How young farmers clubs country wide are fighting the stereotype.
When asked to think about young farmers in the community, a stereotypical image of straw-chewing, cider-swilling ruffians can spring to mind! Having been on the committee of Wormleighton YFC for the last four years, I can safely say that clubs country wide are doing their upmost to fight these stereotypes and provide a valuable service for the agricultural sector. YFC Clubs have come a long way since starting in Devon dairy factories in the 1920â€™s, however the principle of a youth organisation for rural communities is still the same.
Providing a safe and controlled environment for members aged 10-26yrs to explore their talents and socialise with young people with similar interests is just a small part of the work we do. Working by the ethos â€œLed by young people, for young people,â€ the framework of each club reflects this, teaching qualities such as leadership, organisation and public speaking to members. Our weekly meetings can be incredibly varied; last years programme included camel racing, pheasant plucking, pumpkin carving, nature walks, street dancing lessons and farming talks.
Our small club of 52 members has been responsible for raising over Â£8000 in the last four years, all of which has been dispersed into various local charities including the Warwickshire Air Ambulance, Wormleighton Church and Village Hall Funds and Katherine House Hospice. Fundraising is carried out throughout the year and provides a unique platform for members to develop practical, planning and financial awareness through the running of events such as raffles, clay shooting, fun days, concerts and parties.
Competitions also play an enormous part in keeping us out of trouble; ranging from carcass judging and crop assessments to ball room dancing and pantomime performing. There is something for everyone! Not only is competing an excellent way to motivate members into trying something new, itâ€™s a fantastic tool for clubs to promote their objectives of education, progress and learning.Â In recent times Warwickshire YFC have been National Hockey Champions three years running and look forward to defending their title this season.
The training opportunities offered through national and county federations are endless; this year we have seen members receive funding for trailer tests, spraying licences and tree surgery courses. Members are also given the chance to travel the world through exchange visits, team travel and working holidays, each one broadening their horizons and experiencing something that may not be possible without the help of National Young Farmers.
Nationally we now have over 23,000 members reaching some of the most remote parts of the country, all providing a unique service and support system to their community. Next time you see your local YFC members enjoying a quiet drink at the local, remember that they have probably earned it! The Michaelmas Â term is due to start for most clubs any time now and new members are always welcome, for more information on how you can get involved with your local club and start helping in your community, please visit www.nfyfc.org.uk