New cadet pro­gramme fires up kids


Kawakawa will now have a steady sup­ply of fire­fight­ers af­ter the es­tab­lish­ment of a cadet pro­gramme aimed to ex­pose youth to the emer­gency ser­vices.

Roger Dephoff, a fire­fighter with the Kawakawa Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade, is co-or­di­nat­ing the ini­tia­tive for the first time. It will be­gin in 2018.

‘‘Ide­ally it will get them in­ter­ested in the fire bri­gade first and fore­most, but it also has a view to­wards the other emer­gency ser­vices,’’ Dephoff says.

‘‘It’s about plant­ing the seeds and they can see whether they fit the bill and at the very least it gets them ac­tive and hav­ing a pos­i­tive role in the com­mu­nity.’’

It’s also about re­spect, and keep­ing ac­tive with an em­pha­sis on con­nect­ing with peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

A lot of youth cadets in the past have gone on to be­come vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers, Dephoff says.

The pro­gramme will take youth aged 12-16 for train­ings once a week and in­clude vis­its to the Auckland Air­port’s fire bri­gade.

They will have the op­por­tu­nity to work with the Kawakawa bri­gade’s op­er­a­tional fire­fight­ers and have a ‘‘strong reg­i­men­tal flavour’’ with Dephoff’s back­ground in the New Zealand Army, and oth­ers with Army and Navy ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘We have got ev­ery­thing here, we just need to pull it to­gether, we are for­tu­nate the or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­ports this type of ac­tiv­ity,’’ Dephoff says.

‘‘All of the vol­un­teers in the bri­gade, also vol­un­teer some­where else, so we hope there will be a nat­u­ral flow on ef­fect.

‘‘We are aim­ing to have buy-in from the whole fam­ily.’’

Dephoff, who is also a com­mu­nity con­sta­ble for Kawakawa and Mo­erewa, says the pro­gramme is a way to keep the kids en­gaged.

‘‘In ru­ral towns, we can get in­ac­tive or un­der-en­gaged kids, if any­thing [the cadets] will keep the kids ac­tive and en­gaged and less time to get them­selves into trou­ble.

‘‘There is a lot of buy-in with the lights and sirens.’’

Otulea Latu, 11, says he is ex­cited about join­ing the cadets.

‘‘I want to help peo­ple out, it’s fun and it’s nice to see peo­ple happy.’’

❚ If you are in­ter­ested for your child to join the cadets, meet at the Kawakawa Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade, im­me­di­ately af­ter the Christ­mas Pa­rade on De­cem­ber 2, which starts at 12pm.


Roger Dephoff with Tekairangi Faulkner and Tyran Craig.

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