Kingston’s inaugural Camp Molly saw ‘huge response’

2024 Camp Molly Kingston graduates. Photo by Travis Arnem.

Over the weekend, approximately 30 campers attended Kingston’s inaugural Camp Molly, a volunteer-run firefighting camp, aimed at inspiring young women, non-binary and Two-Spirit youth aged 15 to 18 to explore careers in the fire service.

“Be prepared to be challenged, be prepared to be empowered, and be prepared to change the way you see yourself: these are the promises made to participants who attended Camp Molly,” the City of Kingston said in a media release, dated Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

The free, four-day camp was held for the first time in Kingston over the weekend of May 23 to 26, 2024, in partnership with the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council.

Kingston Fire Chief Monique Belair founded the camp in 2019 as a deputy in Oakville, Ont., aiming to increase diversity within the fire service. Since then, the camp has expanded across the country, with 10 held in 2024, the City shared. 

“There has been a huge response to this camp and 2025 is already booked. We are grateful to our instructors, all women, who volunteer their time and show campers there is a place for them in the fire service. It is so important for participants to see themselves reflected in the roles,” said Chief Belair.

“From the two previous camps held in the Quinte region, 13 campers have gone on to pursue careers in fire services.” 

According to the release, one-third of the campers at this past weekend’s event identified as Indigenous from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Instructors taught campers about firefighter survival training, forcible entry, medical procedures, media relations, public education, fire investigations, fire prevention, communications, auto extrication and fire suppression. 

Mohawk Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Scott Maracle said firefighting runs in the family, including his own father.

“My granddaughter and niece are both in the camp this year. Even if they don’t become firefighters, this experience of team building and camaraderie is so valuable and a great eye-opener,” he shared in a statement. 

Camp Molly participants ended camp on Sunday with a graduation ceremony after completing a firefighter combat challenge relay, marking the culmination of their team building and empowerment activities over the past four days. The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, was in attendance for both the relay and the ceremony. 

“Congratulations to this year’s brave and intelligent young women who are graduating from Camp Molly fire services training in Kingston. Fires disproportionately threaten First Nations, both through residential and wildland fires, and these young women considering careers in firefighting will play a critical role in saving people’s lives and contributing to Indigenous-led responses to emergencies. Indigenous Services Canada continues to support First Nations’ leadership in addressing these dangers by providing departmental funding for firefighting equipment and for the training of community personnel to respond to fires,” Hajdu said.

To learn more and register for future camps, visit Camp Molly’s website

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!