Girl Scout and Wildland Firefighter
“Taking the lead means speaking up when you need to,” says Stephanie Scoles.
In Stephanie’s profession, choosing not to speak up can carry disastrous consequences. Stephanie is a wildland firefighter who has worked for the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control based on the Western Slope. Also a certified emergency medical technician and currently studying to become a paramedic, Stephanie takes a helicopter to work and it drops her on the fire line.
“If you see something, say something” she says. “Working on a wildland fire crew has taught me that your voice matters even if you are not the assigned leader.”
In fall 2019, the Granite Lake Fire burned hundreds of acres in the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness in Pitkin County. The day of this photo, high winds grounded the helicopter, so Stephanie and the crew hiked to the top of a peak to overlook the fire.
Stephanie, who joined Girl Scouts in kindergarten and remained active through high school, says planning and hosting a nautical-themed camp in high school gave her an introduction to leadership.
“Each one of us in the troop got the opportunity to be in charge of one of the nautical-themed competitions,” she says. “The opportunity to test us under pressure and communicate efficiently was one of my favorite things.”
Her composure under pressure, effective communication, and love of outdoors make her a successful firefighter, but Stephanie credits her family’s encouragement to go out and explore and always do her best as the reasons for her success.
“This is not where I stop,” she says. “I’m still striving to do be better every day.”
Stephanie, who also has worked as a summer camp counselor for Girl Scouts of Colorado, advises girls to be true to yourself.
“You are enough,” she says. “You don’t need to be the top of the class, or the #1 athlete, or anything else. Being true to yourself is enough. That is not saying don’t strive for greatness, but if you truly do your best and enjoy yourself along the way, that is what it is about.”