Monday, July 28, 2014

Camp Fury

Racing against the clock, a group of rookie firefighters in Hampton pulled on their turnout gear. Just like seasoned firefighters, they buckled their jackets, wriggled their hands into gloves and finished by securing their helmets, but these weren’t the latest recruits out of the Tidewater Regional Fire Academy— they were a group of 12 Girl Scouts participating in a special summer camp session, Camp Fury.

Camp Fury was made possible through a partnership between Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue. The idea for the camp was brought to Hampton Roads by Medic Firefighter Jami Salvio and Lt. Denee Nichols, who both work for the City of Hampton and learned about a firefighting camp for girls while attending a conference for women in the fire service in 2011.

Girl Scout Cadette Constance leads her team in an
exercise to connect hoses and bring water supply to a fire.
During the week at Camp Fury, the Girl Scouts stayed at nearby Camp Skimino and traveled to Briarfield Station #9 each day, where they learned how to roll and connect hoses, completed an aerial climb on the ladder truck, practiced search and rescue drills, tried out ladder carry techniques, learned how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus, participated in a bucket brigade drill and more. Each of the skills and techniques that girls learned were taught to them by women firefighters from across Hampton Roads.

In addition to firefighting operations, the girls were also introduced to a variety of women who work in other fields typically dominated by men, including military and law enforcement. By introducing girls to women in these fields, the girls are able to picture themselves in similar positions in the future, and give them the confidence they need to pursue their career interests, no matter what they may be.

“We wanted to give the girls a chance to see that they can do anything,” Salvio said. “I was one of just five women in my class in the Academy, and I wanted to help these girls open their eyes to a whole array of career options they may have not considered for themselves before.”

At Camp Fury, and at all Girl Scout camps, girls are immersed in a supportive, all-girl environment, where they develop leadership skills, build self-confidence and are more likely to try new things and take risks. Through their camp experience, girls also have the chance to develop teamwork skills, discover what they are capable of and develop new and lasting friendships.

Twelve local Girl Scouts participated in Camp Fury this year.

View more photos here.