YOU can’t be what you can’t see, and Stratford Fire Brigade’s new leadership team are hoping to inspire others to join CFA.

Following recent brigade elections, the 60-strong group of members elected a Captain and 1st – 4th Lieutenant all under the age of 36, signalling the start of a new generation of brigade management team (BMT) for the brigade.

Incoming captain, Brent Barker said that leading crews wasn’t something he’d initially considered.

Mr Barker, 31, said: “Being captain of the brigade isn’t something that was even on my radar, but I was encouraged by some of our more senior members.”

“After lots of discussion, I said to those senior members ‘if you think I fit the bill, I’m happy to do it – but I’ll need your mentorship’. There’s some really good experience within our brigade and it’s just a matter of harnessing that to help me as I learn to lead.

“I think a younger BMT will bring a whole new perspective to the brigade, new ideas and different ways of thinking. I’m very excited to see what the crew can bring to the table and what we can do.”

Mr Barker also hopes that the younger BMT will aid in recruiting new members into the brigade’s ranks.

“Being relatable to potential new members I think is going to help. We’re all involved in the community in one way or another, so I think that networking in our community groups – the local kinder, schools, footy clubs – will show that anyone can be a CFA volunteer,” he said.

Stratford’s incoming 3rd Lieutenant Stephen Wadey, 36, agrees, saying combining the experience of senior members with new perspectives will be of great benefit to the brigade.

“The way we connect to different audiences has changed so much. By using different tools such as social media, that’s how we can gain new members,” Mr Wadey said.

“Bringing different experiences from younger members could have a big impact – and that takes absolutely nothing away from what our other members have done in the past, it’s just that the world changes at a rapid pace and we’re adapting and evolving to those environments with new and fresh ideas.”

CFA is celebrating and thanking all of its members this week as part of Volunteer Week.

There’s a role for everyone at CFA – so ‘Give Us a Hand’ and express your interest at cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer