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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    52

    Post

    I'm 41. I'm not the youngest member of my club, but I am pretty close. I'm also one of the newest.

    I've heard from other beekeepers say that thier local clubs and assocations were a little on the gray side too.

    I think we need to work to get younger people involved, so I'm wondering what others have done. Have any of you done anything unique to get some young blood involved?

    It would be a shame if we as beekeepers -- especially the hobbyists -- didn't replace ourselves. What ideas do you have?

    Here is another thought -- what got you into beekeeping? If we could replicate that experience for the younger generation, we could lure them to the hobby.

    I can't imagine a kid who is involved with bees growing up to be anything but a lover of our natural world. If we can get to kids early, maybe we can help them become good custodians of our world... and of our hobby.

    Anyway, just looking for a little inspiration. Who has had success luring youth to beekeeping, and how did you do it?!?

    Thanks.

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    BC Canada
    Posts
    105

    Post

    Sorry- no inspiration from here. I started up this year (at 26) and I know of NOBODY who keeps bees. A few old farmers here kept bees until the mites hit and they quit. I learn from books and this message board. No neighbours to ask questions.
    Also interested in farming- even just veggie gardening and self sufficiency etc- nobody my age has any interest. I've planted a small orchard, got the eggs happening, eating my own veggies. Movies, clubs, 4x4 trucks, that's about all the younguns around here get up to.
    I had a friend living here last summer from Europe who was surprised to see the young people here that have haven't learned/lost interest in these important life skills. Her friends back home were starting small farms raising sheep for meat/cheese, veggies for farmers markets, etc. I don't know what percentage of kids over there are that keen but at here it just plain doesn't happen. She was from Belgium.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Post

    Top o' the mornin' Matt!

    Welcome YOUNG sir! I just started this year also. I'm just turned 47 and am also close to the younger side. Fortunately my three younger children 11, 10 and 8 are interested and help me with all aspects, including painting (when the digital camera arrives I'll be able to post their handiwork), feed, inspections, measuring cell sizes and the dirty as well as the clean side of it. Their reward? They think it's neat and they are doing something no one else in their classes (that I know of) are doing. When they discuss with each other what they have done or talked with me about or the pics and plans we've seen here and at other posts their friends are always amazed and have to come see the 'crazy bee family'.
    The other reward (I think they like better) is the finger dab of trumpet creeper honey they get to taste. There is also a friend of my son (17 yoa) that has been interested also and showed up for my last check. I was able to show him the current queen all stages of brood, drone cells and an uncapped queen supercedure with a big ole fat queen larvae inside as well as what varroa looks like. He was truely amazed that I was in full armour and they were leaving him alone. I told him the girls were hacked off at the fat ole crippled married with children peice of trash that had invaded their home and not him, but if he felt something bump into him beat a steady easy retreat into the house. He seemed to really appreciate it, since he usually keeps his emotions pretty much in-check. I answered all his questions the best I could and never talked down to him or my own brood about this hobby.
    It's kind of like how my wife and I have introduced my children to gun safety and the responsible and proper care and feeding of a firearm. I hope this answers your question.
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    439

    Post

    The information presented below may not work since it appears there is not a current Beekeeping Merit Badge. It may have gone the way of the Signaling Merit Badge that was dropped a couple of years ago. I think this is short sighted on the part of the BSA. My copy is the 1983 revision of the 1988 printing. If this is the case, beekeepers should find out why Beekeeping has been dropped.

    Here is an opportunity to infect young folks with bee fever.


    Every state has Boy Scout Troops. The states are divided into Councils. The Councils are divided into Districts. The Districts are divided into Troops.
    Every month the districts hold a roundtable where plans are discussed for activities with the troop leaders.
    Individual scouts are always looking for chances to earn merit badges. Merit badge councilors are folks like us who have expertise in a skill the boys are interested in learning.
    My suggestion would be to make arrangements to meet with the District and Troop leaders at a roundtable. Get on the agenda by contacting the District Executive or the District Chairman through the Council Office.
    Organize a class just like you would for beginning beekeepers, only make sure the Boy Scout Merit Badge Pamphlet on Beekeeping has been consulted to be sure the requirements are included in the training. These pamphlets are available from the Council Office or from some retailers. Penny’s used to be a source. The requirements are available on the internet, I’m not sure now. While at the Council Office, you can also fill out the form for becoming a councilor. This way you can sign off the scout’s blue card as requirements are met.
    I’ve never done this with beekeeping, but I have with Radio, Electronics, Signaling and Electricity.
    Jon, N6VC/5

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,802

    Post

    At 45 I'm one of the younger ones in our two local bee clubs, and the greying of the clubs is a concern. Every few years one of my clubs has run a bee school which generaly attracts 24-40 participants. We haven't done as good a job retaining all these people as club members. Most of the old timers don't have the energy to put on a school this year, so it may fall to my generation to do it.

    FWIW my 12 year old daughter is my "assistant bee keeper" and has her own purple hive. She's in to the romantic idea of bees and not necessarily all the work - but I did manage to get her to put together about 30 deep frames when camp was over for the summer.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Post

    Hi all. There is much to be said about getting the younger generations involved, or at least interested, in bee-keeping. As one who is pushing into the 70s and into bee keeping only for two years, my fascination must bee oozing from my pores. There are kids playing base ball in the neighbors's yards and sometime the balls land near the hives. Luckily our neighbors are all in favor of us having bees and we return the abandoned balls to their lots when we find them. Most important was the day when the kids saw me and came to ask about the bees. I explained to them that they are not aggressive and just wanted to do what Mother Nature created them for. I also explained their social structure, why they collect nectar and make honey, showed them some of the frames and let them taste some of their product. The oohs and aahs gave me satisfied goosebumps. The moral in this experience is that we should at least explain this part of nature and settle old misconceptions about the nature of bees. Many individuals don't know the difference between bees, wasps, hornets etc. Maybe we can work on that some and there will be more interest.
    Take care and have fun

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Post

    I'm a 35-y-o hobbyist, first year but have waited for years to not be a renter to get started. Most of the more mature folks in our club got into it agriculturally (professionally), and most of the young pups like me were compelled by the bees themselves (I'm personally a find-spirituality-in-your-yard-and-home guy and the bees are now among my instructors [img]smile.gif[/img] ). I first got interested from an OH at the local Nature Center as the 12 year-old boy who loved bugs... do they still make kids like that or are they all burgeoning web designers and attorneys?

    Some of the folks I know got interested through meadmaking... homebrewing's popularity is still growing, and largely with the 25 to 40 male demographic. Mead also is experiencing a serious renaissance right now; the intgernational mead festival more than doubles in size each year. These folks (and note that I worked in a homebrewing shop in homebrew central, the People's Republic of Boulder, CO) are into DIY, local food, and "traditional" crafts/trades though rarely as a sole source of income.

    The Scouting idea is a great one, though scouting has been declining for some time unfortunately, I think crowded out by Gameboy and television (grrrr). I'm also a member of the Lions Club, a service organization, and I'm younger then the next youngest guy by 25 years. I worry that younger people aren't attracted to these organizations/activities anymore, and it's a great idea to brainstorm about why and how to address it!

    "C'mon, kids, I'm not dorky, really! Beekeeping is cool!"

    Keep ideas coming, I think this is important. We're adding a million diabetics a year, many of them obese children, and any fun, outdoor activity I think can't be a bad thing.

    Sorry for the rant.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    52

    Post

    Brewcat, you hit the nail on the head. There are actually lots of kids with Carpel-Tunnells syndrome from too much time of the computer, but I'm afraid hot, sweaty work where you run a good chance of getting stung doesn't compare to sitting on your butt in an air-conditioned bedroom, playing computer games.

    I'd love to figure out a way to get kids interested. I have a 3 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. The girl is still a little young, but my son loves helping me in the beeyard. However, he has yet to hear the siren song of Nintendo...

    Next year, I'm going to start an observation hive. I'll foist myself on my kids schools, and give little talks. Maybe that will help.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Oceano, California, USA
    Posts
    467

    Post

    You guys may want to pay your kids for their work with the bees. Just food for thought, but we've never given our kids an allowance, but for instance when they help me with the bees they get 10 bucks from my bee account. Most has to stay in their bank, but they can draw on it for special occasions or something they want. They're quite happy to help under those circumstances. Going out on swarm calls is also a good idea, provided you take precautions for their safety. The younger kids think the outing is fun, and enjoy the attention from the onlookers. There are of course many other ways of doing it, but for some it may work well like it does for us.

    Some kids will continue on, the great majority wont. But it's always been that way; beekeepers have really never been numerous, so I'm frankly not at all worried about the hobby disappearing. Things will go on as always. But the opportunity to expose your kids to everything associated with beekeeping is something very precious and valuable. The lessons learned wont be lost even if they never see another beehive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Posts
    342

    Post

    Geez, I'm 50 and I thought I WAS the younger generation! My eighty-something dad just passed the equipment and hobby on to me. Oh, well, guess I have to become a grownup sometime.....!!!!

    Don't forget fellow geezers, we're expected to live a lot longer than our parents will so there's SOME time left.
    Buy locally, buy only humanely raised animals, eat in season, keep bees!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of "generation" Isn't a new generation born every minute? Was the generation of the 1050's CE more fascinated bt bees then then the generation of today. Folks is folks. If people have the space time and money, some of them will take up beekeeping, others carpentry. Beekeeping is not dying or even sick. The only recent changes that I can think of are semi's loaded with bee colonies and sugar made from corn rather than cane. Maybe its just where I'm located but I have 2-3 new people a week asking me how I got into beekeeping (and most would try it themselves except for logistical issues).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,802

    Post

    Tim - I did pay my daughter for assembling the frames, but I don't want her working with the bees to be just for the money. My son (age 14) often pitches in just to do something with me. I pay him too as appropriate. He does not want a hive of his own though he knows the offer is there whenever he wants to take it up. One of his close female friends' father keeps bees and she helps her dad regularly.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    Like anything in agriculture the future is this:

    As prices tumble for the commodity, you either get much bigger, get smaller (organic or farmers market), or go away............

    That is the sad reality here in the midwest, farmers are either 5,000 acres plus, or corperate (Cargill).

    Almost to a man, every large farmer I work doors for has children that will not carry on. When asked I hear.... "Are you crazy! Mine are at college, I want a good life for them."

    These are not "poor" farmers, but rather ones that are farming 5,000 to 20,000 acres, have huge homes, drive top flight vehilces, etc.

    Not to be alarming, but there is something wrong with that system.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    So Bruce, from what we've seen you do this year your answer is to get BIG. Looks like your actions match your preachin'. How many hives will be enough to make it?

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    LOL....... I will what I consider small with a differance. 400 to 500 colonies is my limit and that will be in 3 to 4 years if all goes well.

    All on small cell and to date no chemicals.

    How many will be enough to make it??? My figures show about 200 will make a living I can deal with. My needs aren't much.

    Smaller commercial guys here are like what I intend. Most are mediun to large at 2,000 to 6,000. And some more.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Thanks a lot, sir. I'm dreamin' here but it's a good dream. And Lord knows I need it about now.

    I could do 200 hives. Need lots of help for 500. I can't imagine 2,000. So now I'll sit down and do some figuring on 200 and then move up from there. I appreciate the help.

    I have a unique opportunity to start over at 55 yrs. And I'm gonna do it with some forethought this time.

    Thanks again,

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    We're kinda in the same situation. I am a recent 50 years old.

    I am figuring in pollination Hawk with a goal of owning my own 48' flatbed and tractor.

    Pollination is not easy, I feel I will have an advantage with small cell plus being there to tend the bees while in California or Michigan for blueberries or apples.

    I have picked up equipment as I go and rehabed it.

    I'll shut up,...... as you know I am no slouch at babbling.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    A man who has a lot to say, Still might teach the rest of us. From what I heard this past Spring, the dangers in pollination are theft, varroa, and poisoning. Other than that it's just plain hard work. I seriously thought about Cal. and rejected it for those reasons.

    Other than the Cal Almond crop we'd have normal break in problems anywhere else. Breaking into the business. But I can still dream. I'm gonna dream all winter and restart in spring with all the changes I've figured now.

    Best of luck with YOUR dream.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Post

    Hi Ben and Jon,

    Yep scouting was how I was introduced to beekeeping . It was a Life Scout that showed me a Cub Scout working on my Lion badge. Maybe the BSA will see the differance between social and non-social insects and make an additional badge to bring back beekeeping (fat chance). I'm still involved with BSA and GSA as I can.

    Gameboy and the tube are some of the worst enemies for the outdoors and real life. Fortunately we have help and have rating and time limit locks on our sets. It helps. The other thing is what a lot of us already do, spend the time with our munchkins. I have to watch how much I talk because I'll turn 'em off in a heartbeat from my yakking. David

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    S.E. Oklahoma
    Posts
    337

    Post

    Perhaps I'm just an optimist. I don't see a problem with the future of beekeeping. I see several posts that mirror my experience. Just turned 42 and a first year beek. No past experience with either immediate or extended family in beek. But since I started I have been SHOCKED at the response from siblings, cousins, uncles who all say "neat...man I've always wanted to do that". Who's to actually say how many of us there are out there? My children have very little interest in the girls right now, but who's to say when they start their family they won't jump in simply from the nostalgia of childhood memories cranking the extractor. I too remember the time when every 40acre farmsite had a hive or three sitting under a tree in the pasture. Now days a lot of those same hives are sitting in town hidden from view by a privacy fence.

    David

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