Charlotte Fire Department holds camp to inspire young girls to be firefighters

CHARLOTTE — Empowering young women doesn’t always involve power tools, but with the Charlotte Fire Department, at least for this week, it does.

“I like to be outdoors and do things that I’ve never done before. So, this was something new for me,” said Gabriella Horne.

Horne is one of dozens of girls who are taking part in Camp Ignite.

It’s an experience hosted by CFD to give those girls the experience of being a firefighter.

Venessa Roy has been leading the camp for nearly a decade. She also happens to drive the busiest engine in all of the Charlotte Fire Department.

“Awareness, but also just empowerment. A lot of girls don’t get the necessary support that they need, or they just don’t know what their options are,” Roy explained. There are very important career fields, but we want to share our career as well.”

Keera Leeper told Channel 9′s Eli Brand that firefighting runs in her family. Her aunt was even the first person to go through Camp Ignite and ended up working at CFD.

Leeper said she wanted to follow in those footsteps.

“I want to be a firefighter,” Leeper said.

And this isn’t just an inspiration for young girls; it’s also inspiring other fire departments.

Departments from Greenville, Atlanta, Greensboro, Concord, and Columbia have sent girls to take part in the camp.

It has even inspired the Greensboro, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro Fire Departments to start their own camps.

Extending the reach of the movement that is showing the future of firefighting could very well be female.

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Eli Brand

Eli Brand, wsoctv.com

Eli is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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