Are you an ag advocate? If so, you should know about Texas Brigades and its various educational summer camps and programs. These camps provide youth with hands-on experience and knowledge about land stewardship, conservation, leadership, and so much more. Our company was fortunate enough to have a former camper of the Ranch Brigade summer camp program, Paige Rodgers, share her experience with us.
Who is Paige Rodgers?
Paige Rodgers is a 17-year old student from Arlington, Texas, who has a passion for agriculture. She is currently a student at Martin High School and is a proud member of the Texas FFA and Heart of Arlington 4-H. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend TCC to get her basics and then further her education at Tarleton University and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Technology and a minor in Land Stewardship.
What Is Ranch Brigade?
Ranch Brigade is one of eight camp programs offered by Texas Brigades and is a 5-day and 4-night summer camp. It teaches students about land stewardship & management and how to care for livestock properly. Students are tasked with caring for the ranch and treating it like it is their own. Each day the campers wake up bright and early to be prepared to start their day at a brisk 5 am. They check on the animals and land throughout the day, ensuring that everything growing on the property is healthy and safe for the livestock. All students interested in attending the camp must be aged 13 to 17 years old and participate in an interview process where approximately 24 students are selected to attend.
Paige’s Camp Experience
Paige first heard about the Ranch Brigade Camp at her local 4-H county meeting and decided to apply. She was 1 of about 40 students who interviewed and was one of the few selected to attend the camp. She was extremely grateful for the learning opportunity and was excited to get hands-on experience. In addition to learning how to care for livestock and managing the land, students at the camp participated in group activities that taught them valuable life lessons. Paige learned a few lessons, including how to be a leader, differentiating between when to work alone or with a group, and what ranch life entails. One activity she found the most helpful was called “Ranch Chores,” where ranching activities were turned into timed-games. It allowed the students at the camp to form bonds with one another while learning valuable information.
Paige’s Biggest Takeaways & Memories
The camp had a lot of great information, but for Paige, the biggest takeaway was what she needs to look for when taking care of a ranch and how to run an operation. In the future, Paige hopes to own her own ranch. The knowledge and first-hand experience she has gained at Ranch Brigade Camp will come in handy when pursuing her dream of owning her own operation. In addition to learning, Paige made many great memories and friendships throughout her week at camp. When asked what Paige’s favorite memory was, she said it was getting to know all the people at camp. The students who attended were from across various parts of Texas, and without this camp, Paige may have never got the opportunity to meet them and learn their stances on land management. Paige befriended her 3 bunkmates and enjoys looking back on their time together. The four of them formed a group called the Insanity Club, where they would stay up late and ask each other random questions from throughout the day and laugh because they were so exhausted. Paige still keeps in contact with her fellow bunkmates and is happy to have met them!
The Most Challenging & Rewarding Parts of Camp
The most challenging part of the camp for Paige was the long days. Each morning she would wake up at 4:30 am to be ready to go downstairs and start her morning at 5 am. Most nights, she didn’t finish working until late and would not be able to go to bed until after midnight. Even though they were long days and it required labor-intensive activities, Paige would not trade the experience for the world. She believed that the most rewarding part of the camp was “that some of the most amazing experiences can come from a long day of work,” and she learned that “we have to work for the fun that we earn.”
Who Should Attend This Camp?
Paige recommends that anyone between 8th and 12th grade apply for the Ranch Brigade Summer Camp. She believes that even non-ag students could benefit from the program because we are the next generation of land stewards. Students who plan to own their own ranches in the future, like Paige, will benefit from the program. It will teach the future ranchers how to maintain their property and improve the land to be healthy and well-kept.
The Cattle Health Flyer
As part of the summer camp, participants were tasked with writing about something that grasps their attention. Paige chose to do her flyer over the cattle aspect of the program, focusing on cattle vaccinations. She chose this topic because she shows cattle and loves her animals like her own child. She hoped that her flyer would provide useful information to students interested in becoming vets and anyone else interested in cattle health. Below is a copy of the flyer Paige created that provides information on Texas Brigades and cattle vaccinations.
Paige had a lot of great information to share about her experience with the Ranch Brigade summer camp. We are happy that she reached out to us to share her story. If you are interested in applying and hope to attend one of the Texas Brigades camps in the future, don’t hesitate to fill out an application.