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Whittlesea CFA welcomes young members

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Whittlesea Country Fire Authority, CFA, is encouraging more young people aged between 16 and 17 to become operational members, with unit numbers currently low.

The CFA Youth Team ran a series of cadet camps during the past few months aimed at giving young people who are interested in joining or are already part of a brigade the chance to better their skills and connect with other like-minded people.

Simon Corps, who regularly turns out alongside Whittlesea Fire Brigade with his 17-year-old son Josh, said he was a strong advocate of his son’s participation in the brigade.

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“It will allow him to continue to build his community spirit while learning new skills and working with a great team,” he said.

“He will have experiences that people his age may never have, both positive and challenging. And we have been very impressed with the support he has already been given from the brigade and CFA.”

Simon said one of Josh’s reasons for volunteering with the brigade was to feel a part of his community.

“Youth his age need as much encouragement as they can get, and be given opportunities to show them they are valued as part of the team and the community,” he said.

Whittlesea brigade captain Richard Gardiner is also a supporter of youth participation, as he became involved with the CFA when he visited the station at the age of 16 with his father.

Since joining the CFA at a young age, Mr Gardiner has had a career in emergency management and has worked with the CFA, Ambulance Victoria, Fire Rescue Victoria, and Emergency Management Victoria.

He said joining the CFA at an early age was life-changing and was why he had remained passionate about giving young people the opportunity to be operational with a brigade.

“[Brigade Management Teams] need to develop really strong relationships with the young members and their families, even if the families are not involved in the brigade,” he said.

“This gives them insight into what the young person is into and what opportunities they should be offered and be able to have.

“If you build relationships with their families and guardians, you will open the door to get to know them and their capabilities, strengths, and skills.”

Mr Gardiner said he was keen to encourage and support the younger cohort and saw them as equals in the brigade.

For more information people can visit Whittlesea Fire Brigade’s Facebook page or www.whittleseacfa.com.

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