The Royal Queensland Show, also known as the EKKA, is a sensational exhibition of agricultural excellence in our sister state to the north, with 2016 being no exception. Queensland is also the only other state to host next generation groups for both the respective country shows association and the royal shows association. Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies (QCAS) Next Generation mirror our ASC of NSW Next Generation, whilst the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association (RNA) Future Directions Committee fulfil the same role as the RAS of NSW Youth Group.
Travelling up to Brisbane, representatives of ASC of NSW Next Generation spent time with both youth representative committees, as well as networking with executives and exhibitors and exploring all aspects of the show. Hannah Barber, Stephanie Davies, Natalie Hoskins and Caitlin Flint met up with Grace Eppelstun in Brisbane and spent a very busy weekend representing ASC Next Gen. Grace had already had a great week fulfilling her role as the 2016 Land Sydney Royal Showgirl, joining the QLD State Finalists as a mentor and friend and representing NSW to her usual exceptional standard.
The ladies kicked off the weekend with the RNA FDC EKKA ball on Friday night, meeting friends from QLD, SA, NSW and New Zealand. The evening was absolutely gorgeous and was a credit to FDC, showing the stature of young agricultural professionals that are involved in the show movement across the states. Naturally Saturday started a little steadier as the group headed over to the showgrounds. A huge day was spent visiting stands, watching competitions, eating gnocchi, catching up with QCAS Next Gen & NZ Young Farmers members and soaking in the atmosphere. The day was capped off with Hannah & Grace joining with QCAS Next Gen members Jack Murphy and Brad Smith to form the Next Generation team in the state finals of the QLD Young Farmers Challenge. The team was pumped and keen for victory, and worked seamlessly to finish second in their heat. Unfortunately they missed out on a place in the final by 9 seconds, securing a very respectable 4th overall.
Saturday evening was another great event, attending the Marsh Rural Ambassador awards dinner where a lot
of QCAS Next Gen members had worked tirelessly to pull the whole competition together. The QLD Rural Ambassador is the equivalent of the NSW Rural Achiever program, where a representative is chosen to compete for the National Rural Ambassador title. Similar to the Showgirl competition, candidates were asked questions for the room to get to know them whilst the judges used their responses to assist them to finalise their decisions. The calibre of representatives from across the sub-chambers was incredibly high, with insightful and clever responses given.
Sunday was jam-packed with meetings before flights departed for home. ASC Next-Gen were invited to participate in a QCAS Next Gen strategic planning round table and great discourse between the groups was had. QCAS NG are a very strong and dedicated group who are doing great things across the entire state for young people in country shows. Next Gen groups are forever growing and adapting, and a strong relationship between our equivalents in each state is important and incredibly beneficial. The meeting inspired a lot of thought, and a lot of pride in both of our groups. Each of our ASC NG representatives offered great insight into our group and their individual work and were a credit to the organisation. Next up was a QCAS General Meeting where the big wigs did the talking and we got to listen and learn. Finally we all huddled in a corner to go over what we had learnt and make a plan moving forward based on this. Minds where whirring with new information and ideas, some of which you will see put into action very soon.
ASC of NSW Next Generation wish to offer their sincere congratulations to 2016 Queensland Country Life Miss Showgirl Winner Kaitlyn Schultz and 2016 March Rural Ambassador Winner Justin Matthews.