Camp Fury Hampton encourages girls to break barriers

Girls wearing firefighting gear (WYDaily/Courtesy City of Hampton)

Less than 7 percent of firefighters in the U.S. were women and only 4 percent were career firefighters during the most recent survey period for the National Fire Protection Association’s “U.S. Fire Department Profile.”

As fire stations across the country continue to be male-dominated, Anthony Chittum, battalion chief for Hampton Fire & Rescue, said an active recruitment and retention team is the reason approximately 10 percent of the city’s 290 uniformed firefighters are women.

And Chittum noted programs like Camp Fury Hampton help spark interest in the field early on.

“It’s a great chance for young ladies to experience leadership from an almost exclusively female cadre,” he said. “They get a chance to see that they can absolutely do or be whatever they would like and that’s always a great thing.”

Hampton Fire & Rescue hosts the five-night resident camp in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast in July, but Chittum said in addition to firefighters, campers also receive mentorship from female police officers, the FBI, and military service members.

Registration for Camp Fury is open to girls in grades 6 to 12 who want to experience swimming, canoeing, and s’mores…but also firefighting and emergency operations techniques like tying knots, carrying ladders, putting on fire gear, and running a bucket brigade, according to the website. 

“[Camp Fury] is empowering the young ladies to be able to try different things and see that they’re able to accomplish a variety of firefighter related and nonfirefighter related tasks,” Chittum said.

Once it’s over, campers leave with a Girl Scout Safety Award and nationally recognized CPR certification.

This year, Girl Scout Camp Skimino in Williamsburg is hosting Camp Fury Hampton July 12 through 17. Registration is $385; financial assistance is available, according to the site.

Class sizes are limited — click here for more information and to submit an application.

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