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PEC Junior Farmer to Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Show

PEC Junior Farmers’ member Danielle Teefy.

Story by Sharon Harrison
Photos provided by Danielle Teefy
With her bags packed, Danielle Teefy left Canada Saturday to embark upon a journey across the Atlantic ocean to a land far, far away. Travelling some 5,100 kilometres from the place she calls home in Kingston, she will land in Glasgow where she will spend the next three weeks touring Scotland.

The exchange program organized by the non-profit Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario (JFAO) allows students to learn about rural life in another country. Teefy is a member of the Prince Edward County Junior Farmers’ chapter and was awarded an exchange place in March conference.

Danielle Teefy’s backpack ready for her trip to Scotland.

“The Junior Farmers’ organization is a grass roots organization run by members for members,” said Teefy. “It’s for people ages 15 to 30 who are looking for opportunities to become involved in their community, including participation in community betterment, networking and social activities.”

“Arriving in Glasgow, my first host family will pick me up and I believe she has a sheep farm, so I’ll be staying with her at her sheep farm and honestly, I’m just going with the flow,” she said.

Teefy expects to tour and explore Scotland as part of the exchange, but the highlight of her stay, she notes, will undoubtedly be the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh (about one hour east of Glasgow) which she will be attending as part of her exchange experience.

The prestigious four-day event now in its 178th year showcases more than 1,000 exhibitors and hosts some 900 competitions. Teefy expects to spend all four days soaking up the sights and sounds and smells of Scotland’s annual farming show.

A member of the JFAO for seven years, Teefy grew up on a dairy farm in Sunderland, Ontario before moving to Kingston for work. Since the Kingston area didn’t have a Junior Farmer’s club, she joined the PEC chapter four years ago.

“Being a member of JFAO has provided me with a lot of opportunities. I have travelled around to what seems like every small town in Ontario, going to meetings, social events and I am made to feel welcome wherever I am – whether it’s joining up with the Prince Edward Junior Farmers’ or joining up with Junior Farmers’ across Ontario,” said Teefy.

“I’ve had opportunities to get on the board of directors for the past three years, I’ve been on committees to work with like-minded people and plan events toward the common goal. It’s just a great organization and there are so many opportunities for the members and we have a lot of fun,” she said.

Teefy decided to put her name forward for the exchange. “In the past, competition has been quite stiff, but our membership numbers are declining so the exchange program is underutilized,” she said.

The application process consisted of giving a presentation, attending an interview with a panel of three people, giving an impromptu speech as well as completing a trivia quiz on information on Junior Farmers’, with questions about Ontario and Canada.

JFAO gets together with similar organizations across the world and every year about seven delegates from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Australia, Austria and Germany come to Ontario and tour around, and some come to the County.

“In turn we are able to send delegates over to those countries to tour around and learn about agriculture and that sort of thing,” said Teefy. “It’s kind of a long standing tradition and its one of the many benefits Junior Farmers’ offers to its members.“

This year, there are six exchange students from across Ontario travelling to other countries. Teefy will be staying with members and their families while she is visiting Scotland.

Perth Junior Farmers’ member Amanda Brodhagen and PEC Junior Farmers’ member Danielle Teefy are both travelling to Scotland with JFAO’s exchange program.

“It’s just me and there’s another girl from Stratford, Ontario, Amanda Brodhagen, who is with the Perth Junior Farmers’. She’s travelling to Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, so I’ll be meeting up with her as she’ll be in Scotland at the same time as I am,” said Teefy. “There’s also going to be delegates from other parts of the world that are going to be in Scotland while I am there as well.”

This is Teefy’s first trip to Europe which she describes as the opportunity of a lifetime.

“My aunt went on the exchange back in the 80s and she still has contacts over there that she talks to on the ‘phone and sends a Christmas card to,” said Teefy. “After all this time, it’s still something that she looks back on and one of the highlights of her life.”

Teef said she’s excited.

“I’ve never been to Europe, so I am really looking forward to it. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for all the years since I’ve been a member and I’m just really thankful to have been chosen to go.”

For those looking for more information on the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario or wishing to join the local PEC Junior Farmers’ chapter, visit jfao.on.ca

 

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