Summer Calf Club, Who is Learning More?

July 13, 2018


by Len Lathrop

Whether your child will ever milk a cow or pick up a bale of hay, what happens every Tuesday and Thursday evening during the summer must be called a learning experience for all. And by all that includes both the two-legged club members and the four-legged ones who are about 4 months old, and, as of last Tuesday, weighed between 236 and 260 pounds. While we would never ask how much the two-legged members weigh, they were middle school students so take a guess. Check out the pictures; you know what the calves weigh.

This is the second year for the Summer Calf Club program, which is open to middle schoolers. As a reference, Tuesday, July 3, was hot, as the kids were learning under the watchful eye of Suzanne Roark how to put a rope halter on the calves and then tie them to the barn wall.

Besides getting the calves to do what they were asked to do, the knot tying seemed to present the most challenges. The calves seemed to love the attention and enjoyed being brushed. Proper entering and exiting of the calves’ pen was stressed, and, for the record, no one escaped or even tried to escape. Now everyone was walking first around the barn, using the commands “let’s go” and “stop.” The two-legged club members are somewhat in control; if the bigger club member wants to stop, a big pull on the lead will get them going.

While it has been fun telling you this tale, the bottom line is it is a great opportunity for both types of club members’ socialization – walking on a lead for the calves and untold benefits for the kids to understand animals and how to work with them. By the way did you know that the typical cow lives 25 years?

During the school year, Calf Club is open to Alvirne High School students, and you do not have to be enrolled in any animal classes or be in FFA to join. Members will meet in the Milk Barn classroom after school Tuesdays and Thursdays to learn how to tame and train the new calves born on the farm. They’ll learn grooming, halter training, and more! Students can come one day per week or both if they like. Club will start after school and until the late bus comes.

For more information about the Calf Club contact Suzanne Roark at or 595-4828.