National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 September 2016

“National Young Farmers’ Week” 2016 is well underway – a week celebrating one of the biggest rural youth organisations in the UK. As part of the NFYFC’s (National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs) Recruitment & Retention campaign (sponsored by the Rural Youth Trust), each weekday of “National Young Farmers’ Week” will consist of a theme relating to the amazing experiences and opportunities that come with being a YFC member.

On day 2 of “National Young Farmers’ Week” (20th September), it’s time to put on those hiking boots and unearth your sense of adventure, as today’s theme is all about travel.

Since the dawn of YFC, thousands of young farmers have taken part in the YFC Travel programme, which offers YFC members the chance to enjoy a different culture and see what farming is like in another country. Past discoverers have tackled white water rapids in Canada, helped out in an ice cream factory in Sweden, shorn sheep in New Zealand and built schools in Uganda.

It was thanks to the YFC Travel programme that Jesslyn Thay, of Henley YFC, Oxfordshire, got to travel to the USA in 2015 and learn about farming on the other side of the pond.

Jesslyn said: “I spotted a post that NFYFC had shared to Facebook about a Young Farmer who had posted a photo from her trip to Australia, so I read up about the travel programme and naturally I was interested. I've always dreamed of travelling, but I wasn't brave enough to take the plunge. That's where the YFC exchange really helped me, as I could get the adventure I craved, yet it was from the comfort of an agricultural background I was familiar with.

“I had several ‘money can’t buy’ experiences during my time in Montana and North Dakota. This included camping under the Northern Lights, listening to singing coyotes, and riding horses with cowboys. Also, the families I stayed with were the kindest caring people who accepted me into their homes and treated me as their own. Everyone I met was so keen to show the best of their country.

“My trip wasn’t all fun and games - I also worked for my keep, doing odd jobs around the farms such as cleaning out grain bins; driving corn carting trucks and unloading them with augers; hand-milking goats and feeding the farmed rabbits. In North Dakota, I worked 12-hour shifts for five days driving a combine at the State University for their harvest.

“I owe YFC so much for enabling me to travel to America. There was so much support for me from both national and county level - and my club were super supportive and generous. Going away for nine weeks helped me figure out what was truly important to me, it also helped my confidence and interpersonal skills as I was constantly meeting new people and in shifting situations I had to adapt to. 

“If I had never been a Young Farmer, I'm pretty sure I would have never had the amazing opportunity I was given. I have priceless memories of a wonderful trip which was all made possible because of the fantastic organisation that is NFYFC.” 

Details of the 2017 YFC Travel Programme will be available soon at www.nfyfc.org.uk/yfctravel. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for further information. 


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