Involving Youth in the Future


N early every breed of cattle today has not only an as sociation for the breeders and promoters to network and share ideas and information, they also have junior associations for youth involved with the breed. Why? Because junior associations keep youth active in the industry from an early age, something that is critical when it comes to keeping future gen erations interested in the pedigreed livestock industry. “Having the junior association is important,” says Shane Goss, advisor to the American Junior Aberdeen As sociation (AJAA) Board of Directors. “That goes for any breed or associa tion. It’s critical for the future of the breed and the cattle industry as a whole.” Goss has been a member of the American Aberdeen Association for many years and started advising the junior board last year. He and the other advisors, Darwin Engelkes and Kiersten Beilke, are mainly there to keep the AJAA Board members on track. When the new group of advi sors first began in their roles, one of their goals was to allow the junior board to really become the guiding force for the junior association and to use the board as a learning tool for the youth. “They got selected, therefore we felt it was important to give those

young people the opportunity to take the driver’s seat and make the deci sions for the association, just like our senior board does,” Goss says. And their approach is working out well. The junior board holds many responsibilities throughout the year. The board plans and hosts the Ameri can Junior Aberdeen Association Na tional Show and Competition, which includes an ultrasound competition, showmanship competitions, a quiz bowl, team marketing competition and demonstration, a fitting demon stration and competition, livestock judging contest and, of course, the livestock show along with many other fun activities. The board also puts together the AJAA junior show in Denver, Colo., and hosts fundraisers during the year to raise money for both of the shows and for a scholar ship fund for AJAA members. “They decide on the location of junior nationals, they decide what they want to budget for this or that, they choose awards; the junior board makes all the decisions,” Goss says. “We just make sure that they don’t do anything silly or get out of hand with costs. They really are the guiding force though.” It was that responsibility while serv ing on the AJAA Board that impacted Courteney Walker so much. To her, the junior association is about mak

ing friends, building contacts and learning about the livestock industry, all in an atmosphere where everyone was willing to help everyone, but the board took everything a few steps further. Walker served on the junior board for four years during her time with the association and says the experience was nothing short of life changing. “The things that the junior board provided for me and my sister, it was invaluable,” she says. “Interpersonal skills are probably the biggest thing. We had to learn how to interact with so many different types of people.” From having an intelligent conver sation with adults, to turning around and being able to connect with a group of 4-year-olds, to learning how to work as a group and communicate with her peers, Walker says the skills she developed have continued to help has as she continues through her schooling to become a veterinarian. “You don’t realize at the time just how much it’s really helping you,” she says. “But when you go out into the world and have to work on group projects in college with people from different communities or when you go to work, you really understand how to work with other people.” For Marcus Gatewood, it was his time serving on the AJAA Board that

Continued on page 70 

Left: Courteney Walker, former AJAA Board member, and Emma Trutna during a futurity show at the AJAA National Show and Competition. Middle: Group photo from the 2013 AJAA National Show and Competition in Brookings, S.D.. Right: Jaci Brown, current AJAA Board member, helps Taylor Trutna in the Team Fitting competition.


Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter creator