As a relative newcomer to the industry based in WA, I’m likely unknown to most of our members. I caught the alpaca bug when I was 15 at high school and have loved the animals and product ever since. I’ve been involved in AYE since the committee was established 3 years ago and have been building the beginnings of a youth group and activities in WA. I work in data science at a water utility in WA so I bring a wealth of experience in process, working with different stakeholders to achieve an outcome, and working for a cause bigger than myself. I’m under no illusion how challenging the issues in our industry around youth are but I’m looking forward to working through them to create some fun stuff that we can all enjoy and be proud of. Here are a couple of updates on things we’re working on at the moment.
AYE Strategy for 2021
At our last meeting in early March, the AYE Committee agreed on an ‘AYE Strategy for 2021’. The focus of the Strategy is on
- establishing youth groups in each state,
- increasing our membership of youth and supporters, and
- providing valuable reasons to be members of the AAA and the youth groups, including education materials and experiences.
We’ve chosen these focus areas because they align with the AAA strategic direction, the AYE Committee’s local knowledge of gaps in our current youth program, and Board expectations.
Our intention is to work collaboratively, across our youth groups, regions and up to the Board to build on the work done before this committee. We want to grow youth and embed it in the AAA to reflect its core role in the future of our organisation.
To do this we need your help. We want you to get involved with youth activities, to let us know if there are things you want to learn, and to provide your feedback on current youth rules and tools that do or don’t work well.
National Youth Mentoring Program
Over the years, many AAA members in each state have mentored our youth to learn more about alpacas and agriculture. These mentoring activities have successfully built up an engaged group of youth who are getting involved in the industry as alpaca enthusiasts, members, breeders, shearers, and future leaders.
The AYE Committee, with blessing from the Board, are expanding this work to start a National Youth Mentoring Program. The program is opt-in for all our AAA members. It aims to build the skills and industry connections of our young people (aged 7 to 26), and to give mentors a chance to share their knowledge with others.
We expect that Mentor studs or other alpaca related premises will offer for students to come to their property at scheduled times. It is the responsibility of the Mentor to educate their Youth about the facts and responsibilities involved in owning alpacas such as on-farm safety, husbandry, halter training, and preparing products for sale (fleece, animals). A good Mentor will include the Youth in day-to-day farm activities and essential exercises, where possible.
To access the mentor register as a AAA young member, email the AYE Chair email@example.com.