4-Day Boston Fire Women’s Workshop


October 27-30, 2020

With fog hovering above the water all around, a group of women all drove past a guard gate as they arrived to Moon Island, en route to their destination.  While Moon Island could be prime real-estate, with its expansive views of the Boston Harbor, it has a rich history and a humble purpose.  It’s been the location of the Moon Island Training Academy (MITA), for firefighters, since 1960, and it recently served as the location of an O2X workshop that was a first-of-its kind event.

The workshop on Moon Island was our first all women’s workshop, where the teams of specialists and participants were both comprised of women only.  Members from 14 different fire departments around the Boston metro area came together to participate in the workshop. They were able to bond over shared experiences, encourage one another, and learn and grow from a team of O2X Specialists who tailor-made the workshop to meet the specific needs of this group.  

The participants’ experience levels ranged from recent graduates of the academy to chiefs, and from rookies to those who have more than 20 years in the fire service. Across the board, the participants all agreed that the O2X workshop could make a positive impact on the health and wellness of their department. 

“Just finished a four-day workshop and it was amazing,” one participant said. “I can’t wait to start implementing all of the lessons and sweat sessions into my daily life.”

One of the benefits of the all-women workshop was that O2X Specialists could address issues that were targeted to the participants.  For example, dietary and physical adjustments to make with aging or hormonal changes and exercises modified for the high risk tasks and everyday duties the women perform on the job.  The Specialists used a hands-on approach that made the information relevant and interesting.

“There was no ‘death by powerpoint,’” one relieved participant said.  “All of the instructors presented so well, and professionally, they were clearly knowledgeable.”

The O2X Lead Instructors onsite included Ali Levy and Jessica Silva.  Ali is O2X’s Director of Product and a Mental Performance Specialist.  She leveraged her education and experience to present relatable information to the participants.  Though most of the participants couldn’t imagine waking up and rushing out the door for an important ski competition, Ali, a former member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, shared personal anecdotes that really connected with the participants and brought more depth to the material.  

Jessica, who has worked as an EMT and a 911 dispatcher, has a deep understanding of the stressors on the other side of emergency calls, which was especially helpful with this group, as it included a group of dispatchers.  It is easy to understand the stress first responders on the scene of accidents and fires might face, but dispatchers are dealing with the same traumatic incidents behind the scenes.  Jessica said that it can be really challenging to relax after a difficult or emotional emergency call.  The skills and tools provided by O2X at the workshop will be valuable to all the first responders, regardless of their specific roles and rank, as they progress through their careers.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from other O2X Specialists on-site, including: Alia Elias (Nutrition), Ana Tocco (Strength and Conditioning), Becky McClelland (Injury Prevention), Ashley Ripke (Mental Performance), Brittany Petty (Yoga/Yoga Nidra), Jennifer Pugh (Clinical Resilience), Sara Hendershot (Personal Resilience), and Deirdre Conroy (Sleep).  You can read more about our Specialists here.