At first all Ben Williamson thought he'd be doing was whacking a hydrant into the ground and spraying water.
He admits he was wrong.
The 17-year-old worked his way through Warracknabeal Fire Brigade's junior programme and has even tagged along with his elders, in a display of commitment to his local CFA crew.
"At the start, I figured it was just running down a track, putting a hydrant in the ground and squirting the water, but now I realise there's a lot more to it," Williamson said.
"It's not just basic skills, it's about your mind set and knowing what's happening around you."
Williamson still juggles brigade commitments with his schoolwork, but isn't complaining. In fact, he reckons it's helped him.
"There's one training a week and it's a really good way to get out and have a bit of a change up in your week," he said.
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"I ran a couple of times in the senior brigade late last year, and while I haven't been to any incidents yet, I have been to meetings and trainings and things so it'll be easy when I leave school and can step up and commit to it more regularly."
Warracknabeal Fire Brigade captain Cameron Whelan said it was important to recognise younger members.
"As a coach or brigade captain, it's a joy to not only see the young ones come through, but also how the teams bond and help each other," he said.
"They learn how to do things accurately and quickly, and the competitions are judged with the winners deemed the one that's most efficient and fastest.
"We also put a little bit of fire ground practice in with their training, so it's building their skills and eagerness to come up into the senior ranks.
Last year the Warracknabeal brigade welcome 12 new members to its junior program - one of the biggest intakes in several years.
Whelan - who is one of the junior program leaders - believed blooding operational members through junior programs was beneficial for both young members and the brigade.
"Like many rural brigades we do see a bit of drop off around that 18-19 year old mark because people go away for uni and work, if we can capture that eagerness from the juniors, then they can either come back or might carry on in another brigade," he said.
"It's really for anyone who's willing to help their community and better themselves and join a bigger family."
Today, CFA is celebrating International Youth Day by recognising the more than 4000 youth members, ranging from 11 to 24 years old.
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