Here's a topic that's not often discussed. This goes for both paid AND volunteer.
How important is it TO YOU to have diversity in your department, and have the makeup of your department include and reflect the community it serves.
For example, does your department consist mostly of out-of-towners who come in for the action or because they work there, or the "old school", or mostly your community?Does your department actively try and recruit members of the community, even those who haven't had the advantages some of us have had in life?
Have you educated them about a career or volunteering in your department? Maybe they never knew, maybe they'd make a great firefighter or EMT but never have been extended a helping hand. Have you had mentors in your department, taking some youths and disadvantaged of the community under their wing?
Is your membership ACCEPTING and OPEN to ALL minorities, including women, gays, and lesbians? Would they feel welcome in your department?
I personally feel that there is a "good old boys club" complex out there, and it disgusts me. This is 2007, and we're all human beings and EXACTLY the same inside. A multicultural and diverse agency is beneficial on so many levels, I don't have the time to even start the list.
Of course, I don't agree with "dumbing down" anything in order to recruit minorities, I just think that SOME people and agencies need to be more welcoming, and educating the public about what they do.
In some EMS agencies where I worked, I actively challenged some in the community and was succesful in recruiting several people. Today, one of those people made Supervisor at the EMS agency, and he came from the projects and had no interest in EMS at all-didn't even know the career existed and was basically a street thug, but underneath a good heart and ambition but no way to get or reconize what he wanted or anyone to encourage him...until he was stabbed and I was called to the scene.
Just something I wanted to get off my chest.