Friday, June 8, 2012

snow, snow, snow

I drove into Christchurch this morning to pick up Henny and Hills

as they dropped off our retracted sponsored utes.
It's been cold here.
-4 this morning at 7am but by 8am it was 6 degrees.
This cracked my windscreen.

New Zealand Young Farmers
is a not-for-profit
which is just a posh word for a charity.
We are reliant on funding from industry good groups
mostly levy paying organisations such as
DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ.
We also receive a lot of commercial sponsorship.

I've been with Young Farmers for two and a half years.
I love it.
Where else do you get to muck around creating crazy programmes
that will upskill young rural based people
in leadership and governance skills,
not to mention practical skills
and not to mention the 'brotherhood' of Young Farmers.
It's all about the shared experience.

In that time we have grown.
Boy have we grown.
Back in the day,
 Young Farmer membership was about 8,000.
Five years ago it was 400.
Today we have built it up to almost 2000.
That's a drop in the bucket of rural youth
but it's the cream of the crop.
People join Young Farmers firstly to network and be part of local social network.
Secondly, they catch the vision of education, careers and leadership pathways
which we create with the help from the ag industry players.
Then the members step up and take responsibility for their Club
and their career and education.

Here's the secret....
keep the hell out of Clubs
(unless they ask you to give them a hand).
The strength of Young Farmers comes from the
Young Farmers themselves.
As Network Manager my job is to put opportunities
in front of them and to encourage them to take them up.
It's not my job to do for them
or to organise everything for them.
When I started at Young Farmers,
I was told we work the members as though they were staff.
And we do.

In two years,
we've gone from six staff to 14.
This means we need a reliable supply of cash.
Somebody has got to pay us!

We have pretty creative salary packages.
Those of us who work most closely with members,
 building up the Clubs,
trying not to interfere with the drinking games,
get vehicles.

This year they are utes.

It's not quite the butterfly in South America fluttering and
causing a storm in Europe
but the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear incident
and the Thai floods
have meant there are not enough of these utes in New Zealand
and so our 'sponsors' broke the deal and
wanted their utes back.
Hmmmm how does a charity get by without transport?
How does it get things done when our members live in
out of the way rural places?
Have their meetings in pubs in random places?
Well we figure it out like we always do.
We pull together in our National Office 'club' and
create our own pathway to meeting our outcomes.
If it's going to be it's up to me was a mantra
I was taught by a wise man a long time ago
and that's what we will do.
Figure it out and succeed.

But if you happen to know a vehicle company that wants to increase
it's share of the New Zealand rural market,
please let us know.

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