December 2020 Leadership Message From the ISFSI President: Pete Van Dorpe

Holiday greetings my brothers and sisters!

I sincerely hope you are all having a safe, healthy, and meaningful holiday season regardless of the limitations and challenges we are facing this year. While I have not, (like most of us I presume), been able to spend time with my family and friends in the ways I am used to, I have found that we can still “gather together” and share our love, friendship, and camaraderie. I wish the same for you since coming together is such an integral part of this time of year. This is also the time of year when we count our blessings. I continue to be blessed with an opportunity to be part of the fire service mission, and with membership in an organization that I am proud to be a part of.  Thank you for your contributions to this Society and for welcoming me into the ISFSI family. I also wish to thank you for remembering that some of our members and their families have recently faced, and/or are currently facing, serious personal challenges as we close out the year. Your kindness and support are greatly appreciated.

It is no secret that in our modern age, the “holiday season” can impose a great deal of stress in and of itself.  When life piles on some additional slaps in the face, like say perhaps a pandemic, things can get downright sh****. Please, please, please make the time to take care of yourself first and foremost, take care of your family, and take care of each other. Your communities rely on you. They need you. They need you well and healthy. Let us all promise to continue to be GOOD to one another in the coming year.


This past year has been like no other and the coming year will present many of the same challenges. While we are likely past the crisis stage of the pandemic, with the arrival of vaccines and more efficacious treatments, there is still a very, very long row yet to hoe. The Society continues to work hard to meet these challenges and to deliver added value to our members. Not the least of these efforts is inaugurating “VISON 2021”, our first ever virtual Instructor Professional Development Conference, with its theme of “Transforming Instructor Professional Development Towards a Resilient Future”, (go big or go home, right? – Right!). “This premiere conference has a dedicated focus on instructor professional development while providing instructors a quality experience in a virtual conference setting. Attendees will be challenged academically and are provided a chance to network with their peers throughout the event. Each attendee will "go home" with all the resources and tools they need to be the best instructor possible”. Registration opens on Monday, January 4th. Go to: for more information. We not only have the kick ass instructor line up you’ve come to expect from the Society, but we’ve also lined up a couple of A-Team keynoters. 


The VISION 2021 conference will also kick off our 60th anniversary celebrations. Marking and celebrating these milestones with remembrances, acknowledgements, ceremonies, etc. is important for both the Society as an organization as well as for the individuals who have made and continue to make extraordinary contributions to our success. I hope you will all participate in and enjoy the “celebrations”, both the virtual and the (hopefully) in person ones that we are planning for both the Professional Development Conference and for FDIC. The Society has made great strides in the last dozen years and is poised to achieve even greater things for its members in the very near future. Please join me in celebrating our past and future successes by re-committing yourselves to the mission and vision of the ISFSI. As members, each of us is committed to, “Inspiring, supporting and elevating instructors around the world”, and, “To be the premier instructor organization providing resources to improve safety, efficiency and effectiveness of the fire service”. Fulfilling this mission and this vision is only possible through our combined efforts. It is no BS at all to say that the Society is only as effective as its members contributions! We really and truly do NEED each and every one of you to continue participating and contributing to the Society as you have done, (can I get away with saying, “even more than you have done”), in the past! 

You know what’s coming next don’t ya!  The “ask”.  Here is a short list of some of the ways you can make a contribution to the ISFSI:

  • Jump on the next “Happy Hour”. We are moving these to the first Wednesday of each month. Better yet, take the lead on one of the discussions.
  • Take one of the on-line Continuing Education Courses. Better yet, develop and present one!
  • Ditto the Modern Mentor Webinar Series. There is some very awesome stuff there, but I bet some of you can top it!
  • Subscribe to and participate in the ISFSI Member Forum. Many of our members who are new instructors and training officers are seeking your guidance, expertise, and resources. Help a brother or sister out!
  • Write a little something for this publication for crying out loud!
  • Contribute to The Buzz (our site blog). Contribute something to the Resource Library.
  • Get on one of our committees. They are truly doing great things and could sure use another worker bee or six. 😉
  • Take to on-line Training Officer Credential class. (Yeah, I know. You’ve already got your state cert., it ain’t exactly cheap, time, family, work, etc., etc.) But . . . . ya never know, you just might learn something useful. Cuz why? Cuz it a great class lead by one Bad Ass instructor, that’s why!
  • Become a Mentor or a Mentee. How you ask? Get on the development committee and find out!
  • And last but not least, RECRUIT A MEMBER (or twelve). I know you’ve heard this from me before and trust me, you will keep hearing it. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US knows at least one person who could benefit from and/or contribute to the success of the ISFSI. They won’t join if you don’t ask. Don’t want to be a tail twister? Fine. Send me their digits and I’ll twist it for you, (just know I’m going to drop your name).


One of the great benefits and great responsibilities of belonging to a member driven organization is the opportunity to elect your Board of Directors. We have a group of very talented and dedicated members looking for your support. One of the greatest impacts you can have on the future of our organization is to select the leaders that will move us forward. Voting closes on January 8th  at 5pm EST, so don’t put it off. You can view the candidates here: 

Keep safe and stay well!

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