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Girl Power: New Girl Scout camps help to rethink professions

Girl Scouts are offered programs that allow them to explore male dominated professions.
Girl Scouts are offered programs that allow them to explore male dominated professions. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of the USA

Empowering young girls and building courage, confidence and character in them is the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) way. These qualities eventually extend through their education to their careers. ABC News reported on Monday, Aug. 18, that Girl Scouts are now offered camps that explore male-dominated professions.

These girl-power camps include CampHERO and Homesteading Camp. CampHero examines what a career in protective services (fire, emergency, police etc.) would be like, and Homesteading Camp examines “simple living, sustainability and farming”.

“It’s no secret that there are few women in the protective services, especially fire and police," said Madison Fire Department Captain and founder of the CampHERO program, Jen Roman, to ABC News. "The reasons for that extend beyond failed recruitment efforts or moves to prevent women from being hired in the industry. Research shows us that children are socialized to believe gender stereotypes as it relates to employment."

Associated Press reported earlier this year that firefighting continues to be a male-dominated profession. Federal labor statistics state that females only make up 3.4 percent of the total fire services workforce. In New York, fire departments are pushing to get more women in this industry as “out of 10,500 uniformed firefighters in New York City, only 37 are women, or about a third of 1 percent, among the lowest percentage of any department in the nation.”

Located in Madison, Wisconsin, CampHero was designed in part because of these statistics. At this camp girls are encouraged to think of a career as a firefighter or police officer as a possibility for them. Roman added that if an older girl would like to enter this field they also provide her with the support needed to succeed.

This camp accepts 190 participants who are in kindergarten through 12th grade, and these camp-goers come from around the country. This week-long camp covers self-defense, search and rescue, rig/squad tours, tours of the jail, court house and morgue, deploy hoses, fire attack, distracted driving, triage, report writing, first aid, CPR/CCR and airway management among other things.

Homesteading Camp is located in Denver, Colorado. "This year, girls at Homesteading Camp had the chance to care for barnyard animals, milk cows and goats, harvest honey, can food, and harvest fresh vegetables and herbs, among other activities," said a spokeswoman for GSUSA to ABC News.

In June, Always came to support girl power with its #LikeAGirl commercial. In the video, participants are asked to do things “like a girl.” For most participants this meant doing something poorly, but the young girls who participated showed just the opposite.

Encouragement is very important for youth. In 2000 The Girl Scout Research Institute shared that, “For girls ages 8-12, aspirations after high school are largely educational and professional: 93% for college education; 76% for a career; 67% for marriage; and, 63% for children.” These camps now become in addition an inspiration for what girls can do.