Indigenous Junior Member Leads By Example

Member News imageL-R: Kaylea Blake and Colin Atkinson

An Indigenous junior member and aspiring leader is encouraging other Indigenous people to join CFA so they can continue to help save the land.

CFA is celebrating National Reconciliation Week this week which is a time to reflect on what more we can do to improve Aboriginal inclusion and respect throughout our organisation.

Echuca Fire Brigade junior volunteer Kaylea Blake has been in CFA’s juniors program for around three years, since she was 12 years old.

Kaylea said National Reconciliation Week means a lot to her because it’s important to her family, and for other people to understand each other’s culture.

“I’d like to inspire other Indigenous people to join CFA or participate in other activities that will put themselves out of their comfort zone to help save the land,” Kaylea said.

“Doing training and running competitions throughout the year gives CFA juniors an opportunity to make friends with people from the brigade and other brigades across Victoria.

“I have many friends from our community and different brigades which has made CFA very fun for me.”

Kaylea joined CFA after hearing many stories about her great uncle who was a CFA volunteer. She’s now a budding leader of the younger junior members at Echuca brigade.

“I was young when I first started CFA and my mentors helped me grow. I believe having a good mentor means a lot to juniors,” she said.

Kaylea looks forward to becoming a senior firefighter with CFA in the near future.

“I’ve looked up to the seniors in the brigade since I was 13 and being a leader of the brigade one day would be a great achievement,” she said.

Echuca Fire Brigade Junior Leader Colin Atkinson said when his grandfather joined CFA, he was the only Indigenous firefighter at the brigade. Since Colin and his cousin joined, his mission has been to get more of his community involved.

“I’m really proud to see so many young Indigenous children involved. There are not a lot of Indigenous firefighters around and I’ve seen the juniors thrive as a result of this program,” Colin said.

“The relationship has been mutually beneficial for the brigade, and I love seeing how the juniors have progressed as leaders in their communities as well.

“I’m proud to say our brigade is now a culturally safe space which is welcoming to all members from various cultural backgrounds.”

CFA is proud to recognise its Indigenous members and all its volunteers who have worked in their communities to promote Aboriginal cultural awareness.

/CFA News Release. View in full here.