IF you were in Brunswick last week you might have seen the fantastic sight of more than 90 children of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds milling around the showgrounds, learning all there is to know about cattle handling.
It was the popular annual WA Youth Cattle Handlers Camp (WAYCHC), and judging by the ear-to-ear grins on the faces of all involved, there was plenty of fun to be had.
Youngsters from as far south as Esperance and as far north as Morawa were treated to a three-day program filled with a wide range of activities, including preparing cattle for show, handling and judging, all of which was tailored to suit a range of age groups.
The program was bolstered by a solid program of industry professionals who were invited to speak, including Clint Gartrell, Elders, John Mitchell, Mitchell’s Transport, Steve Meerwald, Harmony Agriculture and Food Co, Leon Giglia, Landmark and Michael Rose, Zoetis.
WAYCHC chairperson Asher Goddard said the camp was a fantastic opportunity for the children on a number of levels.
“Obviously there are the practical skills learnt during the camp,” Ms Goddard said.
“But the networking opportunities are fantastic as well.
“We enjoy a lot of support from a range of people and organisations in the ag industry which means the kids have the opportunity to meet and talk with industry professionals throughout the camp.
“And a lot of the helpers are past participants who have gone on to have careers in ag and who want to give back to the industry.”
The focus of the hands-on camp was on learning safe, low stress cattle handling and leading techniques, how to wash, brush, blow dry and clip cattle, as well as judging, learning about structural correctness in beef and dairy and practicing public speaking.
Ms Goddard said it was fantastic, for not only youngsters who had never touched a cow before, through to return attendees involved.
“Some kids are in their fifth year at the camp,” she said.
“And it is great to see everyone’s confidence improve each day.”
Award winners of the various competitions were announced on the final day.
In the beef category, the Christopher Ferguson Memorial highest achiever award, sponsored by Downunder Charolais stud, was presented to Jai Thomas, who will be headed to the Charolais Stampede in Dubbo, New South Wales, at the end of June.
The highest dairy achiever award went to Sam Hall, sponsored by the WA branch of Holstein Australia, with Mr Hall now off to Victoria in January to take part in the National All Breeds Dairy Youth Camp.
The Herdsman award came with a trip to South Australia for the Junior Heifer Expo in July and was awarded to Abby Fouweather.
Ms Goddard acknowledged the sponsors and volunteers who made the event possible.
“The camp continues to go from strength to strength and it is thanks to everyone involved – there are too many to mention – that we keep moving forward,” she said.