Camp Lets Teen Girls Relate To Firefighter, Paramedic Roles

By Emily Miels
The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

When it was reported four people involved in a boating accident Friday on Lake Altoona needed help, rescuers dove into action.

Though the mock rescue effort was staged as part of the “Girls On Fire — Rekindled” camp, the teen girls participating got first-hand experience as they worked together to save the supposed victims.

The camp — put on by the Altoona Fire Department Explorer Post 800 and the Chippewa Valley Technical College fire-medic program — gives girls in seventh through 12th grade the chance to experience the firefighting and paramedic career path using real equipment and real life scenarios.

“We’ve been learning about water rescue and how to save someone from the water and how to search for someone under water,” said 13-year-old Sunshine Southworth of Chippewa Falls, the youngest “Girl on Fire — Rekindled” camper.

During the water rescue scenario, the girls were split into teams and assigned to help one of the four victims. The girls used skills they had practiced Friday morning.

Haley Gardner, 17, said her favorite part of the experience was paddling the boats out to the victims and putting them on the stretchers.

“That was really cool,” she said.

Jason Knecht, assistant chief of the Altoona Fire Department, said he was really impressed.

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