Heini Daniels, a member from Wales YFC, writes about her recent trip involving a lesser-known organisation in the UK.
Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend my second Young Farmers Ambassadors (YFA) reunion held in Cookstown, Northern Ireland. It was a fantastic weekend being reunited with friends, reminiscing, meeting new people, dressing up, learning about the YFA and not forgetting the warm Northern Irish hospitality. After some late nights and a lot of laughs, I left the reunion with a big smile on my face and a positive feeling that I was a part of something really great.
My YFA story began when my good friend Angharad suggested we attend the reunion. We had both been on a few YFC (Young Farmer’s Clubs) exchange trips in the past and after hearing the YFA reunion was being held in our home country of Wales, we were curious… Not one to turn down new opportunities, I found myself packing a bag and jumping in a car with little to no expectation, but a feeling that something great was ahead…and boy was I right!
So what is the YFA? The YFA is a UK based alumni of Young farmers who have travelled as part of the YFC international travel programme. It is intended to maintain friendships and contacts made through these experiences. The YFA ensures this by organising social events, and a weekend break along with it’s annual general meeting. Some of the current YFA members travelled over 50 years ago and still attend the reunions to revisit friendships and experiences. All YFA members are invited to the annual reunion which is hosted alternately in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
The YFA has many other aims too: it encourages current young farmer members to participate in the travel programme by raising funds to help support their travel costs with travel scholarships. YFA members also help to repay their own experiences by assisting with orientation, briefing and the selection of exchangees.
As someone who has been lucky enough to travel with the YFC and now as a YFA member, I would like to take opportunity to encourage two things. Firstly, I would like to encourage YFC members across the UK to participate with their respective travel programmes, something that I can’t endorse highly enough, and secondly, I would like to invite all past YFC travellers to join the YFA.
The international trips offered through YFC are suitable for anyone with a passion for travel, new adventures, culture and for anyone looking for a great time. Travelling through the YFC isn’t something you can appreciate until you have experienced it first-hand. The fun doesn’t stop at the age of 26, as there are a few travel opportunities for associate members up to the age of 30 years, including volunteering trips and some Rural Youth Europe events.
So, what are you waiting for? Go travel with the YFC and then join the YFA. You really won’t regret it!
Group photo of recent YFC travellers from the UK in carnival themed fancy dress at the 2016 YFA reunion