Mentors

Andréa Speranza

Founder & Executive Director

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Andréa is a university graduate (Bachelor of Business Administration Honors), business owner and volunteer firefighter who became a career firefighter 18 years ago.  She is an Operation’s Captain with the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service stationed in Woodside, Dartmouth.  Her passion to improve everything she has experienced led her to found Camp Courage, an award winning, life changing camp that educates and inspires young women to become first responders.  She not only is a champion for diversity but also was a national Firefighter’s Combat Challenge Champion.  She loves to share her life’s philosophy at educational events and conferences almost as much as she loves her little dog Cooper

Natasha Prest

Vice President

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In 2009, Natasha became the First African Nova Scotian Career Member of Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Services. Natasha believes that being a Firefighter is the best career in the world and she would recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others, who is willing to go above and beyond for people in need and be a part of a team who you will now and forever consider FAMILY. I am a mother of a 19 year old daughter and I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University.

Quote Natasha believe sums up who she is:

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has over come. – Booker T. Washington”

Jodi Lambert

Paramedic Program Co-ordinator

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Jodi Brown brings years of experience to the Camp from being a member of the Naval reserves and living abroad.  Basing herself from Lower Sackville but indulging her love of travel at every opportunity, Jodi has worked with Emergency Health Service for eleven years as a Communications Officer and Primary Care Paramedic.  Jodi is on the board of directors for the camp. She is one of the main paramedic coordinators.

Lieut. Robert Andrews

Mentor

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Robert Andrews has been a volunteer member with Station 8 in Bedford for the past 25 years and holds the rank of Lieutenant.  He is a Level 1 Instructor and is responsible for coordinating the station training.  Robert has been employed with the Regional School Board for nearly 20 years.  He was awarded Atlantic Firefighter of the year in 2013 for his work with Muscular Dystrophy of Canada.

Nadya-Lyse Paré

Mentor

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Nadya-Lyse Paré has been with Camp Courage since its inception and has remained committed to its goals and purpose. She is mother of two amazing and strong young adults and mentor to many more.  In 1994, she became one of the first female career firefighters in Halifax Regional Municipality after breaking barriers as the first female firefighter in 2 different volunteer departments. She became the first woman career officer and has been very successful leading various crews in Halifax Regional Municipality, notably her current all-female crew. Captain of the Woodside fire station, certified diversity professional and educator she has been teaching the value of diversity on her days off, for many years and believes in it strongly. She is now taking on a new challenge and attempting to become the first woman to hold the position of Divisional Commander. Nadya-Lyse is a public speaker, a writer and an advocate. She is a Justice of the Peace for the province and also owns a lovely Bed and Breakfast on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.

Sherry Dean

Mentor

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Sherry Dean has been a career firefighter since 2007 and was previously a volunteer firefighter in Blockhouse.  She is a rope rescue technician, hazardous materials technician, a level 1 firefighter instructor and a Combat Challenge Champion.  In her spare time she directs and acts in plays.

Veronica Faulkner

Mentor

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Veronica Faulkner grew up learning all about fire services. Her father, John, was one of the founding members of what is now Station 16 in Eastern Passage. She very quickly learned that telephone access was limited only to what was necessary and to keep her calls very short, because you never knew when there would be an incoming fire call. She and her siblings learned how to quickly make those most important calls to volunteer members. Of course, today those calls are made by the Communications Centre.  She spent many years working in land development in various cities across Canada and the United States. Returning to her home community she worked for many departments in Halifax Regional Municipality including her last position as Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Operational Support Fire Services up until July 2012. Always passionate about her job and the welfare of her co-workers, she concentrated her efforts on the health and welfare of our firefighters which resulted in the Health & Wellness Committee receiving an award. She has spent a lifetime volunteering and although she is now retired and is enjoying the opportunity to travel she continues to volunteer in the community including as many of Fire Services functions as she is able. She has been with Camp Courage since 2008. She can be found in the classroom, on the training grounds and always with her camera in hand. Remember to smile because you will more than likely find your photo displayed in one of the Camp Courage scrapbooks.

Andrew Church

Mentor

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Andrew Church has been a member of HRM Fire Station 59 for over ten years and has been posted as Captain for most of that time. Andrew holds a Red Seal Certificate as a Certified Chef and worked in the food Service industry for nearly 20 years. Through continuing education and fire Service training, Andrew was able to make a career change into the Occupational Health and Safety field in 2003. He has earned the Canadian Registered Safety Professional designation and is currently teaching Occupational Health and Safety at the Nova Scotia Community College. Andrew has been married for more than 20 years to his lovely wife Rose and resides in Hubley where they are raising three children. His interests include music, physical fitness and the environment.

Rose Luedee

Mentor

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Rose Luedee has been a member of Halifax Regional Municipality Fire for 12 years. She started at Bay Road Fire, Station 59 and was the first female officer in the station’s history. Rose moved to Station 65 which replaced the Bay Road Fire. She is a certified level 2 firefighter, a Red Seal Chef, an independent beauty consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics and works at a local daycare. Rose continues her fire service development as a fire instructor at the Nova Scotia Fire Fighting School. Rose is a mother of three and resides in Hubley with her husband Andrew. Rose loves photography, cycling, hiking and playing darts.

Karen Comeau

Mentor

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Karen Comeau was born & raised in the small French community of Meteghan, which is located along the South Western shore of NS in between Yarmouth & Digby.  She works as an Advanced Care Paramedic in Milford, NS.  Karen has been employed by Emergency Medical Care as a paramedic since 2001 and has worked in many different places, Annapolis, Yarmouth, Meteghan, Bridgetown and currently in Milford.  She loves being a paramedic as it is a very rewarding career to help people in need as well as to meet all sorts of lovely new people in your every day travels.  Karen enjoys volunteering for many for many different activities going on in the community and she always up for new and exciting adventures.  Karen especially enjoys spending time with the girls for the paramedic days at Camp Courage…what a great camp and experience!

Cst Michelle Everson

Police Program Coordinator

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Michelle Everson is a Halifax Regional Police Officer. She grew up in New Brunswick and after a full career in the Information Technology field at NBTel / Aliant decided to make the jump to policing. After three years as an auxiliary Constable with the Saint John Police Force, Michelle attended Holland College in PEI and graduated the police academy in 2006. Michelle currently works in Halifax as a community relations / crime prevention Officer. She has also done general patrol and worked as a school resource officer.  Currently Michelle is responsible for the HRP Co-op program with area high schools, the ride along program and other events. Michelle has two adult children, four adult step-children and two dogs. Michelle is one of the main police program coordinators

Cst Natasha Dantiste

Police Program Coordinator

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Constable Natasha Dantiste of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, graduated with a Certificate in Business Administration from Mount Saint Vincent University and began working as a Public Service Employee with the federal government. Natasha’s career in the Federal Public Service eventually brought her to work for the RCMP in 2001.  Natasha spent three years working at the RCMP division headquarters in Halifax, Nova Scotia before enrolling in the RCMP police officer recruitment process.  Natasha travelled to Regina, SK to complete training and graduated from the RCMP Training Academy in December 2005.  She began her general duty policing career working in detachments at New Minas, Wolfville, and Cole Harbour, NS.

 

Natasha’s involvement with Camp Courage began as it aligned directly with her role as a Community Policing Officer and her former work with youth as a School Liaison Officer.  Natasha is a mother of two and remains committed to supporting law enforcement educational programs aimed at youth. Natasha is one of the main police program coordinators.

Trish Pittman

Mentor
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Trish Pittman served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 8 years in both the Naval Reserves and Regular Force. She has earned her level one certification from the Nova Scotia Fire Service and is currently a member of the Enfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Eddy Parsons

Mentor

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Eddy Parsons, supporter of gender equality and advocate for social justice.   Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science/ History from Saint Mary’s University.  Bachelor of Education Degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and Master of Education in Lifelong learning.  Former public-school teacher who is committed to using his university education and life experience to make the world a more fair and equitable place for girls, women and those from under-represented groups.  Working to make the fire service more inclusive and reflective of those we serve.

Holly Coote

Mentor

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Holly Coote is a primary care paramedic with EHS ground ambulance in central Nova Scotia and loves her job!  She has been a volunteer firefighter since 2015. Holly started her firefighting journey at station 65 in Tantallon and has since transferred to station 60 in Herring Cove. She has a strong passion for the firefighting field and plans to serve for many years to come.

Emily Robinson

Mentor

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Emily Robinson is a Volunteer Firefighter in Elmsdale since 2016.  She and is certified Yoga Instructor and Reiki Practitioner  She teaches yoga in and near her community and has offered yoga in exchange for donations for Camp Courage and Feed Nova Scotia.  Emily believes you can do anything you put your mind to.   Along with emergency response, Emily has a passion for Entrepreneurship, graduating from Nova Scotia Community College in June 2018 with a diploma in Business Administration.  She is the first Fellow with Venture for Canada from NSCC.  In 2016, she and her fire department team ran a Bluenose Marathon 5K in full bunker gear in support of the fires in Fort McMurray.  She’s volunteered for Heart and Stroke, Laing House, United Way, Football Nova Scotia Medic, and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Her true passion is inspiring and empowering girls and women to strive to be the best they can be.  Emily has an 11-year-old daughter, and 15-year-old son.  Her favorite quote is: “Be the change you want to see in the world” by Mohandas Gandhi.  

Howard Rake

Fundraising Director

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Howard has been in Commercial Sales with Canada Post for 22 years.  Within Commercial Sales he has achieved 4 Club Excellence Awards and 8 President Awards.  He graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Economics.  He currently holds QLLP Designation from the Province of Nova Scotia as an Insurance and Financial planner.  He has assisted in coaching in U18 girls soccer and assisted coached in Peewee AA and Bantam AA boys hockey.  Past times include hockey, curling, swimming and paddling.

Diane Wooden

Human Resources

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Diane provided input into the selection process for candidate entrance to the camp and facilitated several selection processes. She also assisted with recruiting members of our fundraising and administrative teams. Diane is a human resource professional with more than 25 years of experience in both public and private sectors. She is an entrepreneur who enjoys helping people to move forward with clarity with their employee, employer and employment issues.

Miranda Newhook

Mentor

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Miranda Newhook is originally from Newfoundland. She has been with EMC since 2005. She has worked across Nova Scotia and is working as an Advanced Care Paramedic and with The Extended Care Paramedic Program in the central region.  Miranda’s passion for helping others continues in her volunteer work with Camp Courage, Peer and Family Support Services, And Youth Forum through the United Church.  Miranda’s positive attitude and zest for life make her a valued Paramedic Mentor with Camp Courage

Samantha Banfield

Director – Event Planning

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Samantha Banfield graduated from Camp Courage in 2011 and graduated with honors from Saint Mary’s University’s Criminology program with a minor in Psychology in 2017.  Samantha is a volunteer fire fighter at Station 17 in Cole Harbour.  She is a Director of Event Planning for Camp Courage.  Samantha is also highly involved in volunteering with community organizations such as Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter and the Community Justice Society. She enjoys staying fit more specifically doing CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting.

Colleen Clarke

Director – Event Planning

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Colleen Clarke graduated from Camp Courage in 2011 and graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology 2016.  She is currently attending Mount Saint Vincent University completing her Bachelor of Education in the elementary program.  Colleen aspires to become a firefighter and currently is a volunteer firefighter at station 13 downtown Dartmouth.   She is a Director of Event Planning for Camp Courage and also works at Kent.  Her hobbies are playing hockey, being physically active and enjoying the outdoors.

Lorne Piercey

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Lorne Piercey is the lead firefighting instructor for Survival Systems Training in Dartmouth Nova Scotia.  Currently Lorne is a volunteer firefighter in Tantallon with Halifax Regional Fire Service station 65 where he serves his community as training officer for that station.

Lorne has taught firefighting for the last 15 years for a number of organizations like the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in Waverley Nova Scotia and at the Atlantic Fire Department Instructors Conference in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  Lorne has an extensive background in firefighting with certifications from JIBC, IFSAC, Pro-board and Dalhousie University.  Lorne specializes in teaching Motor Vehicle Extrication, Hazardous materials and marine firefighting.

Jonathan Mertens

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Jonathan Mertens is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and moved to Halifax in 2014 to work with the Navy.  He joined Station 50, Hammonds Plains, shortly after and completed the Volunteer Recruit Training the following summer.  Jonathan is married to his wife Melissa and lives in Glen Arbour with their son Keegan.  His interests include golf, fitness and water sports.

Michelle Mabe

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Michelle Mabe has been a volunteer firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire since December 2008. She started volunteering with the Herring Cove Fire Department and transferred to Hammonds Plains Fire department in January 2015. In 2016 she became the first female volunteer Lieutenant at Hammonds Plains Fire Department.

Debra Archibald

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Debra Archibald joined us soon after becoming a career firefighter in 2007.   She is the mother of two who leaves no question as to where her priorities are.  She coaches her daughter’s sports teams and loves spending time encouraging them to achieve their goals.  She is committed to helping young women and others reach for their career choices and is an active member of the critical incident stress management team.  She speaks in schools of her experience and how she achieved her goals.  She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University holding a Bachelor of Arts and excelled at varsity soccer.

Madeleine Bohrer

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Madeleine Bohrer is originally from Germany and has been calling Nova Scotia her home for over a decade. She graduated with her Primary Care Paramedicine Diploma in 2011 and has been working for Emergency Health Services in the Halifax area since then. Her first time at Camp Courage was just a couple months into working as a paramedic and she was inspired by the confidence the campers gained during the week. Madeleine believes that team work is the key to success, especially in the emergency services which is something that is well demonstrated during the camp.

Sandy Hill

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Sandy Hill graduated from Acadia University with a BA, major in Political Science. She has been a volunteer with Canning Volunteer Fire Department since 2010 and is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Firefighter School.  Sandy is a Level 2 Certified firefighter, a Level 1 Instructor and Aircraft Rescue Firefighter/CARS Certified from the South Carolina Fire Academy.  She resides with her husband and two teenage sons on her sheep farm in the beautiful Annapolis Valley.

Joan Helson

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Joan Helson is an empowerment-based self defence instructor, women’s educator, speaker, author and cancer survivor. Joan founded Sisu Women’s Self Defence (2006), which is Atlantic Canada’s first self defence training school for women. A student of the martial arts for more than 2 decades and instructor for 17, she holds black belts in Chon Tu Kwan (Combat) Hapkido (3rd degree black belt and certified instructor) and Taekwondo (Kukkiwon and ITA certified black belt, certified instructor). In addition to teaching, Joan cross trains as often as she can in a variety of defensive-oriented styles of martial arts – including Jeet Kune Do, jujitsu, krav maga, combat hapkido and Filipino martial arts – and has completed PPCT’s Defensive Tactics, Pressure Point Control Tactics and Spontaneous Knife Defense certification programs. Her job-specific safety training programs have been attended by Realtors, hospitality staff, health care professionals, security professionals, lawyers, small business owners and many others. She has presented workshops for hundreds of women, teens and pre-teens in Atlantic Canada, and has been invited to speak to issues of women’s safety and self defence on CBC television, CTV National and Atlantic, Global TV, radio talk shows, newspapers and blogs. In 2013, Joan was honoured to be a recipient of the prestigious Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence Award for contributions to her community in the area of health, sport and wellness.