Members from the Bogong, Rutherglen, Wodonga and Corryong Groups attended the leadership course, held in Beechworth over two weekends in May (18th-20th and 25th-27th). Three career firefighters from Wodonga Fire Brigade also attended.
Operations Manager Paul King said it was great to work alongside his colleagues from around District 24, and particularly pleasing to see the Bogong leadership group so well represented, with five DGOs and a number of captains in attendance.
“This was a great course with some very effective teamwork exercises,” he said.
“One of the most important things about having the leadership within the Bogong Group come together to work on teamwork is that you know they will soon be coming back and putting those skills into action within their communities.
“As we saw throughout the 2000s, this is an area of high fire activity - and we expect a lot from our leaders.
Mr King said it was pleasing to see the mixture of youth and older heads on the course. “We had seventeen-year-old members rubbing shoulders with firefighters who have 40 plus years’ experience in the fire services,” he said.
“The new Group is travelling very well. They are successfully capitalising on the experience of previous groups while still moving forward and doing some innovative new things,” Paul said.
Group Officer Ron Leary agrees that the group is heading in the right direction.
“I am very excited and pleased about where we have come from and where we are going,” he said. “At the same time we’ve got to keep working at it - every fire season has different challenges.”
Ron had nothing but praise for the quality of the Fireline course, describing it as “brilliantly put together and executed.”
“Every second was well worth it,” he said.
“At the start of the course most of us knew one another to some extent, but it was still extraordinary to see the trust and leadership grow at such an amazing rate.
“By the end, even some of our younger chaps who would normally hang back were standing up out front and leading us – that was the most pleasing to see.
“It was great for the troops to have our operations manager there and to have that kind of experience outside of the general volunteer day-to-day business.”
The Bogong Group encompasses 14 brigades from Falls Creek to Beechworth. It officially opened its books on 1 July 2011.
The Fireline Leadership course has been developed by Mission-Centred Solutions (MCS) and delivered extensively across the US. Over the two years the course has been running, CFA has worked closely with MCS to make sure the training fits with its needs.