Student VoicesBack to student voices archive August 6, 2013
Firefighting Summer Camp Seeks Female Recruits
by Elizabeth Jones
Fewer than four out of every 100 firefighters are women, according to national statistics, but Arlington County is making a strong effort to turn the numbers around by running weekend camps showing girls that firefighting can be a rewarding career.
Many women don’t think they have the strength and stamina for the labor intensive job, but women like Captain Tiffanye Wesley and Andrea Kaiser-Goodine disagree.
“19 years ago when my parents didn’t even think it was possible, when my parents asked, ‘Why would you want to do such a dangerous job,’” said Captain Wesley. “And when my friends, they said the same, ‘You are much too small. You don’t have enough weight to do the job,’” Wesley continued. “I said in my mind, I said anything that I want to set my mind to, I’m going to do.”
And she has. Climbing the ranks where there are even fewer women, Wesley is now ranked Captain II at Arlington County Station 4 Fire Department.
Neither woman knew growing up they wanted to pursue firefighting careers. That’s why they agreed to help recruit and instruct young women.
“It’s been the best choice of my life… I do. I love it,” said Kaiser-Goodine who started out reporting for a TV news station where she was eventually introduced to the idea of a firefighting career.
Trainee Tara wrote to NewsHour Extra about her experience:
As soon as I heard about this on the radio, I knew this camp was for me. To me, this sounded like a fun way to experience what firefighters do. Personally, I have always been interested in firefighter/police/detective work. So this might be my future career. My favorite parts were getting to hang out and spend time with the firefighters, watching the live fire, and of course, riding in the fire truck.
It is really intimidating that only four percent of firefighters are girls. What people don’t realize is that if a girl sets her mind to something and she believes in herself, then she can accomplish anything! Judith Livers Brewer, the first female firefighter, is one of my role models–she did something no other woman had ever done.
I learned that after firefighters put out a fire, they feel really good about themselves because they know they’ve helped someone. I also learned that it’s not an easy job and that the female firefighters set their minds to do their jobs well.
Female firefighters have many challenges, such as scheduling family time and commitments around their work schedules. They also have to overcome the stereotypes of being women in a very physical and dangerous job. Even though they know it’s a dangerous job, they still love it!
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of related content
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Summer academy helps refugee children prepare for life in the U.S.
A program that helps refugee children from 29 countries acclimate to life in the United States met again this summer in New York City. Continue readingasylumNew York CityrefugeeSocial Studies
Take the Political Party Quiz to find out where you fit!
Ever wondered where you fit on the political spectrum? Take this quiz to find out! Continue readingElection 2016political partyPoliticsquiz
Lionfish-zapping robot offers solution to invasive species
Invasive lionfish have devastating effects on native species and ecosystems in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, but robotic technology offers a new way to stem their spread. Continue readingenvironmentinvasive specieslionfishScience
Celebrate 100 years of National Parks with these PBS NewsHour stories
For the U.S. National Park Service centennial, use these NewsHour Extra classroom resources to teach students about the importance of conservation.conservationnational parksNational Parks Servicenature
Jill Stein and the role of third party candidates in presidential elections
The third party candidate Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party says she remains the only candidate in the presidential race who is not corrupted by lobbyists’ money, corporate money or super PACs. Continue readingAl GoreBernie SandersCivicsDemocratic PartyDonald TrumpGeorge W. Bushgreen energyGreen PartyHillary ClintonJill SteinpollingPollsRalph NaderRepublican PartySocial Studiesthird partiesThird-Party