March Success Stories 

In The Spotlight

**** Info via Camp Courage

March Success Stories 

March Success Story – Mariah

Mariah is from Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, graduated Camp Courage class of 2009 and was the first female Firefighter/Primary Care Paramedic at Suncor- Fort Hills Emergency Services Department. This is what she had to say about the Camp.

“I am writing to you regarding Camp Courage. I attended Camp Courage in July 2009 at 18 years old. I had just graduated High School and was accepted into the Fire Rescue program at Marine Institute in Newfoundland. Before attending Andrea Speranza’s Camp, I was unsure whether or not this would be the career path I would take. I had a lot of self-doubts that I was not strong enough and would not be able to keep up with the boys. Many of my family members did not support my decision to become a firefighter and often suggested choosing a different path. I believe Camp Courage gave me the stepping stones into my career.

On the first day of Camp, Andrea spoke about her own experience of why she became a firefighter and the many career challenges she faced. She talked about setting goals, accomplishing dreams, breaking barriers, and the sky is not the limit. Over the eight days of Camp, men and women from different services educated young women about various emergency services. Members from the RCMP, Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Fire Department and Emergency Health Services, to name a few, came together as one big family. I had the opportunity to experience a small glimpse into each service and what it means to be part of a team. I would not be able to narrow down which days were my favourite. All eight days were amazing, challenging and inspirational. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Lakeside Fire Station on the first day. Camp Courage exceeded any notions I had. By the last day of Camp, I felt strong and empowered. I had other women believing in me and encouraging me to achieve my goals.


After Camp Courage, I went on to fire school with a new appreciation of what it means to set goals and achieve them. In 2014, I decided to expand my medical knowledge and career opportunities. I went back to school for my Primary Care Paramedic. I graduated top of my class with Honors. It turns out emergency medicine was an undiscovered passion I had all along. I have future plans to go back to school for my Advanced Care Paramedic.

For the last four years, I have been the only female Firefighter, Primary Care Paramedic working with Suncor- Fort Hills Emergency Services Department. In 2016, I was awarded a Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Council Commendation Medal from the Horse River Wildfire; for responding to Fort McMurray within the first one hundred hours with my department. I was also presented a Commemorative Medallion from the Government of Alberta to recognize my services during the Horse River Wildfire.

In 2017, my company promoted me to shift supervisor. I now have my own team to encourage, inspire, and empower them to be the best versions of themselves they can be.

Andrea has been a huge role model of mine over the last nine years. Camp Courage was one of the best experiences I believe a teenage girl can have. In a world filled with media’s projection of what high school girls should be doing. Camp Courage shatters that image and builds girls up from the inside out, giving young women confidence to achieve things they didn’t think they could do. Camp Courage shows girls they have the power to do the things they never imagined possible. I am forever grateful for having the opportunity to be part of such an amazing camp. I will never forget what Andrea taught me. “I can’t do that” was replaced by “I can, and I will.”

Sincerely, Mariah Firefighter Primary Care Paramedic


March success story – Amanda

Amanda is from Eastern Passage and graduated from the Camp Courage class of 2009. She was accepted to paramedicine school, but in 2018, she was diagnosed with a large brain tumour. It was a long, hard recovery, but she didn’t let that stop her from becoming a Paramedic in Yarmouth in 2021.

In 2019, Amanda was awarded Camp Courage’s Paramedic Bursary. We are incredibly proud of Amanda for fighting so hard and never giving up on her dream. We are delighted to help her on her journey as well.

She said that “Camp courage was truly an amazing opportunity in my life! I always knew I could do anything I wanted, but completing Camp Courage just confirmed I CAN do anything I put my mind to. Going into the Camp, I wanted to be an RCMP officer, but after experiencing the field,


March success story – Samantha

Samantha is from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, graduated from Camp Courage class of 2011, Saint Mary’s University with an Honours Degree in Criminology and a Psychology Minor in 2015.

She was a Volunteer Firefighter with the Halifax Regional Fire Service at Station 17 and is a Halifax Regional Police Officer, Camp Courage Program Director, Board Member and Event Planner.


March success story – Colleen

Colleen is from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, graduated Camp Courage Class of 2011, Bachelors of Phycology and her Bachelors of Education. She is a grade 4/5 Teacher, a Volunteer Firefighter for Halifax Regional Fire Service at Station 13, Camp Courage Board Member, Mentor and Event Planner. This is what she has to say about her experience.

“I was one of twenty-four lucky females to be selected to attend the Camp Courage program in 2011.This was quite the privilege for a young female who was exploring career options in the first responder’s profession.

Camp Courage was a life changing experience for me. The Camp provided me with many different experiences that I wouldn’t of had the chance to try elsewhere. A few examples are, delivering a mechanical baby, learning to give IV’s, repelling from a building, climbing a 100ft ladder, shooting guns, and using the police simulator machine. The Camp gave me the opportunity and power to build my self-confidence, which allowed me to overcome my fear of heights, by climbing the 100ft ladder. Being able to do something that you never thought you could before is truly an empowering experience. I personally was amazed at the number of dedicated volunteers at this Camp. The founder, Andrea Speranza is an amazing role model and should be honored to have so many young females wanting to follow in her footsteps, as most would not get the opportunity to experience these things and she is making it happen.

I truly believe in Everything this Camp does to help females, as it truly benefitted me and where I’m at today. The Camp Courage program should continue giving young females the opportunity to explore the different roles of first responders, as they are our future.



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