In light of the upcoming summer show season and string of junior nationals I decided I would dedicate today’s post to offering my tips and advice for junior interested in securing a position on a National Junior Board. As a current member of the National Junior Shorthorn Association Board where I currently serve as the Secretary, I have learned more than was expected in my two years experience. Being on a junior board is more than just a title, it’s about instilling a passion for the livestock industry in younger members of organization and promoting your specific species/breed to the fullest. It’s your responsibility as a junior board member to ensure the future of the industry.
Here are some tips I give to juniors to prepare for running for the board and through the interview process:
- Participate- Go to every activity, event, sale, show, and contest that you can–While there learn as much as you can, meet as many people as you can and build friendships with your “family”.
- Listen- Although so may feel the know most of whats going on it never hurts to listen to members from the youngest to the oldest because everyone has a lesson to learn from. This is something that will need to be used throughout the rest of your life.
- Know the Responsibilities- Know what is expected from you as a junior board member before you decide to run so that way you are not surprised or overwhelmed with anything that comes your way. You have to be willing to make sacrifices and represent your organization whenever needed.
- Get to Know Current Board Members- Connect with current junior board members and ask them for advice or tips. Some of the most influential people in my livestock career where those who were on the junior board when I came to my first junior nationals. I will never forget how enthusiastic, professional and helpful those individuals where. I still look up to some of them today as they are know some of our industry’s leaders in a variety of organizations and jobs.
- Knowledge of the Organization and the Breed- Before you run for a board, you need to be passionate about what it represents. Immerse yourself in all things related to your organization, know current senior board, junior board, and queen members, know what the organization is promoting, new events, etc.
- Sell Yourself- If someone were to walk up to you today and say Why ___? (For example, Why Shorthorn?) it is your responsibility to represent your breed and tell them all the things you love about your breed and why you choose them. At the end of the conversation you should at least have the person your talking to interested in what your breed has to offer for them.
- Bring fresh ideas to the organization- Although, most organizations have a good thing going there are always areas that need improved or new ideas that may better the organization. What is it that you bring to table?
- Hold Other Leadership Positions- The best way to learn about leadership is to participate in it. All leadership roles held throughout your lifetime will help you face any and all obstacles.
- Skill Set- Junior Board members need to be enthusiastic, always willing to help, organized, efficient with time, open minded, positive, hard working, and responsible.
- Lastly, TREAT EVERYONE EQUAL- it doesn’t matter if an individual is first or last, meet every showman (or woman) with a smile, help all of them the same. We have all been there, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter if you tail the grand champion or the exhibitor who was 20th out of 20, what matter is that you did your job, kept the ring flowing and provided each individual with a positive experience.
By serving on a junior board you will learn the value of teamwork, meet many new faces, create new friendships, travel, and gain knowledge in the most unexpected places. It is crucial to remember that everytime you are in public there is someone out there watching you and looking up to you so be responsible and present yourself in an appropriate manner at all times. There is a time for play and a time for work. Another thing to remember is that most times all board members become friends and get along well, however occassionally there are a few individuals who may not see eye to eye. Take this as an opportunity as when in the real world you won’t always get along with your co-workers, however you need to establish a professional relationship with them and be the bigger person. It can be very difficult to get along with them, but do the best you can.
These are just a few thoughts that I bring forth, hopefully they will help some younger members on their journey to become tommorrows’ leaders…being part of a junior board has been an amazing experience for me and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me and the board in the coming year!