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District 9 Leadership Forums highly recommended
Captains and 1st Lieutenants from 34 brigades across District 9 have gathered over two weekends in March to participate in the first of a series of planned Leadership Forums for the district.
The Leadership Forum was developed after the Volunteer Sustainability Project identified that leadership training was an area our volunteer leaders wanted to develop and expand on within the District. While we certainly acknowledge a significant number of captains and Brigade Management Team members are well informed and possess key leadership skills, conversely there are a number of captains that may not be as confident in managing some of the day to day issues arising out of running of their brigades.
These knowledge and skills gaps can be attributed to:
- a lack of information made readily available
- a lack of formal process around Brigade Management Team inductions
- a lack of leadership experience either within their professional lives, or during their CFA tenure.
With the endorsement of the District Planning Committee the Leadership Forums began to take shape. The district staff collaborated to come up with the content for the first forum, highlighting what district support is out there for captains and brigades in general.
As with most districts our brigades are spread far and wide, so the decision was made to run two forums in different locations to lessen the commuting burden for our volunteers. The logical choices for our district were the brand new Leongatha Fire Station with its LCF capability providing a bigger space in which to house around 50 or so members. The second forum was hosted by the Drouin Fire Brigade at their well-equipped and impeccably maintained station.
Supported by the fantastic Longwarry & District catering team, both days went off without a hitch. Yes, the silent CFA videos were all just a part of the show!
Feedback received from members was overwhelmingly in support of the continuation of this type of leadership networking forum. Topics identified for the next round of forums are succession planning, conflict resolution and how to run meetings.
Some of the comments regarding this round of forums were:
“Good to see great numbers turn up on the day, and the different support groups telling us what is available to us.”
“Great forum - would like to see more regular gatherings.”
“Terrific day with lots of new information and support.”
“Like the idea of this. I have been in the District for over 10 years and never done anything like this before!”
With representation from 70 per cent of the district's brigades, the forums have been a great opportunity to re-introduce District staff and their roles to the very people they are here to support – our volunteers. Captains and 1st Lieutenants are all looking forward to the next forums, expected to be held during the quieter winter months, and after elections.