A different camp for young women

firefighting camp

Photo by Jenelle Schneider, The Vancouver Sun
Kyla Sinclair on a fire ladder at UBC during Camp Ignite

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun by Nancy Carson
Level 2

A fire truck rushes down the street.
Its siren is wailing.
Everyone covers their ears.
But Sabrina Mathias doesn’t.
She watches.
She wonders how the parts of the fire truck work.
She wonders why she usually sees men in the truck windows.

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A new kind of camp
It is two years ago.
Two female firefighters get an idea.
They want to teach young women how to be firefighters.
So, Jenn Dawkins and Carla Penman start Camp Ignite.
Jenn wishes that she had gone to a camp like this one.
Jenn joined the Vancouver firefighters 12 and a half years ago.

Four days of learning
Seventeen girls aged 16 to 18 learned firefighting skills
at the firehall at UBC.
They also learned search and rescue skills.
They learned many other things, too.
The girls learned to connect
a five-inch hose to a fire hydrant.
They learned to climb a fire truck crane.

A more important lesson
Mathias thinks there is another lesson to learn.
She says, “Camp Ignite has shown me that I can do anything.
Even though I am a woman, I can do it. I know I can.”

The camp’s name
The name of this new camp has more than one meaning.
Ignite means “to set on fire” or “to make something burn”.
The teens at this camp learned a lot about fire.
Ignite also means “to get someone excited about doing something”.
And these girls got excited about trying very different things.
Their teachers hope the girls learned
that they can do whatever they want in life.

Something new
This year, the girls from the 2011Camp Ignite
returned to UBC for one day.
This new 2012 program is called Camp Reignite.
Their teachers hope the girls will become excited again.
This time the same teens learned how a fire starts and grows.
Then they learned how to put fires out.
Their teachers showed them how to get someone out
of a burning automobile.

The graduates
These girls now have five days of special training.
With their new skills, they can now volunteer with other girls.
They can become mentors for newcomers to Camp Ignite.