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Advance Youth Crew to Senior Member
The Advance Youth Crew program in District 24 is a well-established partnership between Mt Beauty, Tallangatta, and Corryong secondary colleges, the Department of Human Services and local CFA Brigade members.
CFA members provide support to the program co-ordinators and instruct the students in the development of essential firefighting skills. Members also supply CFA appliances and equipment for the students to train with. The partnership has an impressive 20 year history and many successes for graduates and the local communities.
Katie Wykes is one of those gradutates and is now a Firefighter with the Tawonga Rural Fire Brigade. Her journey with CFA started when she was at Mt Beauty secondary college and she joined the Advance Youth Crew program.
Katie joined the Advance Youth Crew with her best friend, viewing it as a great opportunity to try something new and meet kids from different schools in her area. She said her confidence grew as a result of being a part of the program, and that it gave her the skills she needed to be welcomed into her local brigade at Tawonga. Some other highlights from the program included meeting different people and getting to learn and practice on different appliances. An added benefit to having been a part of the program for Katie has been the boost to her resume. Katie says: “Employers ask about it all the time and are excited to know more”.
Although Katie has moved away from Tawonga to study Psychology, she remains an active member of the brigade and maintains her commitment by turning out regularly. Katie regularly participates in brigade activities such as training and drills during her holiday breaks. Improving her map reading skills has been Katie’s focus this summer.
Katie has welcomed District 24’s move into using social media to communicate with members and says “it’s really useful when I’m interstate to stay in touch with the weather conditions and the conversations other members are having about CFA topics”.
Something Katie misses when she’s away from home is CFA: “I knew I’d miss CFA and I looked around (university) for something I could join”. Katie knows that Melbourne University has started an Emergency Services Club and thinks it would be great to have something similar at other tertiary institutions. Down the track Katie plans to take a look at how she can tie her career in psychology in with her work as a CFA firefighter.
On behalf of CFA District 24, thanks Katie for your commitment and we wish you well with your future plans.