A Cariboo teenager is the first person to pursue dual credits in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake.
Lauren Bedford, a Grade 12 student , is enrolled in the first year of the ranching program.
“When Gillian Watt got me in as a dual credit student I was just gung ho,” Lauren said. “It’s a two-year diploma program and I will be taking the whole two years.”
Born in Prince George, Lauren said her family moved to the Williams Lake area when she was 11 years old. Her family owns a 40-acre farm south of Williams Lake.
“We run a few calves and stuff like that,” Lauren said. “It’s the 134 Mile Ranch and we have an old historical barn.”
Students taking the ranching program live on ranches to gain hands-on experience and Lauren said she hopes to stay at ranches such as Chilco Ranch and Onward Ranch.
“My main focus will probably be on the cow side, but the whole course is well-rounded and educates you on every part of the industry. I love ranching.”
Lauren is also receiving financial help to attend the program as she is the latest recipient of the Cariboo GMC 4-H Bursary created by Brian Garland, owner and president of Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC.
During a reception held at the Laughing Loon Restaurant Friday, Feb. 8, Garland, along with B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham presented Lauren the award which totals $5,200.
“This is our third year giving out the award,” Garland said. “We are helping a young person, we are helping a university that is growing and growing and the city of Williams Lake. It just goes on and on.”
Garland said he appreciates the opportunity to be among young people who are enthusiastic about what they are doing.
During the cheque presentation, Minister Popham said she was honoured to attend the celebration.
“I am really grateful to be here because part of my mandate is to try and figure out how to support as many young people in agriculture as possible,” Popham said. “I hear all the time that young people don’t care about agriculture anymore and yet every time I travel through the Cariboo I meet incredible young people who do care.”
Garland was one of the original founders of TRU Grit, the Williams Lake campus fundraising group, and said the Cariboo GMC 4-H bursary covers the amount of tuition for a student in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program.
“Lauren was a perfect fit,” Garland said. “I hope she tells everyone next year to apply for it.”
Proud to promote TRU in Williams Lake, Garland said universities are great because they attract new people that add to the fabric of a community.
“It is so great we have a university in Williams Lake and we are going to make sure we don’t lose it,” Garland added. “A university can be successful without being in a big city.”