Acting Regional Director Graeme Armstrong thanked the members for their years of service and leadership.
Guest speaker Vince Bosua was previously a CFA operations manager, ran the CFA State Emergency Coordination Centre (now State Control Centre) and relieved as deputy chief officer. Now he’s a volunteer at Lilydale. That made him well qualified to talk about the vital roles on offer to members who no longer want to get on the truck.
“It’s a new world of possibilities,” says Vince, “and I know what the transition is like. I’ve been through the whole emotional rollercoaster of having a senior leadership role in the organisation then stepping back. But there is life after leadership.
“I told them, ‘This is your chance to take a break, look at all the roles on offer and think about what you want to do. You have the skills and the knowledge. You’ve carried the burden. Now it’s your time to pick and choose. Have a vision of where you want to be in your community and move towards it.’
“When you’re in a leadership role there’s a lot of pressure on you to do this, do that. You don’t get to choose how your skills are used. Once you step down – that’s the time to use your strengths.
“I’ve found I get great enjoyment out of community engagement. We have a very active Fire Safe Kids program at Lilydale and I have that firefighter’s perspective. I’m also committed to mentoring and getting the brigade strong in brigade management.”
Vince knows the enormous value of ex-captains working on brigade and group succession planning and identifying leadership potential. He also discussed opportunities ranging from training assessment through to incident management, incident control or planning or becoming active in a group role. Members could also consider being part of the peer program.
“Command and control is the big ticket item,” continues Vince. “ICCs are a big growth area and we need people with local knowledge in those roles.”
The 11 ex-captains in attendance have all stood down within the past two years. The buzz in the room suggested they enjoyed the three courses, the thanks and the suggestions on where to from here.
Vince sums up the night. “We are saying thank you and we have further opportunities. We need you.”
Current Operations Manager Dave Renkin seconds that. “It’s an absolute necessity that CFA retain the skills of these former senior leaders to enhance our emergency management capability and help grow a future generations of firefighters.”