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Maffra’s own shines a light on youth
On 6 May, one young Victorian will stand on a podium and take home CFA’s newest accolade – the CFA Young Volunteer Excellence Award as part of the 2016 Victorian Young Achiever Awards.
The Awards, of which CFA is a first time sponsor, encourage, acknowledge and reward the contribution young Victorians make in their local communities.
For Ryan Wheeler, one of three finalists, the night will have special meaning. Ryan is one of CFA’s own; a volunteer with the Maffra Fire Brigade, Ryan was CFA’s youngest ever 2nd Lieutenant and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant last year. His operational leadership role aside, Ryan provides community education and fire safety lessons, runs fundraising events for the Brigade such as trivia nights and the Fireman's Ball, and even finds time to play in the Maffra Municipal Band
Kate Harrap, Acting Executive Director Learning & Volunteerism, has spearheaded CFA’s sponsorship of the Young Volunteer Awards and is herself one of the judges for the new award. While her role as a judge precludes her for speaking on behalf of any of the finalists, Kate is quick to point out that – regardless who wins – that volunteerism is alive and kicking in Victoria’s next generation of leaders.
“The calibre of nominees, and especially the three finalists, takes your breath away. These three young Victorians [the youngest is just 18] have contributed so much to their communities in such a short time. We want to bottle the essence of what drives young people to volunteer and spread it though the community, the future of Victoria and volunteerism is very bright,” says Kate.
All award winners, including the CFA Young Volunteer Excellence Award and the top award – the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year, will be announed on 7 May.
Here’s hoping the lights in Maffra burn bright for Ryan.
About the award
The CFA Young Volunteer Excellence Award covers all aspects of volunteering including (but not restricted to) youth at risk, the homeless and disadvantaged, emergency services, health, aged care and not for profits. Nominees are young volunteers who, through exceptional leadership and support to others, demonstrate innovative ways to achieve excellence beyond what is expected of them.