Bill’s blog: Christmas message to our members

  Posted on 18th December 2018 by Nick Cottrell in UFBA blog, UFBA News

A message from UFBA CEO Bill

It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes. Here we are again at another Christmas and summer holiday period.

Thank you for supporting the UFBA this year

I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you who has been involved with the UFBA’s activities this year – whether that’s using the Association’s services or providing your time as one of our many volunteers through advocacy, representing on working groups, at award evenings or officiating at events.

We’re many things to many people and it’s rewarding to see how people enjoy the many benefits; from the 100+ attendees this year at our Leadership and Governance and Leading Psychological Wellbeing Workshops to the 60+ individuals we've supported through individual advocacy cases.

Perhaps you’ve joined in on our many Challenge events. These events have been recognised by senior leaders at FENZ as providing invaluable opportunities for networking and camaraderie. If you’ve never been involved, I strongly encourage you to give them a try this coming season – but get in quick before registrations close. We cover transport and accommodation costs so you just come along and enjoy!

Our President along with a large team of Past Presidents, have traveled around the country to award hundreds of you with UFBA Service Honours. We share your pride and this is an important tradition that helps acknowledge your contributions over the many years.

We’ve gathered your views and concerns and fed into Association submissions on the changes at FENZ including the Operating Model. We’ve advocated and influenced on behalf of volunteerism on Health and Safety and the Tax Working Group. We’ve just welcomed Megan, our new Advocacy and Support Advisor to the team, as we look to occupy this space more proactively to act as the voice of our many volunteers. We’ve got hundreds of responses to our survey on a Youth Cadet Scheme and this represents an exciting project with positive outcomes.

Meeting ever-increasing challenges

Finally with Christmas also comes the summer holidays. More travel on the roads, more barbecues or garden fires, and now with greater challenge of climate change related weather.

While Christmas should be a positive occasion we all know that while many others enjoy the summer weather and relaxation of the holidays, summer can present the most challenging time for firefighters. If the global rise in large wild fires is anything to go by this could likely be one of our most dangerous seasons yet. Despite this, you weather the storm, and you carry on 24/7 and for that your communities and New Zealand owe you a great debt of thanks.

New Year, new challenges

As we head into 2019 we'll see the nextstages of the FENZ Integration programme. We're already seeing the greater diversity amongst our members and have been providing administration support to FRFANZ. This relationship is important as we'll look to develop and shape the merger to truly become one association for a diverse membership base, unified through our shared commitment to protecting lives and property.

Keep an eye out for communications along the way as ask for your involvement. Eventually we should become a larger more impactful association able to better provide a broader range of services and support all types of firefighters, support personnel and our partners at FENZ.

We've determined the core pillars to acknowledge what's important to our members going forward. Next we'll start to build upon these pillars with your help to finalise how we will work together in the future as an Association. So join our challenges, give us a call for support, feedback on our submissions, take part in our workshops. We're here to help you enjoy and benefit from your role, so be sure to use us!

Wishing you safe and restful holidays

As one firefighter to another I want to say thank you and I respect what each of you gives to your community. But regardless of the challenges ahead make sure you take time for your family and time for yourself – both physically and mentally. Look after each other and make sure you acknowledge what’s important at Christmas…. family, good health and community spirit.
I wish you all a safe and relaxing Christmas.

Bill Butzbach
UFBA CEO

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