Local Teen Competes Nationally; Camp Embers Ignites Future Firefighters

WASHINGTON INFORMER: Faith Harrison, a resident of Upper Marlboro and 2023 graduate of Bishop McNamara High School, traveled to Mobile, Alabama, on June 14, to participate in the 66th Distinguished Young Women National Finals, a competition that took place between June 22 and 24 at the Mobile Civic Center Theater. Harrison was one of 50 representatives competing for $155,000 in cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2023.

“We are excited to welcome the 50 outstanding state representatives to Mobile for the 66th annual National Finals of Distinguished Young Women,” said Carole Hegwood, executive director of Distinguished Young Women. “These young women are accomplished, talented, intelligent, and have exciting futures ahead of them.”

Harrison and the other 49 contestants participated in team-building activities, completed community service projects, interacted with the Gulf Coast community through various events and engaged in hours of rehearsal in preparation for the three-night scholarship competition.

“The biggest thing I have done to prepare for this competition is saying yes to every single opportunity handed or offered to me that I thought would benefit me,” said Faith. 

“From speaking in public at grand openings, to leading my dance team in certain activities, performing … anything that could help me with my talent, my fitness, my public speaking. I did mock interviews for practice to help me. I really say yes to any opportunity that could be used as a tool to help me in this competition.”

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Lawson, the National Headquarters Marketing and Communications, via email or visit their website.

Camp Embers Grants Firefighting Knowledge to County Teens

On June 24 and 25, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) hosted 30 young women aged 14-18 for the inaugural summer session of Camp Embers, a free two-day summer camp to teach young women skills used in fire and emergency medical services. The camp was hosted at the PGFD training grounds in Cheltenham.

Tiffany Green, the first woman to serve as chief of PGFD, acknowledged the importance of outreach.

‘This camp is vitally important. It will introduce young girls and women to the Fire/EMS industry, and they will know that this is an awesome career opportunity where they can achieve a high level of personal reward and success,” Green said. 

The PGFD fire chief also emphasized what such programming can do for other aspiring firefighters.

“I wish there had been a program like Camp Embers for me when I was considering a career choice, and that is why this is so important to me,” she said. “This camp will leave an impression on young women, and they will know what this career involves and how lucrative and satisfying a career of service can be.”

“I came in here confident as ever and I left even more confident. I did apply for the course so I’m just waiting to hear back, so hopefully I do and I’m just excited to join them,” said 18-year-old Alexis Morales, who will be applying for one of 85 open positions later this year.

Chief Green is committed to the efforts of Camp Ember and plans to continue to grow the camp each year. According to the US Fire Association, only 5% of career firefighters are women. Another study showed only 8% of career firefighters are African-American.

For more information about this program, contact PGFD Public Information Director, Alan C. Doubleday or Camp Embers directly.

Photo: **FILE** Faith Harrison (right) recently represented Maryland in the 66th Distinguished Young Women National Finals. (Courtesy of Distinguished Young Women of Maryland via Facebook)

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