Transforming girls into heroes

Transforming girls into heroes

You couldn’t swipe the smile off Amanda Bauman’s face as she suited up to show off Station 6’s ladder truck. Her motto as a rookie with the Madison Fire Department is pretty simple.

“Do whatever they need,” Bauman said. “It’s just pretty much, be assistance.”

The job now includes being a mentor to girls considering Bauman’s career path.

In only its second year, Camp Hero is a one-of-a-kind program based in Madison. 

The camp brings in young women from across the country and introduces them to traditionally male-dominated professions, specifically those in police, EMS, and fire departments.

Camp Hero is open to girls in kindergarten through 12th grade. Bauman has primarily dealt with the older groups of participants, which will actually stay overnight at the station for a full firsthand experience.

“I wish I had it when I was young and had a mentor to show me the tricks of the trade and show me what it’s about and see if I like it before making that decision as a career,” Bauman said.


Gail Campbell has the same passion and enthusiasm for the job that she did 24 years ago. A Madison firefighter herself, Campbell was the only woman in her training class.

“Its a great way for them to sort of test themselves and sort of go, hey you know, I’m stronger than I thought in a lot of different ways, and I’m capable of way more than maybe I thought I was or maybe somebody told me I was,” Campbell said.

She admitted that the profession is physically and mentally demanding, but said she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“At the end of the day, it’s a pretty gratifying feeling to know that you did,” Campbell said. “You were able to help somebody, and I can’t think of a better profession to be in than a service profession like this.”

Lindsay Keiken roamed the silent auction tables at a Camp Hero benefit Saturday. A firefighter’s daughter, Keiken is part of the committee that helped put together the program last year.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for so many girls that never even considered this an option for their life,” Keiken said.

Camp Hero has served more than 150 girls from across the country, and the program’s leaders are hoping to expand their efforts to introduce more young women to service-oriented career paths. In order to reach all of their goals, Camp Hero leaders say they need to raise $10,000.

To participate in or to support Camp Hero, visit their web site.