The summer’s off to a new kind of start for some young Calgarians.
They’re excited to be part of the city’s first camp to give teenage girls a taste of what it takes to be a first responder.
A Camp Courage program featured training sessions at the Calgary Police Service headquarters on Tuesday.
Among the activities offered was hands-on instruction on how to use handcuffs to secure a suspect.
“You see it on TV and you think, ‘Oh yeah, I could do that,'” 18-year-old camper Elizabeth Lauber said. “And then you do it and it’s like, ‘Oh, I forgot three things that I have to do.'”
Along with training with CPS officers, the girls are also learning from firefighters and paramedics.
“I think it’s the most important job in the entire world,” 17-year-old camper Katelyn Arthurs said. “You’re protecting everyone and making people feel safe.”
The camp was offered free of charge to the 24 girls attending Camp Courage.
“It’s a great opportunity, especially because it is being run mostly by women, who can be great role models for us,” Lauber said.
The instructors said it offers girls new perspectives on careers that have been dominated by men.
“Some of them haven’t seen their aunts, their sisters, their mothers in these professions,” said Camp Courage organizer Const. Kelly Lower. “And this is going to give them a great opportunity to say, ‘Hey, you know what? Women can do this job as well.'”
Camp participants said the training sessions will help them decide whether to pursue careers as first responders.
“It really empowers us. We can do it just as well as men do it,” 17-year-old camper Danielle Linkletter said. “We can fight just as hard if we need to.”