Volunteers from Barongarook to Wangoom came together to share their thoughts and experiences with fellow CFA members on Sunday 2 June as part of the South West Region Volunteer Forum at Deakin University in Warrnambool.
Possum Clark-Ugle, an Eastern Maar Traditional Owner, conducted the Welcome to Country ceremony, before Assistant Chief Officer South West Region Rohan Luke took the 70-strong crowd through an overview of the information and expertise available to tap into on the day.
Subject matter experts from across CFA covering a large variety of volunteering initiatives were kept busy answering questions on everything from awards, wellbeing, Championships, rural decline, apparel, and pride; there really was something for everyone.
Guest speaker for the day Chad Foulkes from Liminal by Design led the group as volunteers shared stories about what they first joined CFA, why they continue to volunteer, and how they serve their communities. These stories clearly demonstrated the common passion that our volunteers share. Congratulations and thank you to those who shared with the group.
Following on from morning tea Chad got everyone up, smiling and high fiving, providing a fantastic catalyst for networking across the rest of the day. Chad also provided the group with some tips and key takeaways on effective community engagement.
The forum also saw the launch of a volunteer recognition song, Band Together, which was written and recorded by a couple of local students with support from Emmanuel College in Warrnambool. Thanks to Indie and Hudson Buckle the song provided the perfect way to wrap up the session.
After lunch ACO Rohan Luke presented information about CFA’s vision for the future including key strategic goals and fire services reform. This lead into a busy question and answer session led by Deputy Chief Officer Stephanie Rotarangi, who along with a panel of staff members, listened to a wide variety of queries, concerns and suggestions from the audience. Topics discussed included training, fire services reform and volunteer wellbeing.
The day was well received, with volunteers appreciating the opportunity to learn from each other, take home new ideas, meet new people, and shared their experiences with senior members of CFA.
Thank you to those who attended, many whom travelled large distances to be there. We look forward to next year’s forum.