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Afternoon of Happy. May 28, 2008

Posted by Mistress B in Ramblings.

I had a great afternoon with our cadets today. Our cadet brigade are 17 secondary students from the local high school who are doing introductory firefighting training with us instead of sport for a term.

After they all donned their yellows (protective gear) we hauled them into the training room for a quick theory session. The kids rolled their eyes, resigned themselves to being bored, slumped in their seats and warily eyed their supervising teacher while praying that he wouldn’t be teaching it again after getting all technical science teachery on them the first week. They were in luck. I was teaching theory today.

I pop quizzed them on the fire triangle, praised them profusely and introduced the new material. I asked them questions about topography and used their answers to draw a lovely little diagram. Then I explained the three types of fire that will burn through our little drawing, told them jokes that had them all laughing, pop quizzed them again and attempted to hustle them out of the room. It took all of ……… oh……….. five minutes. The kids were still sitting in their chairs trying to get their heads around the fact that they hadn’t sat there long enough to get bored as I’m dividing them into crews and giving them their instructions on what they are doing for the rest of the afternoon. It was great. I am an awesome cadet instructor!!

We split them into three crews. One crew for each truck and one crew on the portable pump and sent them off with their instructors to learn about pumping. We had them coupling and uncouple hoses and nozzles, operating the pump, using hand signals to communicate and knocking over witches hats with water streams aimed into the paddock next door. They got wet, they got covered in mud and they had a ball.

It was interesting too. We’ve had a couple of the ones that we pegged early on as potentially being a handful already drop out. The kids are all really polite because they are interested. They are starting to get used to us using adult learning techniques with them instead of a more classroom style teaching and are starting to interact with us more in terms of asking questions, making suggestions and taking a guess. The girls are worrying less about their fingernails breaking and their clothes getting dirty. The boys are worrying less about looking cool and are letting their enthusiasm show.

Some of our cadets are having such a great time that they have applied to our brigade for junior membership. One young fella has been showing up for about a month now. A very quiet, somewhat shy young man. Until a fortnight ago. A fortnight ago I got him to use the radio during brigade training and had a bit of a joke with him. Then during cadets a few days later he was quite confident using the radio during our hazard reduction demo. He was working with my crew and had obviously decided he was comfortable with me so was quite a bit more chatty than I’d been used to. Today he was downright cheeky! He’s obviously gotten his confidence up, decided that the station is a comfort zone and had no hesitation in giving me crap when I buggered up a valve direction. It was great! Nothing like watching a teen come out of their shell. Was a pity I had to later ask him to tone it down.

I just can’t have the cadets thinking they can give me crap whenever they feel like it. I don’t mind a joke, I try to keep things pretty light, but the cadets are a much larger group than our juniors, if they all decided that they were free to muck around as much as they liked it would be bedlam. We just simply don’t have the time with the cadets to get to know the kids well and let them get to know us well to define what is ok so need to keep a tighter reign. I know that I can tell this particular young bloke ‘enough, get on with your job’ and he will, but I also know that some of the others wouldn’t. He was worried for a moment that he’d done something wrong when I started to explain, but I think he was fine with it when I’d finished, especially after I jokingly threatened to have him wash and roll muddy hoses all night at brigade training next week lol

At the end of the afternoon everyone was happy. The cadets were happy with what they had achieved, we were happy with how the cadets had applied themselves and I was happy that my toes weren’t killing me from being inside my boots for the afternoon!



1. Suze - May 28, 2008

My eldest is off to do work experience tomorrow at a large Telco that isn’t Telstra…
If he has even half the fun and educational experiences your cadets seem to – it’ll be awesome!
I don’t think they have muddy hoses there though, but I may be wrong 😉

2. Frogdancer - May 29, 2008

Ahhh, teaching the kids where the line is!

You’re right though. Once they know where the boundaries are they’ll be a dream.

3. widdleshamrock - May 29, 2008

Yay, sounds like a great day.

Glad your feet were ok too.

4. Anja - May 29, 2008

I get to immunise schoolkids today. Why the hell did I go to uni?

5. Pure Evyl - May 29, 2008

If he gets uppity make him massage your feet. The toe should humble him.

6. Trish - May 29, 2008

what a great ‘sport’ -hope it translates into new volunteers for your brigade.
glad those toes didn’t hurt .

7. frogpondsrock - May 29, 2008

sounds like a good day..

8. Jayne - May 29, 2008

Excellent! Sounds like you, the cadets and your foot survived intact 😉

9. picklebums - May 30, 2008

wow that sounds like ace fun… almost makes me want to join my local CFA! I want to play with big hoses! LOL

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