Raising the Bar 2021, Angus in Auburn – An Angus Reunion
Angus juniors from 21 states gather to resume the annual Raising the Bar Conference.
This year junior Angus members had the chance to experience “sweet home Alabama,” Auburn University, Alabama Angus and Southern hospitality at the 2021 Raising the Bar. Forty-six junior members from 21 states gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, for the National Junior Angus Association Raising the Bar Conference on April 8-11.
While the NJAA provides opportunities within the show ring, the opportunities don’t stop there. Many juniors agree, leadership conferences offered by the NJAA are another huge highlight of being involved in the association. Since the 2020 Raising the Bar Conference at Colorado State University had to be canceled due to the pandemic, juniors were more excited than ever to be together again to tour a potential college prospect where they may later further their academic careers.
“Deciding where to attend college can be a stressful decision, so we want to make sure juniors are exposed to options, so when the time comes, they can make an informed decision about where they may choose to attend,” said Madeline Bauer, events coordinator at the American Angus Association. “In addition to teaching kids about college opportunities, we want them to expand their networks. A goal of ours is to make sure everyone knows everyone by the end of their career in the NJAA.”
The conference was kicked off by Erin Beasley, the executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, where she set the tone for the weekend ahead. She emphasized how far having a strong work ethic, attitude and network can take a person.
“Everyone is going to make mistakes, but it’s how you learn from those mistakes that is most important,” said Beasley.
Friday was spent in the shoes of an Auburn student up on Ag Hill. There students received a tour of the agriculture department buildings from student ambassadors and Dr. Mulvaney, an associate professor in Animal Science at the Auburn College of Agriculture.
“It [Raising the Bar] provides those experiences and begins to plant those seeds of leadership, and those are the difference-makers in peoples’ lives,” said Dr. Mulvaney. “The world is crying out for people that can talk, communicate and be those who are willing to step up.”
It’s young people like Avery Mather, who this year attended her fifth Raising the Bar, who will be one of those difference-makers.
“These may not be in order, but I attended Raising the Bar at South Dakota State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and now Auburn,” she says. “To have been able to develop friendships over thousands and thousands of miles has been incredible.”
In addition to visiting the college, juniors had the chance to visit the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and tour the Mooseum with director of education and outreach, Ali Cantrell. Later the tour continued at Adams Angus purebred family-run Angus operation in Union Springs, Ala., and later at Creekstand Catfish Farm.
Aside from the tours, students were able to have some fun at Escapology and participate in professional development workshops led by the National Junior Angus board of directors.
“We are so grateful for the supporters of these conferences,” Bauer said. “From the Angus Foundation to the Alabama Angus Association, Raising the Bar wouldn’t be possible without their support.”
Now in its 13th year, Raising the Bar continues to foster the development of Angus youth by hosting events in regions across the country. The NJAA, with sponsorship from the Angus Foundation, has conducted Raising the Bar conferences in cities such as Manhattan, Kan.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Ames, Iowa; and Baton Rouge, La. To learn more about how to participate in an upcoming Raising the Bar conference, visit njaa.info.
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