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D14 senior vol development day
On 19 July, District 14 held a valuable professional development day for senior volunteer leaders.
By Kris Wilms
This is a new initiative and one of a number of programs D14 offers to provide leadership and management development opportunities for senior volunteers.
The content for the day was informed by feedback and requests from the field, and covered three main topics. Martin Anderson, CFA Digital Media Manager, presented an informative session on 'managing social media in brigades', giving an overview of how social media can be used appropriately without crossing privacy boundaries in brigades and in the field. This presentation generated discussion about different situations participants have faced in their brigades around social media, and photography or filming on the fireground, and posting footage on YouTube.
Qualified Firefighter Alex Batty opened the session on practical approaches to multiculturalism or CALD (cultural and linguistic diversity) in CFA brigades. Alex is currently working on a Phd in this area and is a wealth of knowledge. Participants appreciated his passion for this subject and his presentation was enhanced by member case studies presented by two D14 volunteers.
Truganina Captain Colleen Goodfellow spoke about the successful integration of a number of non- Anglo members into her brigade, while Firefighter Asim Siddiqui from Epping shared the challenges and rewards he has experienced during his first 12 months in CFA.
The final for presentation for the day featured Evan Townsend and Michelle Taylor from CFA's Wellbeing Project, who provided information about how the project works, how it can be helpful to captains and how it can be accessed. This was really useful, practical information for participants, particularly the discussion generated by a case study exercise.
In addition to captains and first lieutenants, the day was also attended by Regional Director Greg Esnouf, Operations Manager James Dullard, MTD Natalie Kenely, BASO Kirsten Dudnik, operations officers and guests from D2 and D7.
The program was developed and facilitated by Kris Wilms. Feedback was positive and many participants indicated they would have loved to have spent more time discussing the topics and asking questions of the subject matter experts.
"The opportunity to network with our peers, and support personnel within the district and regional office can never be understated," said Wattle Glen Captain Stephen Gaunt.
"It's so often that the issues that a captain may be facing, another can provide some words of support or guidance. The recent Professional Development Day gave me personally some things to think about with regards to social media, interaction with the community and member management and psychological first aid."
Captain Brandon Delaney from Yarrambat brigade said, "Currently being in a brigade from the Outer Northern Metro area and having been the captain of a brigade in one of Melbourne's largest growth corridors, I could relate to and appreciate the presentation delivered by Alex Batty about cultural diversity.
"It was a great insight into challenges that brigades will encounter in an ever-growing multicultural volunteer organisation. The information delivered on mental health was priceless, as this is a very real and ever-growing issue that we as leaders in an emergency services organisation will encounter and need to actively address.
"These two topic were the highlight of the day for me. Thanks again for the opportunity to attend and I would encourage an expanded version of this for future leaders."
Also see District 14 pilot mentoring program story.