BERKSHIRE – Early last Friday morning, the calves weren’t the only young ones out-and-about on Berkshire’s Pleasant Valley Farms.
Teams of children from Berkshire and Richford strutted around the farm’s calf barn, leading their team’s respective calf on an impromptu parade as they readied those calves for a show later that day.
“That’s what we build up to,” said Megan Terrell, an organizer of Pleasant Valley Farms’ annual dairy camp. “Every day they’ll come and walk and wash their calves… and today we’ll have the show and their parents will come and watch.”
Every year, Pleasant Valley Farms holds an annual dairy camp with the Northern Tier Center for Health (NOTCH)’s day camp program.
Participants learn about farm life first hand, according to Terrell, with tours around Pleasant Valley Farms and lessons on everything from different breeds and parts of a cow to learning how to show off their calves with a flamboyant calf show finale.
“A lot of them don’t get this experience and don’t necessarily know where their food comes from,” Terrell said. “It’s important for them to break that gap between farms and consumers.
“They get to learn how we raise our calves and why drinking and eating dairy products is important.”
According to Terrell, the farm’s dairy camp is only three years young.
Terrell has watched over the camp for two of those three years, and said that the number of participants – 20 this year – have doubled since her first year with the camp. More than a few of those campers were returners, she said.
“A lot of kids come here with no experience with calves and cows at all,” Terrell said. “We had some repeat kids from last year, because they were just so excited and wanted to do it again.”
That morning, kids bounded around the farm with calves in tow.
Cows were pet. Hugs were had.
Terrell and a handful of interns and volunteers from NOTCH watched as kids readied their calves for that afternoon’s show.
“The first day they come here, they’re a little shy,” Terrell said. “On the second day, though, they’re running over here and are ready to go.
“They just really enjoy the experience.”
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