When January rolls around, most people are still recovering from all of the holiday festivities and are looking forward to Martin Luther King weekend and an extra day off. If you’re a New York Junior Holstein Association member, you’re gearing up for the New York State Holstein Convention and three days full of speech competitions, dairy quiz bowl heats, rounds of dairy jeopardy and the much anticipated naming of the two state Distinguished Junior Member awards.
This year I was excited to have placed first in the prepared speech competition for the senior division. I delivered a speech on polled genetics, the benefits of incorporating them into current breeding programs and touched on consumer concerns in regards to popular dehorning practices used on many farms today. I will be representing New York State and present this speech in June at the National Holstein Convention hosted by the state of Washington. It’s an exciting opportunity to take my public speaking skills to the next level and travel across the country as an added benefit. I have been very fortunate to have attended two past National Conventions, the 2012 convention hosted by the Missouri Holstein Association and last year when New York took its turn. Attending the National Convention is not only a great experience for our dairy youth, but is an opportunity to meet youth from all across the country and learn from experiences they share about the dairy industry in their home state.
At the state convention this year, I was honored to be named one of the two state Distinguished Junior Members. This is a goal I set for myself when I was just eight years old and attending convention for the very first time. It has been a long road with its share of potholes to navigate around, but well worth every bit of effort in preparing my portfolio each year, answering questions regarding trends and changes in our industry and getting over the bucket of nerves as I sat in front of a panel of industry professionals for an interview. I am now in the process of making some changes and updating the portfolio to prepare it for national consideration. Wish me luck.
If I have learned anything in my years competing and preparing for these competitions it is that the outcome of taking home the ribbon, certificate or plaque is not as important as the experiences gained, the skills you improve on and the confidence you find to set goals and then take the steps necessary to achieve them. I have learned to never give up. My portfolio, a culmination of 10 years’ worth of Holstein, school and community activities has been used over and over in helping me prepare scholarship and college applications. My advice… get involved, join 4-H, participate in a sport, join a youth group or college club, step outside of your comfort zone… you won’t be disappointed.
If you would like to learn more about SUNY Cobleskill’s agriculture programs and club activities, please contact Kim Tarvis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Stay tuned for a coming webpage connecting what you read about in Coby Corner to other areas of exploration and knowledge each week! We’re so excited to be offering more information to each one of our readers at their fingertips.