A combination of excitement and fatigue – but mostly excitement – filled the air at the Qantas check-in counter at Perth airport last Friday as 13 Volunteer Bush Fire Cadets and 4 senior volunteer chaperones prepared to board their flight to Sydney on their way to the Australian Fire Cadet Championships.
Bushfire Volunteers President Dave Gossage farewelled the group of 13 to 16 year olds and wished them well, reminding them to not only bring back important learning from the experiences they would have, but also have fun and embrace the life-long friendships that would be forged from the journey.
And what a journey it was.
For some of the Cadets, their first plane trip came after months of training and fundraising to enable their participation.
Commissioner Darren Klemm, who also took time out of his day to attend also acknowledged the hard work of the Cadets, their families and the senior Brigade members who all contribute so much to make these excellent events happen. Both the Waggrakine and Bunbury Cadet teams were deeply appreciative of the $8,000 of ESL the Commissioner had made available to each group to top up the $11,000 they had independently raised to pay for travel, accommodation and meals.
After the long day that included driving to Perth from their regional homes and flying to Sydney, the Cadets’ next day on the East Coast was designed to give them a bit of a rest and do some team-building through sight-seeing in Sydney.
And Bushy Bear even got in on the act, gatecrashing this lovely couple’s wedding photoshoot on the steps of the Opera House!
The Championships were held in Arcadia at the Wesley Vision Valley conference centre, about 50km’s from the Sydney CBD. As you see by the drone photo below, the centre is set in 100 acres of Australian bushland and provided the perfect spot for teams from all over Australia to meet, compete and share.
The teams competed in a number of formal events over the course of the 4 day operation as well as many informal, fun and team-building activities:
We know from the Australian Fire Cadet Championships Facebook Page that the Waggrakine team placed second in event number 5 (Knapsack Response)
Unfortunately at the time we had to press go on this post, the hard working volunteers behind the Championships had not yet had time to provide the full list of results, but based on the few photos shared below, we are sure everyone was a winner, irrespective of how many medals they received.
The Association is working hard to develop funding sources for the development, support and travel of Bushfire Volunteer Cadets because we know that these amazing girls and boys will become the next generation of incredible community leaders that we all need before, during and after the worst happens. In the meantime, we congratulate everyone involved in Cadets all over WA and especially those who worked so hard to make this invaluable learning opportunity possible.
Australian Fire Cadet Championships