CFA give WHS students valuable life skills

20th December 2017

WARRANDYTE CFA’s youth crew are celebrating 20 years of firefighting and fun.

Beginning in the 1990’s as a Year 9 and 10 program at Warrandyte High School, the youth crew started as a practical elective for students wanting an outdoor and hands on experience.

Over the 20 years, more than 880 students have experienced the program, with dozens going on to volunteer and work with the CFA.

Those that walk through the youth crew’s doors have come out the other end as resilient and community minded young adults, pursuing careers as paramedics, career firefighters or in fields like engineering.

Will Hodgson, an instructor for the youth crew and First Lieutenant at the Warrandyte CFA, says the program provides a unique experience for students, especially those that may not want to follow traditional academic routes.

“The world has lots of things to offer — It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing in maths or science… with the CFA program you’ve got life skills, first aid skills and they’re working within their communities.

“The impact this has… everyone has helped out in the community; I feel so humbled to know that we’ve touched the lives of young people so that they can carry the CFA values throughout their lives and make change in their communities,” he said.

The program includes trips to the CFA and MFB headquarters, an excursion to the fire museum, fire fighting camps and outdoor education activities.

Students learn how to use and respect the equipment and fight fires first hand.

Dave Kahuaiwa from Warrandyte High School cannot believe how the program has evolved and succeeded.

“They arrive as a jumble of kids, and they leave with really great leadership skills and team skills — they go home and have a conversation with their families about fire preparedness and fire plans.

“What better community group to be a part of in Warrandyte than the CFA? Because of where we’re situated, it’s so important.,” said Dave.

Will Hodgson says the impact the youth crew has in kids’ lives is profound, and it is an experience he is incredibly grateful to be a part of.

“Students need to know that they’re worthwhile, and this program gives them the opportunity to be free from academic pressures for a while.

“This shows them that there’s a position in life for them, that the world needs people with so many different skills, and if they want to join the CFA afterwards, well that’s a great bonus.”