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Media Releases | St John Ambulance
VOLUNTEERS: Mission: not quite so Impossible
  29 Mar 2021

THE MISSION: A community that is educated in first aid, engaged, community-minded, self-reliant and future leaders.

THE AGENTS: Our next generation, St John NT Youth members.

The St John NT Youth program is a youth development program providing first aid and leadership skill development for Territory young people aged 8 - 25 years. The Youth Program is made up of Juniors (8 - 11 years of age), Cadets (12 - 18 years) and Youth Leaders (18 - 25 years). The largest Cadet division, with 40 members, is located in Darwin.

In normal circumstances, the Youth members meet weekly at one of the St John NT ambulance centres. In March 2020 however, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, face-to-face Cadet training was out.

The program was in limbo – unable to continue face-to-face due to COVID restrictions, and unable to work effectively online due to lack of equipment. The Volunteer Department worked hard to create an online program, knowing how keen the Cadets were to continue to connect with their peers.

Although a delivery method was yet to be finalised, the Volunteer Department understood that having the program online was the only way forward. Virtual sessions via Zoom were able to get up and running on a basic level, but resources were stretched between a number of divisions.

Thanks to receiving just over $3000 from the second round of the City of Darwin COVID-19 Response Grants Program, St John NT volunteers were able to purchase two new laptops, two webcams and two iPads to conduct and support the delivery of the online Cadet training.

This equipment has allowed both the division leaders to connect and facilitate their weekly training sessions with their youth members. Add your 52 young members connecting in from their own homes and voila – you’ve got a virtual Youth program!

“It’s been incredibly heartening to see how quickly everyone has adapted to this new way of delivering the program” Director of Volunteering, Events and Community Education Annette Plowman said.

“Our youth members have taken to it like ducks to water, and it has demonstrated the strength and the resilience of the St John NT Cadets – ready and prepared to take on anything!”

When asked if online programs would continue in a post-COVID world, Annette gave two thumbs up.

“Absolutely! Doing this online has broadened our reach immensely. It means that if for some reason, a Cadet wasn’t going to be able to make the meeting in person, they now have the option to participate online. In the peak of COVID-19 last year, the department held weekly combined training sessions facilitated by our Community Educator, Hayley. It’s also been great to facilitate connection between Territory Divisions. How often would you get Cadets from Darwin connecting with those in Humpty Doo, Katherine or even Alice Springs?

We are so grateful for what this donation has allowed us to achieve during COVID, and so excited to see how it helps shape our Youth program in the future.”

Image: Darwin Youth members with Superintendent Chris Trotter are feeling good about their new equipment!

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