SDFD cancels Girls Empowerment Camp amid alleged threats of gender equality suit

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Fire and Rescue is notifying staff, volunteers and campers that there will be no Girls Empowerment Camp this year, after a local attorney allegedly threatened a lawsuit.

In a letter to parents, the Fire and Rescue Foundation explained that they’re cancelling the girls’ camp, scheduled for March 3 and 4 this year, on the City Attorney’s recommendation.

That followed a letter filed to the City Attorney by San Diego civil rights lawyer Alfred Rava. The letter states that “sex-based, no-boys-allowed or no-girls-allowed” programs “violate several California and federal anti-discrimination statutes.”

Rava told FOX 5 that his client hopes camp organizers will reorganize with a similar, “Girls and Boys Empowerment Camp.”

But the foundation says that no boys were rejected from the original program.

“To be clear, at no time was any male denied entry into the GEC,” Executive Director Wendy Robinson said.

The camp encouraged parents to reach out to the City Attorney’s office for any further questions.

The free, two-day camp’s stated goal was to empower young women to pursue careers in fire services and other public safety agencies.

Alex Mondragon, 14, said she had been looking forward to the camp and is disappointed that it has been cancelled.

“I was getting physically and mentally prepared for this,” Mondragon said.

Both she and her mother told FOX 5 that they do not agree with the reason it was called off.

“I was thinking about it today. I don’t think I’d want my daughter to attend fire camp with boys that are 14 to 18-years-old. I think I would want a separate camp for boys and girls if they’re going to be in that kind of environment where they are being physical and they’re breaking down doors,” Patricia Mondragon, Alex’s mother, said.

“I think that they should just find another camp. It’s not like there aren’t any all-boys camps. Girls didn’t have this opportunity 50 years ago,” Alex said.

Parents of would-be camp-goers said they plan to talk to the City Attorney about reversing the decision.