Beazley’s Bridge Fire Brigade has been recognising the importance of youth for more than 30 years.
With a seniors team already established in the late 1980’s, the brigade decided it wanted a younger side to complement the seniors.
“We’ve been doing it for so long that all the parents of today’s juniors, were actually juniors themselves when we started,” said Barry Wiseman, one of the key members of the junior brigade’s success.
“We started with four kids and we had no idea what we were doing really, then at one point we had 20 kids at the peak, so trying to manage five teams of juniors.
Today, CFA is celebrating International Youth Day, and recognising the amazing contributions of the more than 4,000 youth members ranging from 11 to 24 years old.
This year’s theme is “Youth Engagement for Global Action” which seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people is enriching institutions.
One of the junior members at Beazley’s Bridge is 14 year old Amy Greenaway, who signed up when she was 11.
“My dad had been involved when he was a kid and he said I should join,” she said.
“I actually wasn’t too enthusiastic when I first heard about it, but then when I started I really enjoyed it and it’s been a really good experience.”
For Amy, it was the family attitude of brigade and representing her community that helped change her mind.
“Whenever the seniors are there, they’ll help us out and give us tips, and having an experienced person saying ‘don’t worry, you’ll be fine’ is very reassuring.”
“We have more of a family atmosphere than a brigade atmosphere,” said Barry Wiseman.
“There’s no generation gap here, the kids have grown up as a family throughout the whole family.”
And following the long-running success of the junior program, the Beazley’s Bridge has also encouraged neighbouring communities to get involved.
“We helped start Stuart Mill Brigade with their juniors”
“We’ve been doing it for a long time and we finally got them to run, and now they’re just as strong as us.”