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Camp sparks excitement in girls

Modified: Friday, Jun 8th, 2012

Maria DeCabooter, of the Girl Scouts makes her way down five stories during a rappelling training activities. Also pictured rappelling is Angel Rodriguez. The girls took turns climbing the ladder. On Thursday morning, the ladies rotated through different stations.

MARANA — For the third year, the Northwest Fire District, Tucson Fire Department, and the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona have collaborated to provide realistic fire fighting and emergency services activities and training for 18 girls ages 14-18 at the annual Camp Fury. The program features a four-day, three-night camp for teens entering grades nine through 12 and gives the girls an immersion experience that opens the doors to hands on skills, technical knowledge and the physical demands of firefighting. More than 50 girls have already participated in the program.

Cheryl Horvath, Northwest Fire Division Chief in Operations, said this experience gives the girls an idea of a non-traditional profession that could pursue.

“This is something they can grow up to become,” Horvath said.

Horvath is one of four out of 180 paid firefighters in Northwest’s roster. Across the county, she said, less than four percent of the paid firefighting force are women.

Women firefighters from across southern Arizona provided the daily skill-building sessions and career information to participants outfitted in uniforms, turnout gear, helmets and gloves. Horvath said all of the counselors are firefighters or in a cadet program and that the women are being role models for the girls attending the camp.

Horvath said that even if the campers to decide not to go into the firefighting field, by participating in this camp, it opens the girls up to challenges they never have faced before.

“We don’t want them to be afraid to try something,” Horvath said.

Part of the training includes hearing from guest speakers. The guest speakers must focus their talks on three area, Horvath said, physical fitness, nutrition and that you can do anything you put your mind to.

The camp has sparked interest from two other fire organizations – one near St. Louis, Mo., and the other in Hampton, Va. Representatives from these organizations have been on hand to check out how the program operates.

For the complete article see the 07-01-2012 issue.

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