Feb. 3 2017 07:52 AM

Going to far-off lands isn’t the only way to get away.

The everyday hustle and bustle of our lives often cries for time away . . . a vacation on a sunny beach, cool beverages, and the tranquility that a nonstress environment can provide.

However, not everyone has the time and resources to take trips as often as they feel overwhelmed.

Recently, I became a member of Lions Club International, commonly known as the Lions Club. I am not the typical member. There are only a handful of ladies in our local group, and I’m also one of the younger members. There are no active farmers among my fellow Lions, so it’s a different crowd than I typically run with . . .

And I love it!

There’s no complaining about milk prices, labor shortages, and beef cycles. It’s like I am free from the economic depression that dairying brings on a daily basis to producers, and to those like me with dairy farm family ties. We may not be on the front lines, but we feel their struggles and we feel for them.

Speakers at our meetings share insight into the community activities, many of which I was not even aware of sheltered in my ag circle. Community servants share updates, and Lions Club International educates members on their community outreach. The focus is on helping others, even in just small ways, to make the world a better place.

How often have you attended a dairy meeting, where the focus was on making things better without focusing on how bad things are?

So, while I may not take a vacation to a foreign location, twice a month I take an emotional vacation for two hours. I enjoy a hot meal and set aside “all the stuff” that burdens me and enjoy conversing with people who find my background so different from theirs.

Do I tell them about agriculture?

You bet!

But, agvocating is not my purpose. It’s merely a (positive) side effect. Some members were raised on farms or had relatives who worked in allied industry, but none are living and breathing it anymore. Things have changed greatly since their younger days. The ag world that I share with them, as a younger female, is very different from what they experienced a generation ago. In this environment, I actually get recharged to return to my dairy world the next day, upbeat and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Patti Hurtgen

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.