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Posted on Jun 30, 2015

On Saturday July 4th, the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania will be holding a luncheon to celebrate and thank former State Administrator Judy McLean OAM, for her contributions to the Organisation over the last 33 years.

 Described by current Rural Youth State President Prue Dennis as “a true pillar of the organisation,” Judy McLean started her Rural Youth career from humble beginnings taking on a part time position with the organisation in 1982. Since then, Judy has been a strong and crucial figure to the organisations state-wide growth. Her role developed from State Secretary to becoming full time State Administrator in 1987. In this role she performed key tasks with the both the inception and development of AGFEST Field Days, from a one day event at Simmons Plains in 1983, to the now three day showcase event held year at the Quercus Rural Youth Park Carrick on land that was purchased by the organisation in 1986.

 She has nurtured and watched first hand as many young Rural Youth members have developed into key Tasmanian public figures across fields including Politics, Agriculture and Small Business. Their time holding committee positions across Rural Youth and Agfest paramount to improving leadership, business, budgeting and public relations skills.

 Former Agfest Chairman Wesley Hazell comments, “Judy has always taken a hands on approach, willing to pitch in and help members with Rural Youth and Agfest activities. Many times Judy spent with members in dark cold tents as we worked to get the Agfest site ready…Her ability to actively listen and also maintain a professional but caring and considerate manner in areas of rural support clearly illustrates her dedication to regional and rural people.”     

  Her dedication to the organisation was not just centred on the development of Agfest Field Days. Her involvement in the Rural Youth Study Tour Program provided the organisation with well-equipped and professional young travellers touring abroad each year and spreading a positive message about both Tasmania and Rural Youth across the world. This Study Tour Program now extends to over 12 countries across the world, as well as interstate leadership development activities.

 2012 Canadian Study Tour Winner, Dale Hayers comments on his dealings with Judy McLean in the lead up to his trip,

“Judy was always approachable and always had time for every member. Even if your question was completely silly, she would happily give you an informed answer, be it with a bit of a chuckle and with tongue in cheek … She had a great ability to make you use your initiative and to consider all options so you would make the most informed decision”

 For these efforts in 1992 Rural Youth Tasmania awarded Judy a Service Medal for her dedication to the organisation. Despite this honour, proper recognition came in 2012 when McLean was presented an Order of Australia for services to the youth of Tasmania and the broader Tasmanian community.

Carol Axton-Thompson of the Rural Youth Past Members Association comments on Judy’s time with Rural Youth, “It takes a special person to administer an organisation with such a vibrant group of young people, a deep appreciation for rural values and progressing the organisation through many changes. Visitors from overseas and interstate on exchange study tours were given their orientation by Judy and she also built up strong networks with rural businesses and sponsors.  Judy was often the first contact anyone had with the Organisation and her professionalism and caring nature shone through.”

  Judy often suggested that spending her time with young people kept her young and this was evident as recently as at Agfest 2014 when McLean spent her day in the site office wearing a tiger “onesie” because committee members suggested “it was a good idea”. What a way to keep up with the trends of the younger generation! This commitment to fashion was further evidenced by her constantly changing finger nail designs, a true fashion statement in their own right!

The whole of the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania, both current and past members, would like to extend the warmest of thanks to Judy and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours.  As stated by President Prue Dennis, “There are no words for the thanks that we all share for what she has done for our unique and special organisation.”

 Without her positive and committed approach to business and our volunteer members, the Rural Youth Organisation would not be where it is today-a market leader in the nurturing of Tasmania’s Youth.  

 

 FULL COMMENTS FROM THOSE IN RURAL YOUTH:

Wesley Hazell

Judy has always taken a hands on approach, willing to pitch in and help members with RY and Agfest activities.   Many times Judy spent with members in dark cold tents as we worked to get the Agfest site ready and shared meals with Mrs M to recharge batteries.  She has been present to celebrate and share in the bright times and given support to members during the harder times.  Her ability to actively listen and also maintain a professional but caring and considerate manner in areas of rural support clearly illustrates her dedication to regional and rural people.  Furthermore - it takes a dynamic person to work with so many committee members and leaders in an organisation.

 Judy took a little while to get used to who was who with the Turfrey triplets - but soon worked out if a trick was played with her!  

 She was able to organise and coordinate many State Presidents and Agfest committee leaders - including managing those that run late such as Wesley Hazell!!

 Judy has always been able to read my thoughts and moods like a book and was a great support to me when I was State President and Agfest chair which I will always treasure.

 Loves to look mighty fine - including the nails.  Always looks terrific at dress up functions. 

 Jim has always been there to help and support Judy and Rural Youth and that has never been unnoticed by myself and many others.

 

Carol Axton-Thompson

Life Member and State Convenor of RY Past Members Assn, Carol Axton-Thompson has had long association with Judy McLean, State Administrator of Rural Youth. Carol said " It takes a special person to administer an organisation with such a vibrant group of young people, a deep appreciation for rural values  and progressing the organisation through many changes.   Visitors from overseas and interstate on exchange study tours were given their orientation by Judy and she also built up strong networks with rural businesses and sponsors.  

 Judy was often the first contact anyone had with the Organisation and her professionalism and caring nature shone through. She was someone that each State President and Council could rely on and a link for past members. In 1992 she was given a "Service Award' from the Organisation and has also been acknowledged within the community as a service leader of note. Carol said that Judy often remarked that "young people and her job kept her young - what a fabulous job!"   Judy will continue to be involved through the Rural Youth Past Members Assn as their voluntary secretary.

 

Prue Dennis

In Judy’s time with the organisation, her contribution has been paramount to the ongoing strength, vision and functionality of the organisation. We are saying goodbye to a true pillar of the organisation but there are no words for the thanks that we all share for what she has done for our unique and special organisation.