The Next Generation: ‘I think girls can do anything they want to.’

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

With seven older brothers, Kierra McCall is no stranger to being outnumbered. Currently, the 15-year-old senior is one of just two females in the City of Darlington Firefighter Explorer Program.

She has been in the explorer program just over a year, after a friend introduced her to the program and got her involved.

“My leadership skills have really developed since I’ve been in the explorer program,” McCall said. “I’ve also learned a lot about team work and it’s just a lot of fun.”

One of her favorite parts of the program has been the summer competition.

“We get to do hose rolling, first aid and gear donning,” McCall said.

McCall said that it has also been interesting to go on calls with the firefighters to observe what they do every day.

Though she enjoys the shuffle of the firehouse, she has plans to become a pediatric heart surgeon.

“My dad suffered from heart problems,” McCall said. “And I love working with kids so it is the perfect combination.”

As a female in a male-dominated field like firefighting, McCall said that she is pushed to work harder.

“As a girl, I have to give more than the boys,” she said. “I can’t just be good; I feel like I have to shine.”

Though many of the teams that the Darlington explorers compete against don’t have a single female team member, McCall is fortunate enough to be one of two. She said that her teammate provides backing for her.

“My teammate supports me and I support her,” McCall said. “It is different than with the boys, there is actually less competition between us.”

As a homeschooled student, McCall said that her mother is very supportive of her taking part in the explorer program.

She said that her family may have been a little worried initially but they’ve seen how much she enjoys it and all of the skills that she has learned.

“I think girls can do anything they want to,” McCall said.

For anyone, male or female, interested in learning more about firefighting, McCall said that she would definitely recommend checking out the explorer program. She said that it is a good way to know if firefighting is something that you want to do as an adult.

“It is not difficult to sign up,” she said. “And it is better to not jump headfirst into a career that you don’t really like. This way you can see what it is all about first.”

Author: mrollins

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