Participants in CFA’s Captains Peer Mentor Program (CPMP) have celebrated their achievements and commitment to volunteer leadership development through end-of-year program dinners across the state.
The CPMP has been running since 2012 and provides leadership support to brigades by pairing captains with a supportive, experienced peer mentor.
Mentors for the program are experienced CFA volunteer leaders and usually, but not always current or former captains.
Rather than focusing on incident command and control, the CPMP supports captains people and brigade management.
This approach helps captains develop leadership capability in what is one of the most challenging roles at CFA. The program allows participants to explore their goals, challenges and strategic matters with their mentor.
Mentors gain personal and professional growth through the experience of mentoring. The program also encourages mentors and mentees from different Groups to connect and network.
The CPMP is currently run in 13 Districts, and District 6 will commence its inaugural program in 2020.
Kris Wilms, Senior Instructor Leadership and Management Development – Training, said that whilst the celebratory program dinners were the formal close of each CPMP cohort they didn’t signify an end to many of the partnerships.
“Enduring friendships are often formed between partners, the program staff and the broader group around the state,” Kris said.
“These continue beyond each annual evolution as state and program staff begin planning for the next programs.
“It’s such a powerful program for our captains. Many report the positive impacts, and the support and knowledge they gain influences not only their brigades but their personal and professional lives.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our mentors and mentees for their time and commitment to strengthening our leadership in CFA.”
At each end-of-year program dinner participants are invited to share highlights, learnings or something special about their experience in the program. Certificates of appreciation were also presented to long-term mentors.
At the D07 CPMP program dinner, mentor and Bellarine group DGO Graeme McDonald was presented with his five-year certificate of appreciation. Each of his past mentees had provided a statement about how much they had enjoyed their experiences of being partnered with Graeme.
“I was somewhat taken back a bit when I heard the wonderful comments from past mentees. I guess it shows what a group of people like ourselves (mentor cohort) can do to help others,” Graeme said.
In District 05, program participants were encouraged to bring a partner or guest to the dinner for the first time to highlight the important role partners play in supporting senior volunteer leaders. Partners have also started a coffee group which meets once a month to allow them to share stories and experiences.
Here’s what some of this year’s participants had to say about their experiences at CPMP dinners this year:
“The best part of the whole programs is bringing everyone together and thanking them.”
“Loved seeing others and their partners, and found the dinner very welcoming and loved the connection everyone has. Can see why my partner loves being involved and the dinner helped me to understand why and who the person is that’s texting, calling or emailing him!”
“The CPMP in D5 has continually met my expectations, and to see individuals who have performed the mentor role for more than one year, knowing how busy they are, is a testimony to the benefits of this program to both the mentee and mentor. The timing of how this program is run in District 5 is perfect. The level of expectation on the volunteers is also at the right balance, and the final dinner was a huge success and I fully support the inclusion of partners at this event”. D5 OM Richard Burke
“The program provides opportunity to feel that you are not alone. It also allows you to receive unbiased advice.” Gary Burns – Mentor
“Serving as a mentor has been a rewarding experience. As a mentor you are not required to have all the answers, you are a resource who can be called on to help explore a range of possibilities to help the mentee with their development as an officer and CFA member.” Alan Price – Mentor
“Very well organised program. You will get as much out of the program as you put in. It has been well and truly worthwhile and is one of the better programs I have done.” Ashley Smith – Mentee