DARKE COUNTY — A new organization for young tractor and steam engine enthusiasts is now open for business.
The Darke County Steam Threshers Association (www.darkecountysteam.com) has announced the formation of a “Youth League.” The purpose of the Youth League is to further involve youngsters in the group’s activities, educate them on antique agricultural equipment, and groom them for future leadership positions within the organization.
“The idea is that everyone will know how things work when they transfer to adult membership,” said Joey Yost, secretary for the Steam Threshers. “We also want to get them involved and excited about the past and how it affects our future.”
The group held its first meeting March 6, with 13 youth in attendance. Officers were elected, including Shannon Yost as president, Troy Stuck as vice president, Brandon McFaddin as secretary and Noah Marsh as treasurer.
Yost said the group will closely mirror the structure of the adult organization.
“They’ll do the same things the adult officers do,” she said. “And they’ll work hand-in-hand with their adult counterparts.”
Steam Threshers Vice President Jo Stuck said the formation of the Youth League was a result of a brainstorming session among trustees.
“Why are we not tapping into this resource in the community, we asked ourselves,” she said. “There’s not a lot of places like this that include kids.”
Both Yost and Stuck noted that many of the young people who attend Steam Threshers functions have already shown an enthusiasm for the organization and a commitment to being helpful.
“Our teens do anything they’re asked to do. They take pride in doing it,” said Yost.
Stuck added, “They already participate in our work days, and helping with set up, clean up at our show.”
In addition to aiding the adults in the group, Youth League members will benefit from organized programs geared especially for them, including an end-of-year activity.
“We may go to a museum or something like that which relates to the past,” said Yost. “We will give them a choice of three or four things to do, then have a vote.”
Steam Threshers is also planning to set up a designated display area for Youth League members during its annual reunion held at York Woods, north of Greenville, from June 30 to July 3.
“Whatever they do, if they want to display it, we will have a place just for them,” said Yost.
The adult group will present two special awards to Youth League members at the show — a “Rising Ember” award for younger members, and a “Harvest Award” for older youth members — each based on that young person’s contributions to the group during the year.
The two officers say the young members will be closely supervised by adult trustees in all association activities.
Membership is open to anyone 18 years of age or younger. The cost to participate is $1 per month or $12 per year — money which will help fund the group’s end-of-year activity. The Youth League’s next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 10 at York Woods.