The Junior brigade at Kalorama-Mt Dandenong brigade is currently an all-girl team. In the past, the brigade has had male Junior members but at the moment it’s running on all girl power.
Each year the brigade Junior leaders work collaboratively with the Juniors to create a program plan which details the different exercises the Juniors will complete. The leaders are happy to incorporate the girls’ ideas.
Junior Leader Gavin McNamara said the plan helps to keep the Juniors engaged.
“It’s a fluid document which the Juniors have input in and we adjust it depending on the numbers present at training, the weather conditions, and availability of resources and buildings,” Gavin said. “We also take into account what the Juniors would like to cover on the night.”
The range of activities on the list includes burn over drills, vehicle locker checks, hose and hydrant drills, two tanker drills, portable pump relay, two lines-two lengths drills, search and rescue techniques and team-building exercises.
The juniors also have an opportunity to attend social nights including a trivia night with friends and family and billy cart racing.
The Kalorama-Mt Dandenong Juniors initiated a trial Duke of Edinburgh and Compass Awards Program so that Juniors could take part in either program.
The brigade currently has 10 active members. One way the brigade attracts new Junior members is through presenting Fire Safe Kids at the local schools.
“Five years ago we had four boys and four girls. A few Juniors left the brigade so we did recruitment at the local school through the Fire Safe Kids presenter. Four girls joined after that and they invited their friends who also joined,” Gavin said.
“It’s great to see the support the Junior members give one another. They do an impressive job of developing skills safely and efficiently.”
Two of the Juniors have progressed to become senior members. “Simone McPeake started as a Junior, became a senior and then a Junior leader,” Gavin said. “She has helped me run the program and has a younger sister in the Junior brigade. Simone's youngest sister also intends to join the brigade when she turns 11.”