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BCHC Mid Valley Unit

Future Farmers of America become Future Packers

By Bruce De Mott

January 6, 2009 at Orestimba High School in Newman, California, Dennis Serpa, Jeannette De Mott and I coached FFA students packing skills with the Mount Whitney Diamond Hitch. The skill is part of a State competition in a Natural Resources course. The competition requires presentations, plant identification, global positioning system (gps) waypoint latitude and longitude identification and animal packing. This is the second year of coaching for some of the kids. Some in particular have retained their skill and they all are becoming quite proficient in the packing practice.

How does 3 minutes flat for packing the equipment laying on the ground on the manny into the panniers; loading the animals; tucking the manny and throwing the diamond hitch sound? Can you do it? There are two teams. The slowest team performed the above operation in 3 1/2 minutes. On January 8th, Dennis, Lloyd Erlandson and I returned to the High School and went over general packing concepts including animal management.

The students and Lauren Stroud, the FFA advisor, are developing an actual pack trip this spring with the kids doing the planning, packing, campsite selection, food planning, etc. The trip is to be tailored to the kids experience and ability level with Mid Valley folks coaching them along.

We’ve often discussed, back and forth, involving youth in the art of packing to avoid the demise of the skill altogether. Well here it is. Involvement with youth is happening.

Many of the Orestimba kids competed in a 10-team competition in 2008 and 2009 at Modesto Junior College; Officer training at the Rumsey Mother Lode Ranch and Leave No Trace certification and State competition. We’re proud of you kids and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the trail.

[Ed. note: We have pictures of the students in action. They are a fine-looking bunch; good looking, well-groomed, and their jeans don't sag. But, until we can get permission from all of them and all of their parents, we aren't going to publish them.]

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