When you picture a public safety officer—firefighter, EMT or police officer—a man often comes to mind. Camp Fury Delaware is trying to change that.
“We want to make the camp a safe space so young women can find who they are in an arena that is not traditional for women,” says event organizer Sarah Davis, a firefighter, EMT and emergency manager from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency in Smyrna. “The main focus of camp is to promote confidence, courage and character.”
The first two-day camp, hosted by the Delaware State Fire School in August, drew 42 campers for exercise, guest speakers and hands-on skill-building sessions as a way to encourage young women to explore careers in emergency services. The event was so successful, it will expand to a three-day overnight camp this summer.
To keep the momentum going, Davis and co-organizer Vincent Miller, a senior instructor for the fire school, have planned Empowerment Day, a six-month countdown to the next Camp Fury, on Feb. 10.
“It will start 2018 empowered,” Davis says. “We’ll discuss things like keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as well as how to stay focused and achieve personal goals throughout the year.”
Davis became involved in the camp after Miller stumbled across the web page for the original Camp Fury in Arizona. “I thought it would be a good thing to bring to Delaware,” he says.
The idea was met by an overwhelmingly positive response from female fire school instructors and emergency service personnel across the state, Davis says, adding that each of the girls who participated in the program gave it “1,000 percent.”
During Empowerment Day, Camp Fury staff and various emergency services will advertise their organizations to campers and their families. The day will also feature guest speaker Ali Rothrock of iWomen, an international association for women in fire and emergency services.
Davis hopes that when the young women enter emergency services, they won’t be let down by what they see, that they’ll “take on obstacles and keep moving.
“Even if they don’t want to go into this line of work,” she says, “I want them to learn how to not give up.”