Who: kids ages 10 to 17 and their families. We have and do make exceptions based on the maturity level of the kids. We strongly encourage parent/adult bringing the youth to participate in the classes and learn about beekeeping along with the youth. Since membership in CTBA is $25.00 per family, this can be a whole family activity.
When: The program starts each year in April, the monthly meeting following the Central Texas Beekeepers Annual School. The program lasts two years with the first year mostly class room presentations with a few field days to expose the apprentices to active bee colonies. The second year is devoted to the apprentice maintaining, monitoring and growing their hives population.
What: There are 10 presentations per year and each starts at 5:30, 1 hour before the main CTBA meeting which starts at 6:30, on the 4th Thursday of each month, except November and December.
Program details: During the first year we provide the apprentices with a hive tool and a bee suit which allow them to work around live colonies during the field days. Two of the field days are spent building the woodenware for their hives. The hive assemblies are primed and the apprentices take them home and finish painting them in preparation for the bee package installations. At the end of the first year the apprentices and their families attend the yearly bee school taking the classes they feel are most appropriate with their learning goals. At the close of the bee school, we announce the names of the apprentices that have completed the program and award them with a smoker and a beekeeper certificate. When the package bees are available, typically in April, we provide a package of bees to each apprentice, help them install them and show them the basics of feeding the bees. We then visit the apprentices a couple of times in the following weeks and walk them through the hive inspection process. At this point they take over and ask questions about things they see and don’t understand as needed. We mentor them through the first year of keeping a bee hive.
In the second year of the program the apprentices are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting as well as the apprentice programs. The apprentices and their families are again invited to attend the annual bee school and take the classes they feel they need or want. After the second bee school the apprentices are awarded a second set of woodenware and we split their hives. This take the apprentices from knowing little or nothing about bees to maintaining a colony to splitting and doubling the size of their apiary.
The apprentices present a short educational program to the CTBA membership during a monthly meeting as part of the program.
Cost: of the apprentice program, including the bee suit and tools, the woodenware and frames that makes up the hive, the package bees and the CTBA Annual Bee School is zero. There is no cost to the family or apprentices for the program other than the $25.00 CTBA membership fee. We only ask that they attend 6 of the apprentice presentations (most attend all of them), they help build woodenware for themselves, that they keep up with the colonies once they are installed at their apiary and they ask questions.
For more information on the Central Texas Beekeepers Youth Program, please email Tim Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org