09 March 2012
The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs are saying a fond farewell to the founding members of their hugely successful Youth Forum.
The organisation, which supports 23,000 rural young people across England and Wales, has been able to provide even more opportunities for its youngest members thanks to the establishment of the forum nearly two years ago.
The Youth Forum was the brain child of Aled Jones and the then national chairwoman Helen Roberts, who felt that there weren’t enough opportunities for younger members to get their voices heard. Founders, Emily York, Aled Jones, Beth Duchenese, Amy Scott, Harriet Wilson and Louise Hartley have done a fantastic job in turning their bright idea into a thriving part of the organisation.
With the help of youthwork development officer Jodie Green, the Youth Forum was created in 2010 and is made up of the seven finalists of the organisation’s Junior Member of the Year Award— ensuring the forum is injected with new enthusiasm each year.
They have made huge progress in ensuring that the organisation engages with its younger members at both a local and national level. County forums are now springing up across the country, organising junior social and communication events, and for the first time there is a slot in this year’s annual general meeting for the Youth Forum to have their say.
Making sure NFYFC competitions reflect the needs of younger members has also been a high priority. They have tweaked the Junior Member of the Year competition so that it helps competitors develop relevant skills, and 2012 will see a brand new video competition, which will be supported by the group.
One thing the youth forum can never be accused of is a lack of imagination and their enthusiasm and tenacity have seen their big ideas become a reality. A brand new NFYFC mascot, SuperMoo, began life not as a crime fighting calf, but as a way of getting younger members involved with the national federation. The Youth Forum organised a competition to design a new mascot and through this SuperMoo was born. The heroic cow will be working its way around the country throughout the year.
Forum members themselves have gained vital skills from organising events to public speaking. A team building weekend away to Wales in February, include a chilly kayaking trip, seriously tested their mettle! But for founding member Aled Jones, braving the weather was worth it;
“From judging mascot entries to rowing in freezing temperatures I've had an amazing time being part of the Youth Forum and will definitely be keeping up to date on what the forum is up to in the future.”
Emily York, who has also established a forum in her home county of Devon, added that it was an honour and a privilege to be part of the team.
This year’s Youth Forum , which meets three times a year, is now in full swing and is looking at ways to encourage more youngsters to join the organisation and provide even more opportunities for existing members.