Georgia Madge and Elissa Rossiter
Young members in the north east of Victoria have taken the initiative to ensure they are maximising their CFA experience from an early age.
CFA District 24 has become the first in the state to start a Youth Reference Group; a meeting of young members where they can put forward their own suggestions and have their voices heard.
Georgia Madge is a young volunteer at Wodonga Fire Brigade, and said it’s been a great way for her to meet like-minded people.
“I’m relatively new to the area, and because I don’t have that local background, it was really nice to come along to that first meeting and have a casual chat,” she said.
“We’re all really passionate about making youth voices heard. We’ve had some awesome ideas and those ideas have actually been implemented.”
The Group has been operating for several months and has already initiated several projects including a crew leader course that was targeted at youth, and a pre-season briefing for new members.
Elissa Rossiter is a member of the Volunteer Sustainability Team, North East Region, and said while the briefing was also initially targeted at youth, it was opened up to any new CFA member from District 24
“We ended up with 70 people online, which meant we could not only get people up to speed on what to expect for this fire season, but it also gave our young members a chance to get hints and tips from experienced CFA people,” she said.
The idea of the Group came as a result of the success of the District 24 Women’s Reference Group that was started several years, with both groups strongly supported by District leaders.
“We started this Youth Reference Group with one meeting but now we’ve had a few and we’re seeing more members each time,” said Elissa.
“This is really giving our youth a voice. They’re able to come to this meeting and put up suggestions, and they’re around their peers instead of feeling out of place alongside veterans of 20 years.”
Wodonga volunteer Georgia Madge said she hopes the Group will help attract more young members.
“It’s so much fun and you learn so much, so hopefully we can help build CFA for the future.”
- D24 Youth Reference Group