By: Rylee Barber
Running for junior board might have been the most stressful week of my life, but this past year has been worth every second of it. When I first decided that I wanted to run for the National Junior Hereford Association Board, it never crossed my mind all the work that went into it. I envisioned a fun week meeting new people, helping youth with the various contests, and showing my Hereford cattle. Well what I envisioned was true, but I forgot to add the running to the bathroom five times a day to change clothes, running from group class showing to the meeting where I would give my speech, then forgetting my speech I had been practicing in my head all week, and all of the other chaos running for junior board entails. Even before the week started, my brain was running rampant with different scenarios and thoughts.
1. What will my slogan be?
When running for the Junior Hereford Board, all your flyers and paperwork have to be turned in by June 1st. Being the procrastinator I am, I waited until the last minute to come up with a slogan for my flyer. Thank goodness for my Dr. Pepper addiction, my slogan was staring me in the face the whole time.
2. What am I going to say in my speech?
I am not the most social butterfly in the world, so like most people I get nervous speaking in front of large crowds. And because I am very OCD about certain things, I wrote about ten different speeches out the week before and then picked the one I liked best. I tried to write about what this would mean to me, and why I thought I was qualified for the position, and why I wanted to be a director. But at the end of the day it didn’t matter because I forgot everything I had been practicing in my head all week.
3. Who else is running?
This was a thought that crossed my mind frequently in the days leading up to finding out. In almost every speech that a retiring director gives, they talk about the lifetime friendships made on the board, and how they are like family to them. I was curious which four people would become lifelong friends.
4. Do I have the time for this?
With my first year of college under my belt, I knew the difficulty of balancing class, work, internships, and trying to attend every stock show I could. Adding in junior board responsibilities was something I thought long and hard about. I was already spread thin and did I want to add even more to my plate? Yes, absolutely! My passion for the Hereford industry and the youth outweigh all the late nights I have spent writing thank you notes, and traveling to make my flights to the next show.
5. What will I wear?
Have you ever tried to find a khaki business skirt? Well if you are my height, and have found one give me a call! I searched for weeks, trying to find appropriate official dress and khaki pants to wear while working the ring. It is an ongoing battle to find khaki pants that will fit over my boot tops and stay around my waist.
6. Why is there so much paperwork involved?
Running for the junior board is not the easiest process in the world by any means. It all starts with the application, the essay, the flyer, and the recommendation letters. The application is not for the faint of heart. It requires you to list all of your involvement within different organizations, your achievements, and your plans for your future. Then comes the essay, you have a page to tell delegates why you want to get on, why you are qualified, and what this would mean to you. And probably one of the most important aspects of the paperwork is the recommendation letters. I struggled with who to ask because people pay attention to who is writing the letter and what they say about you.
7. What if I don’t get on?
This single question haunted me ever since I hit the submit button on my application. When you want something so much, and have worked so hard it is difficult to accept defeat. Not getting on the board would have crushed my dream that I have had since those in the maroon jacket befriended me my first year showing. I was scared, nervous, and I don’t remember eating at all that week.
Luckily everything worked out in my favor, and even though I messed up I still managed to wear a maroon jacket at the end of the week. My maroon jacket and I have already seen lots of miles and memories. The four of us “newbies” on the board are ready to face our first Junior National as board members and we could not be more thankful for the opportunity that has been presented to us. Good luck to any junior that is running for the board this year, or maybe thinking about running next year. My advice, don’t fret the small stuff and try and slow down and enjoy the moment. Even if you mess up it doesn’t mean that you won’t make it. Enjoy the people around you for they are just as nervous as you are. Whether or not you get a jacket at the end of the week, it will still be one of the most fun, unforgettable experiences of your life.