A program designed to engage LGBTQIA+ youth with fire and emergency services in a positive way through learning disaster management skills will see its Australian debut during Pride Month.
Developed by not-for-profit organisation, Girls on Fire, the Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Program is scheduled for June 20th and 21st in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
An Australian first, the program invites LGBTQIA+ youth to attend an immersive program where participants learn how to prepare, prevent, manage and recover from a variety of emergency situations. Built with vocational training and volunteering pathways in mind, Girls on Fire programs enable young people to face challenges in a positive and proactive way. With a focus on personal resilience, uncovering their strengths and proper communication with all kinds of new and diverse people, these programs have helped hundreds of girls throughout New South Wales connect to their local community.
It is this sense of community and belonging, the Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Program bring to the Northern Beaches.
With a focus on inclusion, the one day Rainbow Programs run on a choice of June 20 or June 21st for participants aims to bridge the gap between young LGBTIQA+ people and emergency service personnel. Promoting a “what you see, you can be” ethos, participants are mentored by LGBTIQA+ volunteers and staff from the participating fire and emergency service agencies. All while giving young people the experience of diverse and inclusive leadership as they tackle all kinds of team-based problem-solving activities centred on emergencies. It’s about fostering a learning environment that celebrates difference, cultural competence and working together for everyone’s safety and wellbeing.
“Representation matters. It’s how we connect. If I had seen LGBTIQA+ people in emergency services when I was young, I doubt it would have taken me so long to find firefighting. Young people need a place to belong – and have hope for their future and know their community supports them. Therefore I am so proud to bring the Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Program to the Northern Beaches as part of celebrating Pride,” explained Girls on Fire Founder, Bronnie Mackintosh.
Community and inclusion are foundations for Girls on Fire programs. They are working closely with Principal Partner, National Australia Bank, with additional support via the Pride employee network for the inaugural program. Similarly, each emergency service agency will be invited to demonstrate their own pride and inclusion programs to attending participants.
In-kind support and community connection comes from local social support group for LGBTIQA+ youth, GLAM+, who are eager to spread the message of inclusion for young people with diverse genders and sexualities.
“Every time we run a GLAM+ program, we uncover a new story. We want to showcase local young people giving their all, connecting over shared tasks and personal goals, and really show the wonderful, vital contribution LGBTIQA+ youth can make to their community. All by being their amazing, diverse, resilient and clever selves,” shared Melissa Spencer, Glam + facilitator and Program Manager for the Rainbow Program.
This program is designed to make LGBTQIA+ youth feel supported, but we invite all interested young people to apply. Any young people who are figuring out their identity, or who support the LGBTQIA+ through friendship or because of someone they care about, are welcome too. Similarly, if you’re from Greater Sydney and can get to the Northern Beaches for either day, feel free to join us.
The Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Program is possible due to grant funding from Northern Beaches Council.
The Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Programs will take place at James Meehan Reserve, Dee Why on the participant’s choice of June 20 or June 21st .
Applications for the Rainbow Community Fire and Resilience Program are now open.
REGISTER YOUR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST NOW
To follow the program as it unfolds, sign up for the Girls on Fire newsletter via the Girls on Facebook and/or www.girlsonfire.com.au
For enquiries, contact Melissa Spencer 0412 503 343.