SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio —
This week, female police officers in Springfield Township are taking off their uniforms and empowering teenage girls with life skills, one wrench and one cookie sheet at a time.
During the weeklong camp, teen girls from Mt. Healthy and Finneytown learn lessons and skills that aren't taught in school.
On Wednesday, they took over the Springfield Fire Department's kitchen and learned how to bake cookies from scratch.
"You kind of make mistakes along the way, and it's either a big mistake and you just have to do it all over again, or it's a simple mistake and you can just add salt," said Riley Zortman.
The Finneytown eighth grader learned mistakes are made in the kitchen just like they are in life.
"You have so many opportunities in life, but you have so many choices and you'rr like, 'Which road do I want to take?' Decisions that you make can mess up your life forever or make it better," Zortman said.
With each scoop of dough, the teens learned another lesson.
"How to be stable when I'm older and open my eyes to new things," said Jaikeoya Timpson, of Finneytown.
The girls also learned how to rewire an extension cords shut off water in a house and fetch an earring out of a pipe.
They learned CPR and wore turnout gear just like firefighters.
"We're doing this in conjunction with our fire department as well, so they're teaching basic first-aid skills, CPR," said Springfield Township Police Chief Ron Browder. "One of our firefighters here, she's a captain in the military in addition to being a firefighter, so she's explaining to them there's different career paths you can take."
"That's what we're teaching, our basic life skills ... how to write a check, how to develop a budget, how far budgets really go," Browder said.
When the girls think they can't, they're learning with a little encouragement and teamwork that they can do anything they set their mind to.