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Experience a week as a first responder at Camp Courage

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Stitching up wounds, working with police dogs and handling fire hoses aren’t typical summer camp activities, but that’s exactly what one Calgary program offers.

Camp Courage Calgary is a week-long, free camp for young women, and gender diverse youth ages 15–18 who are interested in pursuing a career as a first responder, and applications for its second season are being accepted until March 31.

The Calgary camp started in 2022, providing 23 young women seven days to explore what it’s like being a firefighter, police officer and paramedic.

“It is a total blast,” said Elizabeth Laubar.

She applied for the camp because she has always been interested in firefighting.

“Found out about this camp and thought that is the perfect opportunity to find out about these career paths," Laubar said.

WEAR THE GEAR

During her time at Camp Courage, Laubar literally got to spend a day in the boots of a firefighter, experiencing what it’s like to wear the gear and work with the fire engine.

She also tried her hand at EMS skills including suturing a wound on a mannequin. She also got to learn self-defence and practice police conflict-resolution techniques while pulling over officers.

“Everything we’re offering for them is meant to be fun, educational and empowering for them,” said Stuart Brideaux with Alberta Health Services.

During her time at Camp Courage, Laubar literally got to spend a day in the boots of a firefighter, experiencing what it’s like to wear the gear and work with the fire engine.

The goal is to encourage more women to consider careers as first responders.

“You can’t be what you don’t see,” said Carol Henke with Calgary Fire Department.

“We only have four per cent of our work force in the fire department, uniform – members that are women.”

“So if you see other people that look like you, it just makes is more real as a possibility and a future career.”

Laubar says her experience has encouraged her to continue pursuing her dreams.

“I like the idea of being able to go into situations where people might be scared or not know what to do and help them out.”

Laubar says her experience has encouraged her to continue pursuing her dreams.

She encourages others to apply for the camp.

“It is so much fun, you’ll make so many friends.”

Camp Courage Calgary runs July 17-23, 2023.

It is a collaboration between Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, Alberta Health Services and YouthLink Calgary, funded by the Calgary Police Youth Foundation and the Bridges to Brighter Futures Program, supported by the Shaw Family Foundation.

The camp was originally founded in Halifax in 2006.

Camp dates: July 17 – July 23, 2023

Application deadline: March 31, 2023

Application: https://campcourage.ca/

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