On Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October, over 20 newly elected Club Officers across the Staffordshire Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) attended a very full weekend of training, learning new skills and meeting their fellow officers who hold the positions of Club Chairman, Club Secretary and Club Treasurer. The weekend was funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and The Rural Youth Trust Grant and is designed to introduce the specifics of what is involved in a Club Officer role including best safeguarding practice, risk assessments and leadership, looking at the impact and value that their youth-work within the clubs can have and how to inspire their members and fellow officers to become good communicators. Also being able to enjoy and understand the benefits of teamwork, become more organised and build their confidence in their role. There was also a session held where each club specifically looked at their current practices within the clubs, called “YFC on Track” which has been introduced by the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) Personal Development Steering group, to check that the club officers and clubs recognize and meet the minimum expectations to run their own club, operating in line with their constitution, Charity Commission guidelines and best practice.
The weekend of training was delivered by Polly Baines, Club Chairman; Julia Taylor, County Organiser and Beckie Phillips, one of the trained trainers within Staffordshire YFC. Alongside Polly, Julia and Beckie, the federation also employed the services of Matt Turner and Jane Reynolds, both Development Workers from Staffordshire Council for Voluntary Youth Services, who delivered a bespoke session about Youthwork including leadership styles, active listening and challenging behaviour. Within the two-day programme, Julia Taylor, the County Designated Safeguarding Lead also delivered a session about Safeguarding in YFC Clubs and the correct procedures to follow.
The Club Officers Training Weekend is one of 5 training opportunities offered to all new Club Officers as they start in their voluntary role, which is a great responsibility for the young leaders with a vast club membership age range of 10 to 26 years, in Staffordshire YFC. The Club Officers are the vital point of communication and contact to those members for the County Office and it is essential that they feel well supported in their role. The feedback from those who participated in the weekend has been very positive, with Club Officers agreeing that they would recommend the weekend to future Club Officers and that they now feel more confident for the year ahead, which will make a positive impact on their club and members.
To help the Club Officers to keep themselves organised, the Staffordshire YFA (Young Farmers Ambassadors), which is a subcommittee of Staffordshire YFC, also presented them with large hessian bags to keep their books and paperwork in. The Staffordshire YFA is made up of current and past YFC Travellers who help current members to apply for the various YFC Travel opportunities available via NFYFC.
Staffordshire YFC has ten clubs operating in the county, with over 600 members aged between 10 – 26 years. Each club provides a weekly programme of regular activities ranging from sports, public speaking, farm walks and trips away. Members come from all walks of life including nursery nurses, agronomists, schoolteachers, chefs, students and farm workers. The name “Young Farmers” can sometimes be misleading, but anyone who is keen to get involved and become a member can be reassured that absolutely no farming background is required – not even a pair of wellies!
Young people who have taken up voluntary leadership positions within Staffordshire YFC have often progressed into taking up other roles of responsibility within their own community, as they have built up their confidence and knowledge to do so, after their YFC experience.
To view photos from the weekend, please click here