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Camp Molly will introduce young women to firefighting as a career

“Having strong women role models in the positions helps empower young women.”

THUNDER BAY – Registration for Camp Molly opened May 22 for its first camp in Thunder Bay.

Camp Molly will be held from Sept. 5-8. Designed to expose young women to the many different careers and skill sets in the fire service, the camp is open to female-identifying and non-binary youth aged 15 to 18. 

In partnership with the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council, additional spaces are held for Indigenous female-identifying, non-binary and two-spirited youth.  

“I think that this is an incredible opportunity - one that I never would’ve gotten at that age,” said Melissa Geils, a local firefighter. 

“I didn’t have people coming up to me in high school, telling me I could be a firefighter.

“I’m so excited that there’s a camp where people are telling high school girls that this career is an option for them,” Geils said.

A lot of people used to encourage the stigma that only boys are firefighters, she said. 

“We didn’t have as much support from the community as female firefighters. I think it’s important to instill in young women that they are strong enough, and they can do this job.”

Geils added that there is a brotherhood and sisterhood with firefighters. The firefighters in Thunder Bay brought her and other female firefighters into their family.

“They treat us like any of the guys. It’s been awesome being a female firefighter in Thunder Bay.”

Firefighting is not just fighting fires, Geils said. There's medical aspects, technical rescues and more. 

“Just to see the broad range of what we do besides just fighting fires will be super cool,” she said.

Tyler McDougall, another female firefighter said she can’t wait to volunteer for the event.

“I think having diversity, equity and inclusion is important - specifically for firefighting,” McDougall said. 

“Having strong women role models in the positions helps empower young women.”

It’s very physically and mentally challenging to get into this role, she said. But once you’re in it, you learn continually, and are always trying to better yourself. 

“It’s been something really special to me. I’m proud to be able to represent women in this field,” she said.

“Camp Molly has been held throughout Ontario since 2019. Thunder Bay is excited to host this in September for the first time,” said Martin Hynna, deputy fire chief with Thunder Bay Fire Rescue.

“Firefighting has been a pretty male dominated industry for a while. Camp Molly will introduce young women to the jobs and training and what firefighters do.”

Registration for Camp Molly is open until July 5 on their website.

Olivia Browning

About the Author: Olivia Browning

Olivia’s major life passion would have to be a tie between reading and writing.
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