Professional Development Opportunity

Professional Development Opportunity

As a Chief Officer I’m always on the lookout for professional development opportunities for members of my department and for myself. Over the years I have been very fortunate to send members to and to attend numerous classes, seminars, conferences, and programs to enhance our knowledge of the fire service and leadership. Many of these programs are hosted outside of our state and come at an extremely high monetary cost.

One program that I’m extremely proud to have attended was the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association Leadership Institute. This year-long program is designed for future leaders of the South Carolina Fire Service who serve in either volunteer, combination, or career organizations. In this program future leaders are exposed to a global view of our state and the unique needs of each type of fire agency. The selected participants spend time together each month and forge friendships that will become sounding boards for future decisions in their own fire department.

The program is designed to allow participants to grow with group discussion, reading assignments and projects. The learning environment is not that of a traditional classroom of lecture followed by a test, but is designed to allow open dialog which fosters networking, communication, and problem solving. Set up as nine one-day sessions, two weekend retreats, and a week attending the annual Fire Rescue Conference, the participants cover various topics such as general fire service history, state government, legislative issues, state Assets, Firemen’s Insurance & Inspection Fund, labor relations, special purpose districts, recruitment and retention, department makeups, and fire service legal and liabilities.

The two required projects are designed to enhance the participant’s research, presentation skills, department, and state fire service. The first project is an individual effort designed to allow the participant an opportunity to improve his/her organization and present an idea that can be adopted by others. The second project is a group effort and based on a topic that is assigned by the Executive Committee. This project is selected with our state in mind and for the members to contribute to the knowledge of our greater Association.

As a leader I have to balance cost versus benefit for my organization and what program of this magnitude can you send a member to at no cost except time! The Leadership Institute is made possible by a commitment from your Executive Committee, time and dedication from the staff and host agencies, as well as sponsorship from Spartan Fire.

I hope now you are asking yourself the question, how do I or one of my members apply? Applications will be excepted until August 28, 2015. The application process is extremely competitive and those who desire admittance should begin the process early to allow time to refine their resume and thoroughly answer the required essay questions. Strong letters of recommendation are required from your Fire Chief, Past President or current Executive Committee member as well as a letter from someone outside of the fire service. Please visit our website to submit your application.

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