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Kansas City-area Girl Scouts reach new heights at Camp Fury thanks to first responders

KCFD camp
KCFD fire camp
Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 19:08:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan.  — Kansas City-area Girl Scouts from northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri got the opportunity to build confidence, courage and character alongside first responders on the first day of Camp Fury, an effort to show girls they are just as tough as boys.

Some lessons were a little painful.

“My arms hurt so much,” Alissa Harris, a Girl Scout with Troop 2406, said. "If I want to be a firefighter, I have to get into the gym or something like that."

One step at a time, but this was a potentially important one for Girl Scouts like Harris, who might now be closer to becoming the next first responder.

“I’ve always wanted to do what men can do, because I do feel like, if a man can do it, a woman can do it, too,” Harris said.
learned different techniques Monday from Kansas City, Missouri, fire crews with Fire Station No. 6.

“(We) showed them how to pull a ceiling, so if there is a fire above them, how to pull the ceiling in, if there is a fire inside the wall,” KCFD instructor Jennifer Amayo said. “Another thing we did was climb the aerial ladder, which is 105 feet in the air.”

The girls also climbed four stories then rappelled down a building.

Joy Wheeler, the CEO for the Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, said the goal of the is to help girls realize they can be a firefighter or police officer, if they want.

“It’s critical that girls see women, and women who look like them, in these different careers," Wheeler said. "You can’t be what you’ve never seen."

Wheeler said not only does Camp Fury show girls they can pursue a traditionally male career, but it helps develop genuine connections between kids and first responders.

“It can be a major benefit in neighborhood relationships with first responders and helping girls see that first responders are friend, not foe,” said Wheeler.

Hoping to break down barriers, Marisa Barnes, a major with the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department said training like this is crucial.

“We just don’t have a lot of females," Barnes said. "We are very underrepresented, so things like Camp Fury are trying to get to young girls early, so that they know that something like this is possible."

Barnes added that recruiting girls to the police force is important, especially when asked to respond to a scene where victims might be more comfortable speaking with a female officer.

“Domestic violence relationships, if the victim is a female, sometimes they are more comfortable speaking with a female," Barnes said. "Also sexual assault and child molestation, sometimes they are more comfortable with a female. Not always, but we bring a different aspect to it."

Hanging on tight, and learning the ropes of the job, the Girl Scouts hope soon to be climbing the ladder of success.

“I just want to show these girls that they can do a job no matter what, but as a female on the department you have to learn to utilize your body differently,” Amayo said.

Consider Harris inspired.

“I want to go into first responders," she said. "I don’t know what yet, but I just want to do something that is going to help people."

The rest of this week, the Girl Scouts will be participating in additional training, including learning how to put out a car fire, roles with the FBI, crime scene investigation, a trip to the gun range and a chance to learn about police procedures.