Suffolk Young Farmers column: Juniors have tree-mendous time at camp
- Credit: Archant
The quiet time in the YFC office has arrived, writes Tory Lugsden. Traditionally YFC activities close down for August to allow the farm based members to gather the crops in. With only 50% of our membership directly involved in farming the planning work starts for the other members for the brilliant things coming up over the next few months.
The Suffolk YFC Junior Campout took place at Baylham House Rare Breeds this year, with very kind permission of the Storer family, and the weather was kind. Nine senior helpers took on the role of peacekeeper/entertainers of 26 of Suffolk’s finest junior members for the weekend. The Saturday dawned brightly and the mass tent erection started. The juniors seemed to be the masters of getting their tents up, beds made and generally organised so much so I put them to work on my tent. It’s a rather complicated thing and, being too tight to buy anything more useful, the first of the weekends challenges fell to the members of Gipping Valley. They rose to the challenge and the tent was upright and watertight (sort of!).
The day started with some intense kite creation. The boys from Gipping and Brett Valley won the competition for the longest tail which was about as much success as they had. Flight was close to useless though. The peaceful girls team was the only kite that managed to get airborne for more than five seconds. The afternoon’s challenge of a treasure hunt was set by senior sports chairman Anni Turner. An educational and exciting trip around the farm including a trip through Baylham’s fantastic straw tunnel ended with the juniors all completing their challenge in record time. Points were knocked off team 5 for overtaking the 4th team and picking up the clues to “slow them down”. We don’t call Nick from Brett “Competitive Dave” for no reason!!
The next challenge for our juniors was to build their own fishing rods with help from our superstar helper Mark. Rods completed and no hooks attached to anybody it was down to the river to catch supper. A lot of patience was required from the 26 fishermen. One measly fish was captured and only suitable for feeding the smallest junior so was released to swim another day! Further exploration of the walks along the river revealed Farmer Neil’s tyre swing and the next hour was spent with juniors enjoying the fun of trying to get across the river and back safely which most of them managed. I was conned into having a go and truly terrifying it was. Much amusement was had at swinging the old dear across the river until the words “if I die doing this my husband will kill me” meant they let me down. County vice chairman Ed proved his manliness with a huge swing from great height and spent the next half an hour trying to sooth the pain of his rope burns! Our evening entertainment, in the form of ex county chairman Clare Lock, arrived to help out and caused enormous amusement with the biggest blow up bed ever to be seen.
It was duly jammed into my precarious tent and the junior girls took great pleasure in putting her palatial bedroom together.
It made my blow up mattress and sleeping bag look a bit unappealing.
It was a good job as I didn’t get to spend much time in it!!
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The only saving grace was Clare plummeting off her bed in the middle of the night much to my amusement! A final hush at 1.30am and all was quiet, albeit briefly, until our resident early bird junior woke up at 5.30am. Apparently sleep is for wimps!
Despite little sleep the campout was a pleasure to run and the junior members were a credit to their parents, their clubs and to young farmers. Roll on next year.
Looking forward we are delighted to announce that we have secured Meurig Raymond, Deputy President of the National Farmers Union as speaker for our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2nd October at Otley College. We look forward to hearing his views on the future of farming and young farmers.
Melton Young Farmers will be returning for people between the ages of 16 and 30. The launch evening will take place on Wednesday 18th September at the Coach and Horses in Melton. We would love to see any new members for a drink and a chat to find out what we are about!