This week two members (including myself) from Lake George Zone had the opportunity to attend the #ChangeItUp Young Members forum in Dubbo. This was a three-day design thinking workshop facilitated by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) to tackle the challenges facing Young Members.
Forty members under the age of 25 came together from across the state, and combined their experiences and thoughts into really positive ways the service could improve. I use positive deliberately here as we really quickly got away from what looked like a bunch of complaints into a set of things that we like, dislike and where we find our personal “Why", why do we do this, why are we all passionate about the NSW RFS (and we are) - from which we could build a strong idea.
I'm really excited about the ideas that each group developed, not because they're big or flashy but because they were remarkably small and focused, and above all realistic.
We soon realised there were some common themes in our questions and solutions.
ensuring all members have a voice that can be heard by the right audience,
strengthening engagement not just involvement, and
encouraging peer support networks through sharing and mentoring.
This was made really clear during our pitch to senior NSW RFS leadership who committed time to hear our concerns and more importantly our ideas to fix them. Groups crossed paths on common themes and were able to address them in innovative ways.
This was a first step, these ideas now need support and development but its a great way to start.
Edit!: Last minute addition - the forum made the news: