A Princeton teen recently returned from New Zealand as the first applicant from the United States to be selected to participate in the World South Devon Society youth exchange program.
The World South Devon Society instituted the youth exchange program in the late 1980s. South Devon cattle are a breed of British beef cattle used primarily for beef production.
Youth – ages 17 to 24 – from New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have participated in the program. Every country has a different application process and this year Princeton resident Travis Moniz, a 2018 Princeton High School graduate, was the first selected applicant for the United States.
“I stayed with four host families and toured from South Island to the North Island,” said Moniz. “I learned about their farming practices, toured the South Devon Farms and traveled on the steepest road in the world, in Dunedin. I also learned they don’t have Dr. Pepper, Coke, or Pepsi.”
The U.S. has hosted juniors in the program, but never sent one of their own. The World South Devon Society helps sponsor a portion of the travel expenses, and the home nation usually contributes a portion. Funds for the program are gathered every three years at the World South Devon Society Conference, during the banquet and auction. Moniz was selected from his application and essay on “Why You Would Make An Ambassador” for the program.
“This was a great experience,” said Moniz. “They told me they could identify me as an American because of my hat. Only rough stock rodeo riders wear a straw western hat in New Zealand.”
Moniz is now at Auctioneer School on a Donny Martin Memorial Scholarship and an award from the Colusa-Glenn Cattlemen’s Association. Martin was a bull fighter killed in an accident five years ago. ■