Blazing Ahead

After just seven days, twenty-four young women from all over the country will be stepping into the world with a valuable understanding of just how powerful they can be. Friday was live fire training at Camp Blaze which signifies the end of a week-long courageous adventure. These young teens conquered raging fires, mangled cars and death-defying heights. The physical accomplishments are obvious on the drill court, but the real accomplishments will be seen in their future endeavors as they blaze through life’s obstacles with a new found inner strength.

From across the country more than forty professional women firefighters come together with the focus of encouraging young women to be their best. The story behind each of the staff is as inspiring as the campers. They are all part of the first generation of women in the fire service and each one has accomplished a tremendous amount of success without the benefit of women mentors before them. The fire service has helped develop a mental fortitude and inner strength within each instructor and Camp Blaze provides them an arena to share those inspiring traits with young women who represent the future.

Camp Blaze started in 2001, twenty three years after the first woman firefighter was hired with the Seattle Fire Department. The idea stemmed from nine women firefighters, including two from the Seattle Fire Department, which had the desire to encourage and nurture confidence and strength in young women. They wanted to share the life enhancing experience of being a firefighter with young women and decided a full-immersion experience would have the biggest impact. Today their vision has grown to include 5 fire camps for young women across the country including one in Canada.

The Seattle Fire Department currently has about 90 women firefighters including a former camper from Camp Blaze. It is programs like Camp Blaze that has made a significant impact in nurturing strong confident women thereby improving the participation of women in the fire service.

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