On Friday 18th September, 57 junior YFCU members made their way to The Share Centre in Lisnaskea for the Junior Weekend, supported by Danske Bank. The residential was led by YFCU president, Roberta Simmons and members of the presidential team. Roberta reports on the weekend:
Friday afternoon at 4pm, our junior members caught the coach at Sprucefield. 57 members boarded the bus and we were off. On arrival at the centre we were given a welcome and rules talk by the centre after which I introduced all the leaders for the weekend which were the presidential team consisting of deputy president, James Speers and vice-presidents, Zita Blair, Andrew Little, Harry Crosby and Brooks Allen.
After dinner, the members were all split into six groups and a leader appointed to each. We started the evening off with ice-breaker games before splitting into two groups. One of the groups played five-a-side football and dodgeball led firstly by James and Zita while Harry and myself took the other group and talked through a presentation on the YFCU, competitions, activities and the benefits open to all members. After half an hour the two groups swapped around so everyone present could get to grips with what the YFCU had to offer. After this everyone was then split into chalets for sleeping arrangements and to leave their luggage off and told to get dressed into ‘onesies’ for a disco. Some fantastic onesies were on show with the presidential team even dressing up.
Saturday morning it was up nice and early with a ring of the European Rally Bell, which had also been brought along on the weekend to share with our members its history and details of the prestigious Rally coming to Ulster in August 2016. Breakfast was at 8am and members were split into three groups. The three groups had activities throughout the day which were banana boating, fuse ball, archery and wall climbing.
After tea on Saturday evening the six teams then came together for team challenges which consisted of finding information from the YFCU Rural Dispatch magazine, YFCU quiz with a range of questions on the organisation, tower building with marshmallows and various other team games. After the team games and challenges a social was held for the members with vice-president Andrew taking charge, assisted by the rest of the team. After the social the evening ended with an hours music and dancing.
On Sunday morning the groups were brought together again and whichever activity they didn’t get a change to participate in on Saturday they finished with on Sunday morning. The activities finished at 12 noon. After this everyone was brought together and we had the chance to hold a youth forum with the members present. This was a great opportunity to get from the members their likes about the YFCU and ideas to progress the organisation for our junior members and I am looking forward to discussing some of these ideas at our central committees.
At 2pm the coach arrived to take everyone back home.
This weekend was a fantastic opportunity to engage with our young membership. They had the opportunity to make new friends from not only within their own club and county but throughout Northern Ireland. I feel that our junior members are also a very important part of our organisation and they are the backbone of the future so it is important to hear their views and get their feedback.
With this bunch of young people the future is definitely bright in the YFCU. As the top rural youth organisation in Northern Ireland we have hopefully encouraged these young members to become more involved in the association and have drawn to their attention the many benefits of what being a member really has for them and together hopefully we can become better farmers, better countrymen and better citizens, as our pledge alludes to.
I also have to say a huge thank-you to my presidential team comrades, who without the commitment and dedication of, the weekend would not have happened and finally to the 57 junior members from across the organisation – I hope you had a great weekend which has built upon your team building and leadership skills, whilst getting to know others from throughout the organisation and most importantly highlighted to you the skills and benefits that are open to you through your membership of the YFCU.
Finally I would like to thank Danske Bank for supporting an event such as this which is fundamental to the future leaders of our organisation. I would like to thank in particular John Henning for his unwavering support of YFCU and its members.