Trafalgar’s young people sign up for Juniors

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Trafalgar Fire Brigade started a Junior Volunteer Development Program (JVDP) in 2018, kicking off with an open day for potential recruits, their parents and carers to learn about the program.


Meeting once a month for two hours during the first two years of operation, the program started with more than 10 new recruits, a lot of enthusiasm and fantastic support from the whole brigade.

During COVID-19, Trafalgar brigade retained Junior members by running the online JuniorsLIVE program. This allowed the Junior leaders to stay in touch, as well as offered Juniors valuable peer support. The JuniorsLIVE program was a great success, and the Junior members were appreciative of the effort the brigade made to stay in contact.

After COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Trafalgar brigade moved forward with a recruitment campaign, visiting schools and promoting the JVDP to potential members. By implementing a fun, active and exciting training regime the brigade managed to grow its JVDP membership. The Juniors now meet twice a month.

“We gather ideas from the Junior leader Facebook page, as well as discuss activities with other Junior brigades,” Trafalgar Captain and Junior Leader Mark Walshe said. “We then tweak the activities to suit our brigade needs and after we have run an exercise we ask the Juniors to give us their thoughts for improvements.”

Junior Leader Naomi Goodin has also developed team building and engaging firefighting and problem-solving exercises that push the Juniors to excel beyond their expected achievement.

The Juniors really enjoy the practical exercises, such as draughting water and bowling hoses. Including such activities improves the engagement with Juniors.

In one exercise, Juniors wearing a blindfold navigate a hose around obstacles with help from another member who gives them verbal instructions.

“I liked developing a program with my senior brigade members that keeps the Juniors entertained,” Naomi said. “By keeping it fun while being safe and informative, we have a functioning program that is encouraging our Juniors to become senior firefighters when they turn 16 years old.”

Trafalgar Junior Brigade Captain Matilda Ott explained why she joined the JVDP in 2021.

“I have wanted to be a firefighter since I was little because my dad is involved at Beaconsfield brigade. I think it’s cool,” she said.

Matilda can’t wait to be a senior firefighter and get on the fire truck. “I want to turn out because I want to help my local community.”

The senior brigade at Trafalgar has also taken on new recruits including the parents and carers of the Juniors who they met through the JVDP. In addition, seven ex-Junior members have completed General Firefighter training and become senior brigade members, and one has become an operational member at the neighbouring Yarragon Fire Brigade.

Trafalgar brigade genuinely believes that having a JVDP is important for recruitment and community engagement.

“Our young members are important because they shape the way the brigade is going to look in five to 10 years,” Mark said.

“I believe the sustainability of our brigade is enhanced by the ways we all engage positively with the young people in our community, which is only going to make us and our processes better.”


Submitted by Jen Clement and Mark Walshe