The National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) believes giving back builds responsibility and leadership skills. Juniors can further develop these skills at the 2011 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Harrisburg, Pa., by participating in the Support Our American Recruits (SOAR) community service project.

“The community service project helps instill charitable qualities in junior Angus members,” says Jaclyn Upperman, junior board member and 2011 NJAS junior co-chairman.

The SOAR program is for any American soldier who has served or will serve in the armed forces. The community service project accommodates the NJAS theme “Let Freedom Ring” and honors Pennsylvania history and military ties.

“Through SOAR, juniors will better realize how important soldiers are and will hopefully continue to contribute once back in their own states,” Upperman says.

The program began after Sept. 11, 2001, as a support group for military families. The program now sends 600 care packages per year to deployed troops throughout the world.

SOAR provides more than items to soldiers, says Becky Bair, SOAR executive director. “It lets troops know they are not forgotten and are appreciated while providing them a taste of home to keep their morale up.”

NJAA members and families can donate items to deployed troops during the NJAS Opening Ceremonies on July 11 or throughout the week at the SOAR tradeshow booth.

“It is hard for all of us back home to realize how much we take for granted,” Bair says. “Even the most basic items are appreciated when received.”

The SOAR tradeshow booth also accepts full military addresses for specific soldiers to receive a care package.

The SOAR program also serves as a support group twice a month for military family members. Visit www.supportour americanrecruits.com for more information.

“As volunteers we feel that it is not what SOAR does, rather it is about the troops and what they do for us,” Bair says.

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