The Marton Young Farmers Club has been going strong for 83 years in the area. The members are a charitable group, putting on annual fundraisers and taking on manual labour requests from the farming community. The Club donates a portion of the funds right back into the community supporting local causes.
Pictured above: Some of the Marton Young Farmers members at the Taranaki Manawatu NZYF Tournament
Club Chair Sarah Lockhart works as an Agri-business Analyst with Rabobank and in her free time organises the Club activities along with seven other executives on the committee. “Young Farmers is well-renowned for being a strong community-supporting organisation. That's why people ask if the Club can do various things like silage stack or hay pickups. Last year, our Bark Up fundraiser donated nearly $4,000 to the local Apiti Volunteer Fire Brigade,” shared Sarah.
As a volunteer Club, it’s continuously reinvesting fundraising money back into the community and its members. Every second meeting, the members vote on and donate to a charity of choice.
“The opportunity to help people definitely sits well with the members, and they drop tools and do what they can to make a difference for people,” Sarah said.
Fundraising and giving back
At the start of each year, the committee puts together a list of what the Club hopes to offer its members with a range of activities that will appeal to its diverse membership base, focused on bringing people together and connecting with the community.
“We've got a huge pan-sector range of people, from the cropping sector to dairy, sheep and beef, and a whole heap of professionals as well. No matter where you come in with the New Zealand agricultural sector, you're going to meet someone like-minded to yourself and it's really easy to make those connections within the Club,” explains Sarah.
Marton Young Farmers helping out a local farmer cover a silage stack
As the community puts forward requests that the Club can hopefully assist with, the committee reviews them to ensure it’s a good match in terms of availability and workload. Sarah explains, “The last thing we want is to take on a request and be caught out short. When the requests are well matched to the Club we put it out to the members to vote.”
“We take on the work and give back where we can to try and make the world a better place. The members put a lot of time into the work, often going above and beyond making time for what’s important,” Sarah shared.
Connecting with like-minded people
The Club has 40 members, many in the 20 to 25 age range, though anyone aged 16-31 is welcome to attend. Many of the members went to the same high school or have known each other for a long time. Being a part of the Club offers a chance to reconnect with friends from way back when, and it can be a great way for newcomers to the area to meet others.
“They're all very welcoming people and once you become friends with one person, then all of a sudden you're friends with 30 people,” said Sarah.
“The connections you gain in Young Farmers and the friendships you make with like-minded people, that's one of the most special things. Our Club is like a really big family. We share similar reasons why we get out of bed and do what we do in the agricultural sector.”
With regular catch-ups, there is a range of events for members to connect, hang out and give back. The Club gets together twice a month with meetings on the first Thursday and casual catch-ups usually on the third Friday. Plus there are frequent fundraiser opportunities to take up, and district and regional meetings to attend if you’d like to connect with the other clubs.
“You can see people from the Club easily every week if that's how involved you want to be. I think that strengthens those connections and friendships. And if you're a person who likes to spend time with others, that opportunity is there for you to take it and make the most of it” said Sarah.
The Marton Young Farmers executive team for 2022/2023
Country Hoedown with band Windsome Lost on 22 April
Two key things on the agenda this year are the Marton Young Farmers Country Hoedown on 22 April with live band Winsome Lost, and a Bark Up fundraiser early October, date to be confirmed.
“These are social events open to the public, whoever wants to come can come and have a good evening off farm catching up with friends,” said Sarah.
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