Fifteen young women will get a chance to experience and learn about a career in fire service this weekend as they participate in the second (almost) annual Rogue Girls Fire Camp (RGFC). The 2020 camp was canceled due to the pandemic but is moving forward this year. This year’s camp takes place August 20-22 and is being held at the Regional Training Center in White City.
Modeled after a similar camp in Portland, RGFC is a 2 ½ day camp in the Rogue Valley for young women ages 16-20 from all backgrounds. No experience or formal training is required to attend. This camp will be the first-of-its kind in the area. It is being organized by a volunteer committee of female firefighters and emergency service professionals with backing from several fire department across Jackson and Josephine Counties. It is a cooperative effort between several career female first-responders from a wide variety of specialty disciplines.
For the fire-department instructors, the opportunity to influence and support these young women is beyond fulfilling.
“To hear a young woman say that she can do anything she wants to do in this world gives us pride. It also shows us that all of the work we have done to pave the way for females in the fire service is not going to be lost. We hope that many of these young women will want to apply to be firefighters,” Samantha Metheny, Medford Fire Department.
With COVID affecting the community and some decision making the committee chose to keep the camp small in order to make it free for all participants and ensure the instructor-to-student ratio was appropriate. Fire Dept wasn’t sure what the interest level would be, or if they’d even be able to meet, but gratefully it’s still a go.
“We are pleased with the number of applicants we received and are ecstatic to know that there are so many young women in our region that want to give back and serve their communities,” Ashley Manning, Ashland Fire & Rescue.
“Although we are taking it slow to start, we can’t wait to see what this camp looks like five years, even ten years down the line. It’s not just about emergency service instruction, but empowering young women to be fearless, and show them that this is a viable career option,” said TaiLese Swanson, Applegate Valley Fire District.
Finally, the camp would have not been possible if it were not for the generosity of this year’s sponsors. MFD would like to say thank you to all of those who believe in our cause and the desire to bring more diversity to emergency services: Ashland Fire IAFF Local 1269, Jackson County Fire District 3, Medford Fire Department, Firehouse Five Foundation, Rogue Community College, Applegate Fire District 9, PHD Studios, Soroptimist International of Medford, OR, Firehouse Subs, Medford and Author Caroline Paul.
For more information on the Rogue Girls Fire Camp, please visit them on social media, Facebook – www.facebook.com/RogueGirlsFire If you would like to get involved in this event in the future, please send them an email: email@example.com.