‘Camp Ignite’ helps young B.C. women pursue firefighting careers

Campers learn auto extrication at past year’s Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampers learn auto extrication at past year’s Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Camp Ignite is open to young women in grades 11 and 12 from across B.C. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCamp Ignite is open to young women in grades 11 and 12 from across B.C. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Campbell River firefighter Debra Rogers talks to a group of young women at Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampbell River firefighter Debra Rogers talks to a group of young women at Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Campers learn skills like hose work at the camp. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampers learn skills like hose work at the camp. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
This year’s camp will be held over two days in Vancouver. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteThis year’s camp will be held over two days in Vancouver. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
The camp culminates in a live fire exercise. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteThe camp culminates in a live fire exercise. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite

Only about four per cent of firefighters worldwide are women, but a B.C. summer camp is looking to change that.

Camp Ignite is a camp for young women who are interested in getting in to firefighting. Going into its 11th year, the goal of the camp is to help young women in grades 11 and 12 who might be interested in firefighting get a taste of what it’s like and learn some basic skills.

“It’s important that we represent the diversity in the communities that we serve,” said Campbell River firefighter Debra Rogers, who also works as communications and correspondence coordinator for Camp Ignite. “I think women have a lot to bring to the table. It’s not just brute strength anymore. We do a lot of medical calls, there’s cultural issues that need to be addressed that sometimes women can better address, especially in larger centres.”

RELATED: Homeless man says ‘thank you’ to Chilliwack firefighters for building him a shelter

“It’s important to have the diversity — whether that means women or other minority representation,” she added. “That’s the world we live in and I think that all public service should represent that diversity.”

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty agrees: “It’s great to create some more diversity,” he said.

“It’s well known that there’s not a lot of females in the fire service, particularly in the suppression side of things. I think bringing that awareness up and getting the interest out to the younger groups to let them know that there are options out there and career paths,” Doherty continued. “We want to make sure that we give them all the right tools to guide them into what they’re interested in doing.”

The camp started as a mentorship idea just over a decade ago, and expanded over time to be a four-day camp. Things have had to be cut back a bit this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are still able to provide a few days of education.

Besides the basic skills like SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) knowledge, auto extrication and fire extinguishing techniques, the campers also get to meet women who are already a part of the industry and build connections for their future.

“The idea is that if they have any ambitions to go in that area they could get a sense of what might be required, and they get to see women doing that work and talk to them about the challenges they face in terms of integrating in to a non-traditional role,” Rogers explained. “They get to see women who came in in the early days, women who came in recently and talk about the shift of the mentality and tolerance for women in the role and the way the job has changed over time.

“Certainly, firefighting isn’t what it was 40 years ago. What are those new expectations, what does the new landscape look like and what are the variety of opportunities?”

This year’s camp will be on Aug. 14 and 15 in Vancouver. Applications will be accepted until June 1.

“When young girls apply, we link them with their local fire department… and they get sent to camp on that fire department’s dime as somewhat of a representative of their region. That’s how we make it accessible to young women who may not be able to participate,” Rogers explained.

More information on Camp Ignite is available at their website.

RELATED: ‘Like something out of an action movie,’ two boats burned in Campbell River fire

Campbell Riverfirefighters

Just Posted

The ‘official’ opening of 2nd Edition Coworking in downtown Fernie, a project five years in the making by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. Left to right: Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber Brad Parsell, incoming President of the Fernie Chamber Norm Fraser, outgoing President of the Fernie Chamber Anita Palmer, and Mayor of Fernie Ange Qualizza. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Fernie Chamber cuts the ribbon on 2nd Edition

The new coworking space in Fernie is now ‘officially’ open, but has been operating since early 2021

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks with the new AED SaveStation installed at the Sparwood Leisure Centre. (Contributed by District of Sparwood)
Sparwood installs public AED

The SaveStation was installed thanks to a grant from CP Rail

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

(File)
“Gift card scam,” and “grandparent scam” are on the rise, Cranbrook RCMP say

Folks are falling for these scams: “No Government agency or reputable company will ever ask anyone to pay with gift cards in lieu of their fines”

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read