Beaconsfield's junior graduates ready to gear up

Member News image Beaconsfield's junior graduates Axel Martin, Riley McKenzie, Daniel Di Camillo, Jeremy Lynn and Chris Jenson.


Beaconsfield Fire Brigade is paving the way for future firefighters following the successful graduation of five of its juniors to senior status through their well-established Juniors Program.


Riley McKenzie, Daniel Di Camillo, Jeremy Lynn and Chris Jenson have been a part of the program for five years, while Axel Martin joined for two years.

Beaconsfield Junior Program Team Leader Jason McKenzie has gladly committed his time and passion to training the new group of firefighters over the past five years.

“It’s been a massive achievement and I’m so proud of the boys and what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” Jason said.

In true community fashion, the family affair down at the brigade included Jason’s son Riley as one of the graduates and Jeremy, a son of brigade members Brett and Lisa Lynn.  

Riley, who was the first of the juniors to get the program back up running again, said he will treasure the quality time he has gained with his dad and his friends throughout this opportunity.

“My dad has been a big fan of CFA for a very long time, so I decided to join up alongside him and I’ve found it to be a very fun and enjoyable experience,” Riley said.

“I really enjoy the social aspect of it - everyone at the brigade is really welcoming. I just love to be around them. It’s heaps of fun.”

The brigade’s Juniors Program consists of a five-year plan that sees kids coming in at age 11 and trained up through to senior membership at age 16.

The CFA’s Junior Volunteer Development Program runs in over 160 brigades across the state, providing them with an opportunity to participate in brigade activities that build confidence, develop new skills and foster leadership abilities.

“The goal of us getting it going again was to help us with recruitment and get more kids coming through,” Jason said.

“These are the first kids in a few years who have come through from entry level, so it’s been really rewarding to see their knowledge and skills improve and see just how much they embrace it.

“It’s really important that brigades continue trying to get those junior memberships and to keep them engaged and moving.”

Jason has received support from Captain Philip Walton and other brigade  firefighters to build the intensive hands-on program that prepares the kids to be ‘real’ firefighters.

“I’ve got a group of leaders that help me and I just couldn’t do it without them,” Jason said.

Throughout their training, the juniors gained confidence using the trucks and rolling the hose. While further education was provided by in-house firefighters who have experience in other industries.

“We decided a watered-down version of real firefighting was the way to go – keep it simple,” Jason said.

Riley praised the leaders for their efforts in making the training sessions an interactive experience.

“One of our members is a forest park ranger and he took us down to Akoonah Park to discuss the way fire works and how the environment around us impacts the way it behaves. We all found it really interesting,” Riley said.

Discovering that it was hard to keep their attention in the classroom in the early years, the leaders also took the juniors to Eildon for some real-life experience in the fire boat.

“We also support our neighbouring brigades because they don’t run junior programs. So we take kids from other areas and hope they will then flow through to those brigades when they get to that age bracket,” Jason said.

“Axel will head to Upper Beaconsfield Brigade as it’s closer to his primary area.”

With the graduates now moving on, the brigade headed to the local primary school to find its next batch of junior fireys.

“We went down and did a 'meet and greet' and told them all about juniors. Before we knew it, we had four new applications. It was fantastic,” Jason said.

“You’ve got to be out there looking for them, you can’t just sit there and wait for them to come to you. You’ve got to be proactive.”

While Riley said it was challenging getting his head around the theory component, he is already gearing up for his duties as a senior and helping to ‘save the day’.

“I’m really looking forward to doing my firefighter course and being able to go out on the truck with my dad and help him during fire calls,” Riley said.

“But more importantly, just giving back to the community and helping people in need.”

Beaconsfield has six new juniors coming through the ranks, both girls and boys.

To get involved in the program, juniors can complete an application form on the CFA website 


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Submitted by Lucy Bishop