The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
Guest Blog by Kirsty John – Art4Agriculture Program and Event Management
As we rapidly approach the end of 2011, we often find ourselves reflecting on our year, what have we achieved, what didn’t we tick of that to do list, who have we met and how have our lives changed. As I took a moment to think about that, I quickly realised that one of the highlights of my year was the working with Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture. So, I asked Lynne if I could do a guest blog post – little did she know that it would be about her J
In this age of tweeting, Facebooking, four walling, blogging, Youtubing and any other ‘ing’ you can add to that, life begins to move at an incredible speed, where reactions to issues, statements, achievements are immediate and if you don’t react immediately you sometimes feel like the moment is lost. A constant ‘lost moment’ I felt this year, was being able to say to Lynne ‘well done on what you have done for individuals and an industry in 2011!’
We have all seen the traffic and conversations created through the Archibull Prize Program and the Young Farming Champions Program. Some of the great ‘Agvocacy’ success stories have been Emma Visser (Heywire winner), Steph Tarlinton (profiled Young Farming Champion), Melissa Henry (Coloured sheep entrepreneur) and Hollie Baillieu (AYOF Ambassador), just to name a few. These amazing young women in agriculture have something in common – Lynne Strong and the time she has given to each of them to assist them reach their potential. It’s mentoring of the 21st century kind, where their individual talents have been exposed and nurtured and the modern day tools they need, like voice training, how to talk ‘consumer’ and video story telling have been given to them to get the message out there that agriculture is a great industry to be in.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran
Lynne is one of those people who gives, and often does not realise the greatness of her giving on a daily basis – it is not a once a year sport, it’s a long and sometimes bloody tiring season, but I have seen the outcomes bring a smile to Lynne’s face and a tear to her eyes.
So as you consider your resolutions for 2012, think about how you can inspire, motivate, mentor, support and be the change that we need to see in the agricultural industry to ensure a strong future. It can be as simple as not losing the moment or the opportunity to congratulate the great work that your fellow farmers, your friends and family do on a daily basis (that’s my resolution!) to being open to sharing your stories and experiences with the current generation, to being not afraid of having a big idea and putting yourself out there with it. That’s exactly what Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture did and the proof from this giving is definitely in the Christmas pudding!!
Art4Agriculture “Archies” were the star attraction at the Orange Field Days recently proudly lining up to partake in the RAS of NSW Youth Group Young Farmer Challenge Event
Okay so how exactly did they they get hands on ?
Well to start with a bit of background on the Young Farmer Challenge which is an engaging, entertaining and fast paced event that showcases the breadth of skills required in farming today as well as youth involvement in agriculture.
The Young Farmer Challenge consists of a series of skills-based challenges modelled on day to day farming activities. Challenges may involve one or all team members working together or in relay. Each challenge is to be completed correctly before moving on to the next.
At the Regional YFC in Borenore, competitors were required to carry out a number of challenges such as; using a chainsaw, splitting wood, starting a fire, cooking, changing a tyre on a ute, drenching sheep and carrying out safe practices with respect to overhead power lines.
The “Archies” were centre stage as part of the ‘Morning Chores Challenge where competitors were required to carry out the following tasks:
1. Collect the egg from the chook hutch
2. Collect milk from the Archie’s. As you can see in the photos udders were made out of gloves and bailing twine was used to fix them in place. It was widely reported the “Archies” were very well behaved whilst being milked.
In order to complete this challenge, competitors had to collect at least one egg and 50mL of milk from their Archie.
Once the Morning Chores Challenge was complete, the milk and the eggs collected by the young farmers were used in the next challenge – the Master Farmer Challenge – where our farmers were required to exhibit their culinary skills by whipping up an omelette using the egg plus the milk they collected from the “Archies”.
This post has been written by the Archibull Prize artwork judge Wendy Taylor who visited Mt Druitt Tutorial and Alice Betteridge School for Deaf and Blind Children on day four of judging by herself whilst I presented at the Careers Advisor Conference in Liverpool.
Wendy’s reflection on her four days visiting the schools
The most remarkable thing that I have found with the Archibull Prize this year is that irrespective of the circumstance of the school, whether they are the most privileged private school, a catholic school, state or selective high school, the impact of the programme was consistent. It was irrelevant whether the children were handpicked from gifted and talented classes or had learning difficulties. Again they all benefited equally and learnt from the programme. It was also irrelevant whether the children were in Kindergarten, Year 11 and 12 students, Agriculture classes or Art classes or a combined effort. All students gained from being included in the programme.
This is a remarkable end result. It shows that whatever field of education you apply it to it will have an impact on the children involved. I think that it is as relevant for inner city areas, rural areas and indigenous communities. The appeal of the programme is that because it is outside the normal curriculum, it breeds enthusiasm among both students and teachers. This manifests itself in increased learning, attendance, school spirit and a cooperative experience between students and teachers.
It is undoubted that the programme increases an understanding, appreciation and knowledge of agriculture and demonstrates to children that a career in agriculture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit on a tractor. I am sure that when Art4Agriculture up with the concept of the programme that they didn’t envision a response on so many different levels, from the individual students to the school community as a whole.
Wendy on school visits on Day of judging
Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre– “Chickcow”
On Friday I was abandoned by Lynne and ventured out on my own to visit the final two schools on our mega roadtrip.
The first was Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre. This is a dedicated school for children at risk.
I walked into the classroom expecting a cow depicting one of the commodity groups which I had seen over the last three days. Imagine my surprise when confronted with our very first “Chickcow”!
This cow definitely shows off the poultry industry, with its sculptural head, tail and feet. It has both tactile and painted feathers as well as many ‘info-feathers’ showing facts about the industry. The best bit of this cow is underneath with its precious clutch of hatching ‘chickcowlets’.
The programme was embraced by much of the school, with the art class making the ceramic eggs, the cooking classes focussing on poultry and egg recipes and many other students involved in the work on the cow itself.
This cow was so precious to the school that they couldn’t bring themselves to pierce its ear for the earrings they wanted it to have, so they had to come up with plan B (which you have to admit is great- made from clip-on egg rings!)
From the teacher
Time is up, so I am off to the next school.
Lucky last school for our judging road trip is Alice Betteridge School for the Deaf and Blind run by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.
This year, Alice Betteridge is participating for the second time in the Archibull Prize programme. Last year they won the primary school section and this year thought they would try the High School section.
Alice Betteridge students and teachers with their winning entry from 2010
Annie (from Year 7) and Kirsten (from Year 9) were there to tell me about their calf, called “Betsy”.
While last year their entry was very tactile, with differing textures, finishes and built out areas, this year they have completed a very simple and elegant collage of relevant pictures. They found that because the children couldn’t feel the difference in the components, they wanted to know what each picture was and its relevance. They therefore had a much more complete learning experience. It was fascinating what the children could tell me about the pictures without being able to see them.
They have pictures at the head of the calf showing rural images with pictures at the rear showing urban images and products. In the centre, linking the two, there is the Harbour Bridge over water with images of the process from grain to product.
Annie and Kirsten tell you what they have learnt here
As this is the last school (whew!!) I would just like to thank all the schools for their time and dedication to this programme, and for the phenomenal effort they have all put in. The results are beyond expectation and have completely blown us away. Well done to all! Thank you.
Our special guest at the 2011 Archibull Prize was the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Katrina Hodgkinson who recognised the efforts of budding young artists as part of the agricultural art award, the 2011 Archibull Prize.
The Minister spoke extensively with students from a number of schools as she viewed the finalist artworks which will be on display for six weeks at Woolworths Head Office at Bella Vista.
“The Archibulls provide a unique opportunity for our city kids to learn all about farming, agriculture, and where our food comes from,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Using videos, artwork, blogs and multimedia, school kids from Western Sydney this year tackled the theme, what it takes to sustainably feed and clothe Sydney for a day. The students had the opportunity to express their thoughts on agriculture and rural Australia by designing and decorating an iconic life-sized fibreglass cow. As part of the Art4Agriculture awards, each school researched and showcased a key agricultural commodity, including dairy, beef, sheep, wool, cotton, grains and poultry. It was my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2011 Archibull Prize as Caroline Chisholm College of Glenmore Park who turned their blank cow into a Rubik’s Cube to tell the story of beef,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the Art4Agriculture initiative is a great way for students growing up in the city to get a real insight into life on the land.
“Each school was mentored by a Young Farming Champion who worked with the students through the project and shared their experiences of life on the land. By rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, the program is an innovative way of bridging the rural-urban divide and helping tomorrow’s leaders understand the challenges of feeding the world.”
More than 20 urban Sydney schools took part in the Archibull Prize this year.
The Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize was developed with the support of the NSW Department of Primary Industries LandLearn initiative, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Woolworths and RIRDC.
“Threads” from Colo High School the first actual fibreglass cow to be “cut open” and to push the boundaries of what has been perceived that they can do with it. This has allowed them to tell 2 stories of the same industry in a very clever and subtle way.
“Betsy” from St Ignatius – Beautifully painted imagery depicting the rural to urban journey on the front of the cow and the back of the cow showing the process from paddock to plate, the primary products, as well as a map of Australia showing the main ports which export grain. The train tracks down the spine of the cow to show the journey and how grains are primarily transported to the city.
Our next Archibull Prize judging challenge came from Schofields Public School’s entry “Milky Way”.
Most of the students at Schofields live in semi-rural areas and rural hospitality was exactly what we got when we arrived. The last line of the Schofields School Song says, “It’s a very nice place to be.” And indeed it is.
Schofields was hosting an entertainment event in the school hall for local senior citizens when we arrived and “Milky Way” was proudly centre stage.
Teacher Laura Gilbody said “the students thoroughly enjoyed painting the cow and their Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton’s visit was a highlight.
Laura said “The Archibull Prize was a lot of fun and certainly instigated a lot of conversation about sustainability and basically promoted the effort and time of farmers in general.”
Schofield Public School students love their Milky Way
During the ten weeks the program was in the school the students had weekly K-6 library lessons about dairy industry “from grass to milk”….naming competitions, design tasks and even named one of Farmer Steph’s new calves
See Farmer Steph’s video here
Laura said the program helped the students comprehend sustainability and its importance now for the future as well as enhancing their understanding the time and effort put in by farming industries in order to supply daily wants and needs.
See and celebrate Schofield’s Archibull Prize PowerPoint entry here
Art4Agriculture team members Lynne Strong, Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu all recently presented at the Future Focused Ag Oz forum in Sydney on November 26th/27th on the topic of Leadership
Hollie has kindly agreed to share her presentation with you
Everyone in this room is a leader – the fact that you came here today makes you one. You don’t wake up and think – today is the day I will be a leader. Its gradual, it evolves and sometimes you don’t even know its happened and perhaps it takes you a while to accept that you are one. Its only when you get ownership of something that that sense of pride sets in. When you are in part responsible for the success of something, you are responsible for the direction of a group and you are responsible for people other than yourself – that’s when you realise that hey maybe I do have leadership qualities.
Being the age I am and the age most of you are in this room – I think we are becoming leaders, – we have a long way to go however, we are evolving into those sorts of people that have leadership qualities and those that have influence over others.
I would like you to have a think for me – I would like you to think of someone that you would do anything for, perhaps someone you would trust your life with.
While you are thinking of that person or maybe there are a few people that spring to mind, I would like to put something to you. I mentioned the word influence before. I believe that leadership is about influence, how you influence those around you.
True leadership is there regardless of position within a business, group. They hold a high degree of influence, Those around them choose to serve them. I don’t see someone who uses their position to influence necessarily shows leadership.
Hopefully you have all thought of that person you would do anything for, you would trust your life with. What do they do or what attributes do they have that make them that person.
When I thought of the people that have the highest degree of influence over me I thought of a few things.
They are authentic – they are real, they are genuine, they are not those people that look over your shoulder at a party searching for someone else they would rather talk to.
They are committed to what they have said they will do, They are loyal to a cause and they are loyal to you and your team.
They share a vision and therefore empower the rest of the group.
They are inclusive and understand that when their team feels good and feels needed – it will work more easily as one.
They show integrity – their behaviour serves as a role model for everyone else.
There are many more attributes but you know what makes those people in your life special.
I want you to take a step back and look at yourself, I have no doubt that you all hold some or all of those attributes and I have no doubt that someone holds you in that light, that you have that degree of influence.
So, Greg asked me to talk about some of those things that have helped me in the positions that I now have. The reason I introduced the term leadership so broadly was basically for you to understand how I see that level and degree of influence as a key driver to effective leadership.
The roles I now have as Chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council, an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Ag schools program – I guess I show some attributes of leadership but as I said before – I believe I am too young and inexperienced to be a fully formed leader although hopefully I am becoming one and continue to evolve into a stronger more effective one.
I have narrowed my thoughts into three key areas, they are basic – nothing too incredible but perhaps the simpler things, again I will use this word, those things that we personally have influence over and perhaps its those little things we forget sometimes.
Things that have helped me along the way
– This first point stems from my mum and she still says it to me all the time but seriously it has helped me. “Talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime” ( ask Hollie to share her airport story)
This phrase – is especially important in the agriculture industry. It is incredible who people know in this industry and I am finding this out more and more each day within my role with Australian Year of the Farmer as they all link in with my other roles in the industry.
– The second point which anyone who knows me will understand and that is to smile and be friendly. This is so simple but people forget to do it. When you smile and are friendly not only you as a person is happier but I will generate that smile around the room or in your group. Remember when you felt anxious and nervous – it is the most awful feeling and I get actually get these feelings quite often. However, when I am doing things with the Young Farmer Council especially – I don’t feel nervous or anxious because its my arena, I know where I am and generally what I am doing ( laughs Bec might disagree). I’m comfortable in this situation. When we have held an event and a new person joins us – you can tell very quickly if they are feeling comfortable or not. I don’t want people to feel anxious or nervous when they are around me or when they are involved with something that I am in part responsible for running. You will all agree with me – that when you see a smiling friendly person – you immediately calm and know that you have a friend.
– Remember this – when your team feels comfortable, when they feel included and at ease – that is when you get the best out of them and in turn the best comes out in you and as a team you are then the most effective you can be.
– Lastly, as I said this is simple stuff and this is perhaps the most simple and something you can change very quickly.
And that is your appearance. The most critical time for this is when we are all just starting off in the world. We are in such a competitive environment – we cant afford to be lacking in those areas that are so easily changed.
Remember appearance isn’t just what you look like – it is the whole package. I want you to literally visualise this – Two people are going for an interview. Someone who has a smile on their face, who looks great, with a strong hand shake and looks people in the eye will always have it over someone who walks into an interview who has a weak hand shake, doesn’t look them in the eye and looks like they have just jumped off the sofa after watching a twilight marathon. That is one thing that you can do so easily, that you directly influence.
These little things are really important. I’m organising the recruiting process for the AYOF Road Show – I have been looking at a lot of CV’s, cover letters and those people who spell my name wrong get an immediate shake of the head. It’s the whole package, the little things matter, you can directly influence those things and I reckon we are forgetting those little things – don’t. The little things have helped me and maybe at some point they will help you to.
Thanks Hollie all of us who know and love you certainly can testify your smile could light the nite sky during a blackout.
Still very pleased with ourselves that we were sticking to the strict timetable set by Archibull Prize Secretariat and all round sweetheart Loran Blades we drove out of Hurlstone Agricultural High School exhilarated by the diversity of bovine masterpieces that were coming out of the bright minds studying in schools in Western Sydney and made our way towards Rouse Hill Anglican College( RHAC)
After 4 intense days of judging the artworks Wendy Taylor later commented “ the most remarkable thing that I have found with the Archibull Prize this year is that irrespective of the circumstance of the school, whether they are the most privileged private school, a catholic school, state or selective high school, the impact of the programme is consistent. It is irrelevant whether the children are handpicked from gifted and talented classes or have learning difficulties they have all benefited equally and learnt from the programme. It is also irrelevant whether the children are in Kindergarten, Year 11 and 12 students, Agriculture classes or Art classes or a combined effort all the artworks are different, thought provoking and outstanding” May I suggest you keep Wendy’s thoughts in mind as you join us and the other judges in our quest to unveil The Archibull Prize 2011
Arriving at Rouse Hill Anglican College we found it to be a relatively new school situated in rapidly expanding Rouse Hill in Sydney’s north-west which caters for students from Kindergarten to Year Twelve.
RAHC was allocated “dairy” as their food or fibre industry and named their Archie “Mootilda” and here she/he is. (Of concern is these mixed messages we are giving next gen by supplying life-size fibreglass cows and then calling it the Archi”bull”. Even I get confused)
The Art4Agriculture team will be the first to admit we set the schools a HUGE task in 2012, with schools not only painting “bulls” but writing blogs, creating videos and whipping up PowerPoints in their spare (ha ha) time. So Wendy and I were in awe when we were introduced to the small dedicated Archie team at RHAC.
Katrina New head teacher of Creative Arts and Helen Vanderhout who teaches visual arts and some of the students involved Suella, Taylor, Hollie and Sophia very kindly provided their insights into the challenges of taking on this “Everest” with a small group, meeting outside of school hours.
“The students LOVED painting the bull and creating their blog entries. Our students loved meeting Stephanie and talked about this experience frequently. The theme was meaty enough to do research and encourage students to think deeply about how agriculture fits into their urban world.
Parents were highly supportive and popped in to view progress when students were picked up at 5pm. We gave fortnightly presentations at assembly- either documenting our progress, showing Stephanie’s video,or showing the school our Blog. We encouraged all students to be excited about what we were doing and it was the Year 12 students you named our cow ‘Mootilda’
Students of varying ages and abilities came together to work on the project and the social friendships created were fantastic. They all encouraged each other and listened to each other’s ideas and voted on the best course of action. They also learnt Visual Literacy skills to communicate a complicated concept through Visual imagery on a 3D surface and developed new IT skills to write the blog” said Katrina
Katrina and Hollie share some insights with you here
You can also visit the Rouse Hill Anglican College Blog and read about their journey to create the gorgeous Mootilda here