By Paula Ebben


ASHLAND (CBS) – When it comes to the fire house and emergency services, it’s often a man’s world. Well a unique program in Ashland aims to change that with a hands on experience and a lot of teamwork. It’s called the Camp Bailout program, 10 teenage girls spending a week at the Ashland Fire Department.

“The goal of the Camp Bailout program is to encourage young women to get involved with the fire and EMS service,” says Ashland Fire Lt. Lyn Moraghan who started the program six years ago because she felt there weren’t enough women in emergency services.

“One of the most important things is that we provide a safe environment, a dynamic environment for them so that they can flourish and they can challenge themselves,” she says.

“It just means that even though I’m a girl that we can always do the same things as guys,” says Isabella Thurber, one of the young people involved in the experience.

It’s hot, sometimes grueling work that gives the girls a crash course in the challenges of being a firefighter. “I wanted to do this because I really love helping people. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it,” says Tara Sivik, another camper.

Building confidence is another goal. “We want them to know that whatever it is, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. And that’s what we try and encourage,” says Lt. Moraghan.

And through that team building, the friendship building and the mentoring of volunteers from six area afire departments, it’s working. “I want to be a firefighter,” says Isabella. “It’s not about your gender, it’s about your motivation and it’s about what you want to do,” says Katy Waldman, one of the girls attending the program.

The Camp Bailout program is supported by a grant from the town of Ashland.

For more information visit: Camp Bailout Facebook

Paula Ebben

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