On Thursday 17 June CFA Junior leaders from brigades across Victoria came together online to network and share ideas at the 2021 Junior Leader Forum.
Due to current restrictions the forum was hosted online for an interactive, two-hour session.
This was an opportunity for junior leaders to hear about what’s happening in the youth engagement space, as well as the work CFA directorates are doing to support young people.
The forum kicked off with an introduction about the Youth Engagement Working Group which includes representatives from Child Safety, Inclusion and Fairness, Community Engagement and more.
The session shared several resources available to junior leaders on CFA Members Online including, the Junior Brigade Group Agreement Toolkit, JuniorsLIVE and the Disability Inclusion Guide. These can all be found on the youth page of the Members Online.
Child Safety Project Manager Greg Davis and Child Safety Manager Linda Franco spoke about the work their team is doing and how it supports young people in CFA. Inclusion and Fairness Coordinator Libby Symons presented on what Inclusion and Fairness is and does, including how to make people feel accepted and welcomed.
The session was an opportunity for Junior Leader Denise Jordan to share an ‘Amazing Race’ activity that Swan Hill Fire Brigade recently took part in. The activity involved junior members being split into teams to work strategically to complete tasks and collect the most points. Feedback from this session was overwhelmingly positive and Denise shared some tips for other junior leaders to take on board.
Samantha Barnard from headspace attended the forum and provided insight into the mental health and wellbeing of young people and how junior leaders can support youths who may need help.
Volunteer Programs Leader (Youth) Jen Clement then kicked off the Q&A session where members were able to ask about and discuss a range of topics. This was an opportunity for junior leaders to ask questions of the different directorates supporting youth engagement, especially child safety.
Jen said it was great to see junior leaders from across the state connecting with one another.
“It was a shame we couldn’t host this year’s forum in person, but it was great to see so many members online," Jen said.
“It was a really productive opportunity to hear directly from our junior leaders,” Jen added. “The Q&A session really allowed members to speak up about what they might need help with and relate to other brigades across the state.
“The impact of COVID-19 has affected all of us including our junior members. It was great to hear from Samantha about how we can best support young people. She provided junior leaders with some great advice and tips.”