Harnessing the potential of our youth

April 17, 2014

Seven students and one teacher from Bingara Central School have just completed a week long taste for volunteering and community service through the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) youth engagement program that culminated with scenario based activities day on Copeton dam.

The cadets were met with scenarios including a mock Urban Search and Rescue where they had to access a person trapped under a collapsed building as well searching along the banks of Copeton dam for a missing fisherman.

SES kids
Bingara Central School student Charmaine Nolan (on left) with a couple of new friends.

The program is designed to inform the cadets of the roles and functions of the NSW SES, safety, emergency management, communication and teamwork. The cadet program offers students a first-hand insight into the workings of the SES and strives to enhance the cadet’s physical capabilities and improve their self-confidence.

NSW SES Regional Learning and Development Officer, Wes Macpherson, said “the students met with volunteers from local and neighbouring towns at Copeton Waters State Park recently and were exposed to simulated scenarios that the SES volunteers also attend.”

“We had volunteers from Bingara, Inverell, Glen Innes, Moree, Warialda, Ashford and Gunnedah who were brought in and the cadets trained with them” Mr Macpherson said.

“It was a really good opportunity for the cadets to see what activities the NSW SES undertakes in its combat roles in a real world situation and out of the school environment.

“They all had a go using our radios, calling back to HQ when they found an item of interest whilst searching the shore of the lake for our missing fisherman. This exposes the cadets to our communication systems whilst building teamwork.” Mr Macpherson said.

Regional Cadet Coordinator Kam Wheeler from Moree said “that the idea of the program is to give the cadets a feel for volunteering.” Mrs Wheeler went on to say “upon completion of the program they all received a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment. This is taken into consideration later if they decide to volunteer their services to the NSW SES whilst providing real world qualifications for this group of young people to use in seeking part time employment”.

Bingara Unit member Jamie Thomas, said “the students were a very fine group of young adults. It has been very rewarding to witness the significant growth in these young people as the program progressed,” Ms Thomas said “and that we would gladly accept any one of them into our Unit should any wish to join us”.

The program will be completed with a graduation ceremony in front of the entire school assembly with the cadet’s families, friends and members of Bingara SES Unit and North West Region staff towards the end of May.

The program was admirably supported by the School community by allowing the cadets to undertake the program during their regular school sports calendar.

It also gave one of the teachers, Mr Scott Crispin, an opportunity to do the program as well. In fact, Mr Crispin enjoyed the program so much that he and several of the cadets are considering joining the Bingara Unit.

The NSW SES is committed to providing these opportunities to our youth and is currently in negotiations with other schools across the North West with a view to running future programs.

If your school is interested in this program please call your local NSW SES Unit on 132 500.