Thursday, July 16, 2015

Camp Fury 2015

The youngest firefighting trainees in Hampton are at it again— climbing 85 feet up a ladder, rappelling down a four-story tower and racing against the clock to open fire hydrants and get the water flowing. But, these trainees aren’t the newest recruits in the fire academy. They’re a group of 24 Girl Scouts participating in a unique summer camp session, Camp Fury, at the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue Station 9.

In addition to challenging themselves to reach new heights and try new things, the girls learned a variety of firefighting skills during their week at camp. They participated in fire extinguisher training, took part in search and rescue drills and learned how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus. They also practiced ladder carry techniques, competed in a bucket brigade drill and learned how to roll, connect and empty fire hoses.

Camp Fury is designed to not only teach girls about firefighting, but to also introduce them to a variety of women who work in fields typically dominated by men, including military and law enforcement. During Camp Fury, the girls visited the United States Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, welcomed a female crime scene investigator as a guest speaker and got to hear from a woman who works on the Nightingale helicopter, after the craft was landed on the field next to the fire station. By introducing girls to women in nontraditional careers for females, the girls are able to better 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.

“It’s so great to see the girls pushing themselves and trying new things,” Medic Firefighter Jami Salvio said. “Last year, one of the girls didn’t make it all the way up the ladder during the aerial climb, but this year she came back, pushed herself and made it to the top.”

Salvio, along with Lt. Denee Nichols, brought Camp Fury to Hampton after learning about a similar camp while attending a conference for women in fire service in 2011.They traveled to Arizona to see the camp in action, and then partnered with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to bring the camp to Hampton Roads. The goal of Camp Fury is to immerse girls in a supportive, all-girl environment where they can develop leadership skills, build self-confidence and are more likely to try new things, take risks and discover what they are capable of.