Crystal Flame Award: LAFD Girls’ Camp Founders

March 31, 2019

Despite gains made in other sectors, women remain historically underrepresented in fire departments across the country. In Los Angeles, where women comprise just 3% of LAFD firefighters and paramedics, Girls’ Camp is an essential recruitment tool that exposes high school girls to the possibilities of fire service and helps them consider it a viable career choice.

The first Los Angeles Fire Department Girls’ Camp was held in August of 2016; since then, 358 girls have attended five camps. For the young women who attend, Girls’ Camp helps build confidence and experience with all aspects of firefighting. Climbing an aerial ladder, learning to administer CPR and stop bleeding, operating a fire hose — everything that happens at Girls’ Camp occurs under the mentorship of female firefighters who demonstrate to these young women that they are capable of much more than they imagined.

Creating and implementing the Girls’ Camp program has been a labor of love for the four women we honor. The first Girls’ Camp happened as the result of exhaustive planning, designing curriculum, and recruiting volunteers from the LAFD and other departments. Since then, thanks to financial support from the LAFD Foundation, a large number of corporate donors, and the Los Angeles City family, funding exists now to keep the Girls’ Camp thriving for years to come.

Retired Battalion Chief Alicia Welch, Battalion Chief Kristine Larson, Firefighter Monica Hall, and Captain Jennifer Wilcox have a combined 100 years of service on the job. Each has volunteered many hours of personal time to create an outstanding experience for the Girls’ Camp participants. Recognized as leaders in the LAFD, these women have leveraged their leadership to promote the cause of women in the department and to bring more of them into firefighting careers. Their network in other departments has enabled them to maintain the Camp’s volunteer staffing.

Outreach to high school girls throughout Los Angeles is a high form of service to our city. The strong and inspired young women who emerge from Girls’ Camp are the result of the dedication of our Crystal Flame Honorees for Community Service.

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