Camp Molly Quint introduces 35 girls to firefighting – Kingston |

Thirty-five girls from the Quinte region spent four days at summer camp, but this is a camp with a twist.

Camp Molly Quint, organized and operated by the Belleville and Quint West Fire Departments, aims to introduce young women ages 15 to 18 to potential careers in firefighting.

The camp culminated with a graduation ceremony for the young women and their proud families on Sunday, 17 July.

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Belleville Fire Department chief Monique Bellair started the Camp Molly program in 2019 when she was part of the Oakville Fire Service.

Belair says that women are under-represented in the firefighting sector.

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“Internationally we are less than four to seven percent of firefighters,” Belair said.

Lena Heams, 15, of Brighton, said she enjoyed the camp and was glad she participated.

“We had to go through an obstacle course, we used hoses and how to hook them up to the hydrant and that was great too,” Heams said.

The camp also gave 35 campers a glimpse of fire fighting in various areas including fire prevention and public education.

“We also investigated, like, where the fire started in a room or a house, and then we also communicated, how when someone calls 911, they send the fire truck, the police, the ambulance,” 17 Said- year-old camp participant Desiree Drakup.

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Belair says the camp is a recruiting tool, but at the same time the program has a second goal.

“The Canadian Women’s Foundation conducted a survey of young women and in Grade 6 they were asked about their level of self-esteem and 37 percent said they had good self-esteem,” Belair said. “By the time they reached 10th grade, that number had dropped to 13 percent,” Belair said.

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Belair believes that the challenges presented in the program help young girls maintain or build their self-esteem.

In the years after Camp Molly came into existence, the program evolved and spread to other areas.

About a half-dozen fire departments in Ontario offer Camp Molly and Bellair says discussions are underway to form a provincial committee to offer firefighting summer camps to smaller fire services that don’t have access to the program to offer. There are no resources for

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