The strong women who serve America’s Finest City came together Saturday to empower the next generation and inspire them to some day work in professions like firefighting.
About 100 girls got their hands on some heavy equipment at the first San Diego Fire-Rescue's "Girls Empowerment Camp."
“Them getting their hands on the equipment is going to show them this is something they can do if they put their heart and soul into it,” firefighter instructor Amber Taddeo says.
The two-day camp was organized by women of the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) and San Diego Lifeguard Services on a mission to show young girls that a career as a firefighter, lifeguard, paramedic or military member is an option for them.
The girls learned skills such as becoming CPR certified, how to conduct search and rescues, how to use firefighting tools and equipment and how to do an aerial ladder climb -- just like the pros.
Camper Peyton Martin sees no barriers to her future.
“They’re showing young girls if men can do it then we can do it too,” she tells NBC 7.
The camp came at no cost to the girls, with generous sponsors providing the equipment and food. SDFD hopes they can put on the camp again next year.
American Ninja Warrior Selena Laniel served as one of the instructors.
"It doesn't matter if you're male, female, whatever you want to be. It doesn't matter," she says. "I think that if you put your heart and soul into it, anything can happen. And being a girl is not an excuse. It really isn't. You can do whatever you want," Laniel says.
A closing ceremony will be held for the campers Sunday evening.
Right now, 41 women serve in San Diego Fire-Rescue's ranks, but the department says they hope more women apply.