Ellenvale Junior High

Camp Courage 2023


In 2006, a firefighter named Andréa Speranza founded a charity called Camp Courage, The First Responder's Society. It is a free, award-winning, life-changing camp that informs, educates, and inspires young women and gender-diverse youth toward emergency service careers. The ultimate goal is that the young women leave with a sense of empowerment and increased confidence to believe they can achieve any goal, career, or dream they desire.

Camp Courage partners with Emergency Health Service, Emergency Medical Care, Medavie Health Ed, Halifax Regional Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Canadian Armed Forces (regular and reservists), Canadian Border Services, Department of National Defence, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Oceans & Fisheries, Sheriff Services, Halifax Regional Fire Service and The Salvation Army to put on an eight-day camp for twenty-four young women. Some of the knowledge and skills learned are self-defence, crime scene investigation, the roles of police service dogs and horses, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, inserting airways and intravenous lines, delivering mechanical babies, making cars into convertibles, climbing a 100' ladder, and putting fires out. We have guest speakers and fitness professionals who empower and inspire the participants to reach their potential.

The graduates are eligible to apply for high school credit, first-aid and CPR courses, several educational bursaries and our post-camp mentorship program. This program focuses on preparing and supporting graduates for the intensive application processes required for employment in the emergency services, specifically preparing for aptitude tests, fitness tests and interviews.

The camp is 100% free. Instead of paying tuition, the applicants must complete an application containing a short answer question describing how they can improve someone else's life or their community and submit two letters of recommendation. Instead of paying tuition, they do what they described. Past graduates have helped people - young, old, physically challenged, homeless - and positively impacted the environment. They have organized blood drives and sports nights, fundraised or lobbied for automated external defibrillators in schools, and started a new Kids Help Phone chapter.

36% of our graduates have moved on to post-secondary education in the emergency services field or are currently working in emergency services, as pictured above. Visit our website https://campcourage.ca for many remarkable success stories, moving testimonials, and awesome promotional videos. My favourite video is Episode 10 of our mini-reality series.

Rather than being sad that COVID caused us to cancel a camp in the past, we are glad it created the opportunity to expand nationally and develop specialty camps. Our inaugural Indigenous Camp Courage and Calgary Camp Courage were smashing successes in July 2022. There are many new startup requests, with two of them being serious.

Please share this life-changing opportunity.


Be inspired,
Andréa Speranza (she/her), Operations Fire Captain
Founder/Executive Director of Camp Courage