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Camp Courage produces new crop of graduates interested in careers as first responders

The eight-day female mentoring program brings together 24 teens interested in becoming a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic
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Camp Courage 2019 (Photo courtesy of Halifax Regional Police)

Camp Courage has 24 new graduates. 

Founded in 2006 by Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency captain Andrea Speranza, it encourages young women to consider a career as a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic.

The eight-day female mentoring program brings together teens between the ages of 15 and 19. The participants attend presentations, tour facilities and get hands on training.

Speranza tells NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show, 13 years in, previous graduates now come back to mentor the current crop of campers.

"We have around quadruple the applicants that apply and definitely more mentors are coming back," she says. "It took a little time for them to be old enough to go to school ... some of them are 15 years old."

"We also always advise continued education before going into these professions. It's a bit better to have a little life experience before you have to deal with some of these tragedies."

Held every 2 years, the most recent edition ran from July 7 - 14, and even though it has wrapped up, the mentoring aspect has just begun.

"We match a mentor to a graduate and they help them through their application process, their recruitment process -- the aptitude test, the fitness test and the interview," says Speranza. "We also have post-camp workshops and courses ... and networking events to keep that support system going." 

"We're going to be doing things like surfing and courses on leadership, decision-making and healthy lifestyles."

And a new addition to Camp Courage, Speranza says the teens are also now eligible to receive bursaries.

"Every past and future graduate is eligible for three bursaries now. We have a firefighting, police and paramedic bursary, three separate ones," she explains. "As well, Medavie HealthEd offered as a surprise on Sunday, they informed us they will give every single past graduate and every single future graduate a $500 educational bursary."

As for Speranza, now that this year's camp has finished, her work hasn't. Camp Courage organizers will spend the next two years focusing on fundraising and planning for the 2021 edition.




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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