The 6th annual session – after a two year hiatus – of Rescue Divas EMS Camp For Girls was held July 31st – August 4th at Northland College in Ashland, WI. Rescue Divas is a 5 day-4 night residential camp provided by Northwest Wisconsin CEP in collaboration with many community partners, sponsors and EMS agencies to expose middle school aged girls from northwest Wisconsin counties to careers and volunteer opportunities in EMS. Rescue Divas has a lasting impact on the girls that attend, encouraging them to be strong, independent leaders. The bigger goal of Rescue Divas is to increase the pipeline of future EMTs, both volunteer and career, to help avoid a critical shortage of EMS nationwide. To achieve this, it is important to recognize that women are currently underrepresented in EMS. Some estimates state that only one in every three EMTs is female. Also, the ratio of women represented in EMS goes down as rank goes up.
Eighteen girls arrived to kick off Rescue Divas 2022 at Northland College on Sunday afternoon. After an initial evening of getting to know each other with games and a campfire, the girls jumped right into training on Monday morning. They received Friends and Family CPR training provided by Erika Kurtz, Memorial Medical Center and Erin Geraghty, Ashland Fire Department. Eli and Sherry from Washburn Ambulance Services brought an ambulance to camp for a fun and education mid-morning break followed by more CPR training. After lunch, Hannah Larson, Phillips Community Pool, gave the girls a water safety training followed by first aid training by Erika. Mary Ross visited camp after dinner to share her experience as a Ski Patrol volunteer and the night ended with a fun movie.
Tuesday was the field trip day and started with the exciting landing of a LifeLink III helicopter. After a tour of the helicopter and a great Q&A session with the flight crew, the group visited the Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room and the Ashland Police Department. Ashland Fire Department hosted the girls all afternoon with lunch and many fun activities despite the rain trying to put a damper on things. Before heading back to camp, Ashley from Ashland County Sheriff’s Department shared about her career as 911 dispatcher. Tuesday night, the girls were able to choose between open time in the Northland College gymnasium or doing crafts in their dorm.
Wednesday morning, training with Erika was wrapped up with “Stop the Bleed” followed by an empowering self-defense class with Master Todd and Master Jill from Long Island Tae Kwon Do. The entire afternoon was filled with the popular Rescue Divas event, Sawyer County Search & Rescue. They were introduced to search and rescue, taught some visual tracking skills, saw how the drones can assist in searches and were able to observe the K9s work as well. To conclude the afternoon, the girls participated in a mock search along with the Sawyer County Search & Rescue team members. That night, the girls worked with Terry Beirl of Project Linus Ashland/Bayfield County Chapter to do a service project. They assembled 20 blankets that will donated to local hospitals and human services agencies to be given out to children in need of a little extra comfort.
Thursday was a relatively relaxing morning with just one final guest. Skyler Dural-Eder from Northwest Wisconsin CEP presented a condensed version of her school presentation “Hired!” which focuses on soft skills such as communication and the importance of a great attitude. Valuable skills for the girls in their future work & volunteer environments and in life in general. Clean-up, packing, signing thank you notes and post-assessments with Erika filled the rest of the morning. After lunch, there was a presentation recapping the week with parents and guests before the girls said their goodbyes.
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