2020 – what a year it has been.
2020 opened with drought, morphed into bushfires, was blessed with rain for what became a bumper harvest and then transcended into a global pandemic, which has taken normal and turned it on its head. Many of our YFCs were forced into hard lockdowns and COVID has impacted us all, challenging us to find new ways to do business and to connect or, as has been often quoted this year,
“life is not what happens to us, it is about how we handle what happens.”
However, Yong Farming Champions (YFCs) are not called champions for nothing and they rose to all challenges that impacted their personal and professional lives.
In 2020 our YFCs have: taken on new jobs (and even overseas postings), joined leadership programs and speaker forums, been guest speakers, produced podcasts (a lot of podcasts) and webcasts, committed to conferences (in person and then online as the year progressed), been awarded Nuffield Scholarships, donated hundreds of volunteer hours, written research papers, connected with schools doing The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, attended zoom meetings (lots and lots of zoom meetings), taken on committee and board positions, featured on well-being seminars, launched an app (Yacker – are you on board yet?), raised money for charity, won national fleece competitions, bought houses, supported each other in lockdown, joined the mental health and occupational safety conversations, launched websites, created videos, participated in international agricultural networks and completed degrees to become doctors and masters. Whew.
We’ve had a RAS Rural Achiever (Dione), a finalist in the NSW 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards (Emma – who can forget that red dress) and even an OAM (Jo).
The Innovation Hub of the Youth Voices Leadership Team launched the highly successful Leadership is Language series with a range of Australian and international guests interviewed by Young Farming Champions.
We’ve adapted to our ever-changing COVID world with drive-through bait station, online wool auctions, social distancing in shearing sheds, online ag shows, lanolin cream production and online bull sales, just to name a few.
And life has gone on. Hannah Hawker, James Kanaley, Tom Tourle and Jasmine Green welcomed new babies.
Keiley O’Brien, Dwayne Schubert and Naomi Mulligan were married and Anika Molesworth and Melissa Henry postponed much-anticipated weddings.
As we near the end of this exceptionally challenging year we asked the Youth Voices Leadership committee what have been their highlights and what are they looking forward to in 2021.
Emma Ayliffe (Chair):
“I am looking forward to setting up the YVLT committee for a long and successful future through finalising what our future looks like and identifying the leaders of tomorrow. This year has been a fun challenge and to see how the committee responded and what we achieved has been amazing.”
“I’m looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 – our team has learnt so much during this challenging year and I hope we can take those learnings out into the big wide world! I can’t wait to celebrate life events with those nearest and dearest, get on the dancefloor and give people a big hug!”
“last day of our family harvesting – it’s been a wonderful season and bring on the time for rest.” says Dione
Jo Newton (Returning Officer):
“After spending nearly half the year locked down in Melbourne, I look forward to partaking in life’s simple pleasures in 2021 like meals shared with friends, smiles not obscured by masks & the freedom to visit friends & explore Australia”.
Photo by: Massimiliano Nardini @ Mt Oberon, Wilson’s Prom
Samantha Wan (Innovation Hub Representative):
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we all emerge from what has been a year like no other, how it has shaped our perspectives and appreciations and use the skills we’ve developed and honed to take on a new chapter in 2021.”
“Sam is also looking forward to some reading time with her dogs”
Anika Molesworth (Partnerships Ambassador):
“The absolute highlight for me was the Language is Leadership series, which has not only brought to my attention some incredible thought-leaders and change-makers – people who are not just talking the talk but walking the walk –but has allowed me the opportunity to connect with them. I could speak with them one-on-one, ask them questions, learn from them and then have a platform to share these learnings far and wide.”
Jess Fearnley (Intern):
“I am looking forward to hopefully seeing each other’s faces in person and working towards some really good programs in the New Year. This year has been a fantastic learning experience and I am super excited about our next workshop with Cathy McGowan in 2021
The last words on our summation of the year that has been 2020 go to Picture You in Agriculture director Lynne Strong:
“As a person who thrives on watching others grow and thrive I have found it very rewarding to watch how flexible and agile the team has been in this wild year. COVID has impacted both our personal and professional lives yet we have remained hopeful, collaborated, reimagined, innovated, stuck to our truth and delivered joy; all the things that get people through turmoil and change. I salute the Young Farming Champions”
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