BVBeeks Youth Scholarship Program
Developing future generations of beekeepers was a primary goal of the BVBeeks from the very first organizational meeting (before we even became an "official" club). A major part of resources, effort, and education is dedicated by the association to help get youth involved and committed to the hobby of beekeeping. The club uses its network and resources to reach out to new beekeeping families that will learn about beekeeping and become actively involved in maintaining and learning about bee colonies.
This is a 2 year program that is basically broken down into 3 steps:
- August through July is a series of monthly classroom sessions & field trips designed to give the apprentices a solid foundation and understanding into the art of beekeeping. During this phase each student will receive a book on beginning beekeeping and use of protective beekeeping clothing as needed.
The proposed Schedule of Classes is available (although subject to change)
- Approximately sometime in April the participants who have completed Phase 1 will be awarded their own complete beehive. They will be assigned a mentor who will guide them through the process of becoming a beekeeper, helping them manage their new hive through the first "bee year" (April - March of the following year).
- At the beginning of the 2nd year, the first set of students will be expected to begin to participate in the parent club activities - including giving a presentation on their hive and what they have learned over the past year. They are also expected to act as a mentor to the next year's class of students. In approximately April of their 2nd year, the students will be awarded a 2nd beehive setup and "split" their first hive - giving them 2 functioning hives. Second year students will also be given the opportunity to take the Apprentice Master Beekeeper exam (a state-wide certification).
- We now have a Youth Committee of club members who help manage the details of the program. You may contact any of them, or any of the club Board Members, if you have any questions about the youth program.
The scholarship is for youth between the ages of 13 and 17 who are residents of the "Brazos Valley area". The primary focus of this scholarship to involve families that are either not involved in beekeeping, or are new to beekeeping.
Expected commitment from program participants (and their parents)
As was stated above, the BVBeeks organization is willing to devote significant time and resources to help youth become beekeepers. In order for us to commit these resources, we do have some expectations of a commitment from the scholarship recipients (and their parents).
- The student should be the one that have a genuine interest in beekeeping. We don't want kids who are being pushed into the program by their parents...
- Join the Brazos Valley Beekeepers Association. This costs $25/year per family, but if you join after July 1, you can pay $37.50 and be covered for both the current year as well as next year.
- As with other types of Ag Programs, there are some costs associated with the program. We do require a $50 initiation fee and that the family pay for the bee suit for the youth (we do recommend a specific suit that is available from a major bee supply vendor at a greatly reduced cost). The club gets donations from various bee supply companies that can cover many of these costs, but the participants should expect to cover at least some of these costs themselves.
- The classroom sessions will be held once a month, on the same date as the parent club meetings (3rd Tuesday of the month, at 6:00pm). We will do our best to make these classroom sessions interesting and engaging. The students are expected to make at least 75% of the classroom sessions.
- The field trips are usually scheduled for a Saturday when both the weather and bees are cooperating. We may occasionally split up field trips into smaller groups on multiple days, including during the middle of the week. While we do expect the students to attend these field trips, we can make allowances for students who can get "field time" experience from other beekeepers/mentors.
- Participate in the BVBeeks "fall beekeeping school", scheduled for Saturday, Sept 9, 2023. This school is the major fundraiser supporting the youth program, and as such, participation & attendance of the youth participants is required.
While the parents are not required to attend these, they are strongly encouraged to do so.
Interested students (and their parents) should fill out the new online Application Form. The form needs to be filled out and submitted no later than August 1. For any questions regarding the youth program, please email your questions to: YouthDirector@bvbeeks.org
Finally, graduating seniors may become eligible for a cash scholarship award. The award will be determined by the BVBeeks Board of Directors each year, both in determining the amount of the amount as well as the recipients. In order to receive the cash scholarship, participants will need to:
- Fill out the Scholarship Application in the fall of their senior year
- Have completed both years of the program
- Still be an active beekeeper
- Write an essay outlining their experiences in the youth program, what they have learned, their planned future in beekeeping, etc.
- Present that essay to the club during one of the club meetings (10-15 minutes).
Adult Mentors of Youth Program
If you are interested in serving as an Adult Mentor, you should read the "Responsibilities of being an Adult Mentor in the BVBeeks Youth Program" document.