Youth Agvocate Forum
Two very excited Year 10 Agriculture students, Sarah Samsa and Erin Whitfield, were selected to attend the Youth Agvocate Forum 2015 in March, conjointly organised by the RAS (Royal Agricultural Society of NSW) and University of Western Sydney, aiming to engage future generations in Agriculture. The students spent a day out at UWS Hawkesbury Campus and two days at the Royal Easter Show working with like-minded young people on a presentation that will help encourage the next generation of agriculturalists.
Read Erin’s report…
Sarah Samsa and I were accepted with 16 other Year 10 and 11 students from all different schools to go to UWS to be a part of the Youth Agvocate Forum supported by the RAS. Our aim was to explore the issue of teenagers not getting involved with agriculture and why?
We arrived at the campus on Thursday 26 March and were treated to morning tea and a lovely welcome from Chris Vella and April Browne, our hosts from UWS. We were given an iPad and a microphone and put into groups of three. After getting used to the idea of making iMovies and using our equipment we were given our UWS shirts, caps and day packs ready to start working.
We were taken on a bus to the Royal Easter Show where everything for our busy day ahead was set out for us in the members’ club room. We were greeted by experts in their fields, James Arvanitakis (Humanities Lecturer, Head of the Academy at UWS), Ben Egan (Cotton Farmer, NSW Farmers Dubbo Branch Chair and Young Farming Champion) and Therese McGillon (Project Manager for the Renewal of Agriculture Project at UWS) who would help us produce motivating ideas that would encourage the involvement of youth in agriculture in Australia.
We participated in a Google hangout that was live streamed to YouTube. We got to pitch our ideas live and received feedback from – Damien Balzer (Youth Food Movement, Greater Western Sydney Co-chair and UWS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security student), Francis Arias (UWS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security student on exchange to Montana State University studying Sustainable Livestock Production), Hannah DelCurto (Lecturer, Montana State University studying Sustainable Livestock Production) and Camille Colman (Member Service Advisor & Young Farmers’ Coordinator | NSW Farmers). These experts spoke to us about the opportunities and experience they have had over the years.
After the Google hangout we participated in an ice cream tasting workshop and were taken on a private tour through the district displays. We spent the rest of the day interviewing the public, developing our pitch ideas and constructing our video. Within the three days we talked to inspiring people, made friendships with fellow students and the Agriculture Engagement Officers, Chris and April, without whom we would not have had these amazing opportunities and experiences.