The Spirit of Wales YFC


 
This is something I had been working on with Wales YFC lately, the brief was for me to produce 12 images that represent  the sprit of Wales YFC. 
Those of us that are part of the YFC circle, we have all seen the photographs of members standing stiffly looking directly
at the camera slightly awkwardly holding 1st prize certificate for stock judging or a singing solo. With these series of images I wanted to show
something more meaningful because for me, it’s not all about the competition. Don’t get me wrong, I love a YFC competition and I’m
usually  one of the first to get involved, but I feel that YFC have got a lot more to offer than rosettes.

Take Meinir and Gwawr from Carmarthenshire for our first example…

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Both of them are active members of the organisation, last week I was lucky enough to join them at work at a Dairy event at Carmarthen
show ground where they were putting together a feature for the S4C popular agricultural program Ffermio. The sun was out as Meinir worked 
her magic in front of the camera presenting the feature taking directions from Gwawr the producer. It’s clear from the photographs that
they work perfectly as a team, this is reflected on the small screen also. 
 

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As I got to know them, both Gwawr and Meinir expressed to me that YFC has helped them on their journey to this point their career.  
One of the biggest factors is being confident, it takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a camera and speak naturally, without mentioning
remembering all the lines in the script and at the same time giving the audience an entertaining and comfortable  TV experience.
Not everyone could prepare a well written script in advanced, knowing the ins and outs of every detail, ensuring that the show runs 
smoothly providing topical features and facts.
Well, this is what these two members do and they thank YFC for being a part of their development.

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An important aspect of YFC in giving back to the community, after all Young Farmers would not exist in Wales today 
after 75 years moving from strength to strength without the help of the community in the first place. I visited Llawhaden YFC
in Pembrokeshire as they volunteered in their local village hall helping out with the catering
for a charity lunch.  

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As they gave up their Wednesday to give back to the community that has supported them through out the years, Llawhaden YFC’s
logo takes it’s place proudly on the wall above the stage that the club has performed on countless times I’m sure.
To me, this shows the importance of YFC to village halls as well as the importance of village halls to YFC.
I can’t think of a single club in Wales that does not use their local hall or community centre to hold meetings or to practice 
for upcoming events. It’s tradition for clubs also to hold concerts at their local hall after big 
events such as the Eisteddfod or the Pantomime festival, inviting the locals in for a evening of entertainment. 

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The photo below is my favourite one from the brief  time I spent in Llawhaden, as the members served up the hot food they had been so busy 
preparing, they interacted with the locals and had a chat with about this and that. It’s little moments like this
that go a very long way. It might not be a spectacular big YFC song and dance, but it shows that
after 75 years with all it’s success, members still have their feet on the ground and are willing 
to give back to fleets of people that have helped them on their journey. 

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I know I said that YFC is so much more than simply competitions, but there is no denying that they do
give us a good boost when we take part. This is a great example of how a YFC competition has helped Brecknock member,
Trystan Davies with his career. 

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Here he is fencing with is older brother Ceri. Since he first competed in the YFC fencing competition as
a junior member with Ceri, Trystan has gone from strength to strength when it comes to fencing. After the team’s success
at county level, they went on to become champions through Wales and they came up on top representing Wales at National
on more than one occasion. 
 

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From this, he has gained the skills, knowledge and understanding of fencing and is now contracting full time, traveling 
around the country fencing. Who would of thought that simply taking part in a YFC event could be the beginning
of something so much bigger and help Trystan on this career path.  

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Poor Ceri picking up the staples from the ground after the bucket went flying.

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Some of you may remember my photograph of sheep in the shape of a heart I launched 
back in February. This was all in aid of Gwenno’s 12 peak challenge where she climbed the highest mountain in every county in Wales
to raise money for British Heart Foundation Cymru. I joined Gwenno on the last leg of her challenge in her home county, leaving the best until last-
Snowdon. Here are some of the members that took part on that misty September day.
 

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Members of Montgomeryshire YFC at the summit – Caryl Hughes, Sarah Thomas, Carys Mair (me) and Teleri Evans.
 
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Here is Gwenno at the top of the Snowdon reflecting on her year as Wales YFC Chairman. The challenge that 
she chose to do was far from easy but here she is 12 months after proposing the idea having completed
her 12 peak challenge. Congratulations to everyone who took part. Llongyferchiadau Gwenno, chawreteg i ti. 
 

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I know this has nothing to do with YFC but it is defiantly worth a mention on my blog. On the same day as YFC members 
climbed Snowdon, we saw a group of incredibly brave people carrying a man in a wheelchair 1,085m to
the peak on Snowdon all in aid of Children in Need. A huge congratulations
to all involved, what an inspiration to us all!

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Back to YFC, this year Wales YFC launched the Llyndy scholarship in association with the National Trust. Caryl Hughes,
member of Dyffryn Tanat YFC, Montgomeryshire, won the keys to Llyndy farm in Snowdonia for 12 months. 
This is the first of it’s kind, creating an exciting once in a lifetime opportunity for YFC members.
 

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The scholarship has sparked a lot of interest across the nation, including the BBC. I was lucky enough to join Caryl as she was
being filmed for a feature on Countryfile . Tune in Sunday the 6th of October.

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As reflected in some of these photographs, hill farming is not a easy task, especially with the unforgiving
landscape exposing harsh weather conditions (note the rain of the Welsh Summer).
We all wish her the very best for the year ahead.

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