Have you ever wished there was a summer camp for cow kids? Well, guess what. There is!
This "cow camp" is known as the Southeast Dairy Youth Retreat (SEDYR). SEDYR is a week long retreat held in several states across the southeast. SEDYR kids, ages 8-18, get the opportunity to learn all about the dairy industry through workshops, tours, and fun hands-on activities.
The location of the retreat is rotated across the southeast every year. This summer, the retreat was held in beautiful Orange, Virginia. Over 100 youth attended the retreat, with 17 of them from Georgia.
After a long day of traveling on the first day, everyone got to know each other better by playing fun mixer games. On the second day, there was a tour of the beautiful Battlefield Greenhouses where the kids learned all about how they grow and care for their plants. They grew a wide variety of different flowers, but during SEDYR they were mainly focused on growing mums for the fall. There was also a tour of President James Madison's exquisite and history-rich house, Montpelier. The youth were also very excited to tour Marshalls Dairy Farm as well, where they got to see how a robotic milking system works.
On the second day, the youth toured Cool Lawn Dairy and the agri-tourism farm, Cows-N-Corn. Cool Lawn Dairy is an impressive Holstein herd operation that taught a variety of different workshops about everything from their calf and heifer management, to their feed rations, to how their freestall barn is set up.With more and more interaction happening on the internet these days, it has become increasingly important for agriculture to promote itself online. Cows-N-Corn recognizes this development and taught very helpful workshops on how to promote agriculture and answer the public's questions properly. For lunch, the participates ate sandwiches and delicious ice cream at Moo Thru, which is actually owned and operated by Cool Lawn Dairy. Cool Lawn Dairy is very proud to have Moo Thru recently recognized as the best ice cream in Virginia! That night, there was also a cookout dinner and a fun barn dance.
Thank you so much to Marshalls Dairy Farm, Cool Lawn Dairy, and Cows-N-Corn for allowing our dairy youth to tour and learn about your farms! A big thank you also to all of SEDYR's sponsors, hosts, and volunteers.
On the third day, the kids blew off some steam and had a blast at the Kings Dominion amusement park! There were roller coasters galore, games, and a fun water park to cool off at. What more could a kid want? On the last day, everyone said goodbye and traveled back home.
SEYDR is all about having fun, making new friends, and new memories, but it is also very educational. Youth had many opportunities to learn at this summer's retreat. They learned about dairy nutrition, herd and calf management, robotic milking, how to properly educate and promote the dairy industry and much more! If you know someone who would be interested in going on the SEDYR, GDYF highly encourages that they sign up for it next summer!