People are finally starting to pick up on the fact that girls and women can do all the same things and work all the same jobs as boys and men. Regardless of the progress we’ve already made though, there are still many industries that are dominated almost exclusively by men. Professions like firefighting and policing are often overlooked by girls when they consider what they want to be when they grow up because they seem inaccessible or too hard. Wrong. Girls can do anything they put their minds to. Camp FFIT is an all-girls firefighter camp that’s looking to show Canadian girls no job is too hard for them and hoping to get them excited about careers in firefighting.
The summer program is in its seventh year and draws teenage participants from across Ontario and Quebec to attend. Girls learn about firefighting, get to go through drills and are mentored by real female firefighters. Currently in Canada, only three per cent of firefighters are women, and they’re as determined as ever to get more young ladies involved.
“We’re realizing that jobs don’t have genders, which is wonderful,” says camp director, Sue Jones, “but we’re really only getting to that point now.” By showing girls that they’re capable of doing the work required to be firefighters, FFIT will hopefully encourage more to consider it as a career choice. A lot of the girls said that after a few days on the job, they no longer found it at all intimidating.
“You just have to work a little harder. We’re not built the same, we have to work hard, but we can do it,” says Emily Waller, who’s wanted to walk in her father’s footsteps and become a firefighter since she was little.
The girls also talked about the comradery of working together for a common cause and the feeling of helping people. The job is tough, just like breaking down the stereotypes that surround it, but these girls are off to an amazing start.