallies around young women, which is very necessary in our day and age."

This summer's Girls Camp takes place Aug. 17-18. It will be held at Mark Noble Regional Fire Training Center, a fire department training ground in Olympia. Young women ages 14-18 from Thurston, Pierce, Lewis or King County are welcome to register for one or both days of camp. Parents should note that Girls Camp is not an overnight camp, and participation is free.Those who apply for both days of camp, as well as those who've not participated in the previous Girls Camp, will have preference at registration. 

At Girls Camp, participants will learn how to don/doff firefighting gear, handle a fire hose, conduct search and rescue, use a chainsaw, "throw" and climb ladders, rappel from windows, and receive hands-on CPR training. Throughout the camp experience, participants are mentored by a robust staff of firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT), veterans and community leaders.

"Male and female instructors work side by side at Girls Camp," said Johnson. "We want girls to see they have allies, to see they're supported by all kinds of people from different backgrounds." 

Although most of the components of Girls Camp are related to firefighting, its main purpose is to mentor and encourage young women to push to their physical and mental limits.

"When girls come to camp, there's no difference between them. They don't know each other," said Johnson. "We put them into groups in a way that places them all on the same playing field. They end up cultivating a battle-buddy experience, which is powering through things that are really hard, together."

Girls Camp, which is a biennial event, was founded in summer 2017 by Johnson and another firefighter. Its inaugural session included 47 young women from across Thurston, Pierce, Lewis and King Counties and over 80 staff and volunteers. The camp is inspired by Camp Blaze, another local fire-camp working to "empower, inspire and support strong women leaders" while providing career development in fire service.

"We spent a lot of time getting this camp off the ground," said Johnson. "We were fortunate to participate in Camp Blaze, a seven-day-long fire camp, and see what worked (for us), what didn't ... and what we wanted to bring to our local community ... Girls Camp is more about getting young women to try something new, see if they like it, and learn to power through things that are hard."

Johnson has been a professional firefighter and EMT at Lacey Fire District 3 for five years. Prior to that, she served as a volunteer firefighter for two years. She's originally from Puyallup, and now lives in Tacoma with her husband and veteran, Zack Johnson.

CMF Girls Camp, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17-18, Mark Noble Regional Fire Training Center, 1305 Fones Rd. SE, Olympia, free,

Read next close


Top five

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search