All set to type like the wind, telling tales of recent activities that made me smile wide, I opened one more email note and changed my gameplan, fast. For to my delight, this photo arrived and I really wanted to share it because I think it says so much.
It was my pleasure to serve on the West Volusia KC’s recent panel, and part of my assignment was Best 4-6 Puppy in Show. Little did I know that my eventual winner, “Breeze,” would bring along her coterie of young admirers (and of course her young owner/handler) for this fun Don Meyer photo. The picture feels oddly familiar, for I wore the same expression as these young ladies and gentlemen when I was their age and had a dog in my arms. I probably still do. In any case it rekindled my passion for welcoming the very young, treating them with kindness and hoping, praying, that they will remain in the fancy’s embrace for the rest of their lives. It’s how many of us started. It’s how many of us intend to end up.
Although this photo’s not from a Junior Showmanship class (which, by the way, I also judged and was once again thrilled at the talent being shown by these promising young people.) I also need to point out that the finalists for BPIS held a depth of quality that was a joy to judge, and I’m very proud of these exhibitors for the happy attitude of their pups proving that they were trained with love. And I’m happy to report another program instituted by AKC to foster and promote the youth involvement in our sport.
AKC LAUNCHES JUNIOR MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Designed to encourage, support, and educate youth
Raleigh, NC—The American Kennel Club, the world’s largest dog registry, leading industry authority and advocate for dogs, is proud to announce the launch of the AKC Junior Mentor Program.
The goals of the AKC Junior Mentor Program are to provide Juniors just entering the sport or those looking to sharpen their skills (mentees) with a positive role model and friend who will help them on their journey to become an accomplished Junior; and, to provide experienced Juniors (mentors) the opportunity to improve their own skills while sharing their experiences. Mentors will provide advice and support in topics such as handling, grooming, proper dress and behavior, sportsmanship and more. Participating in the Junior Mentor Program as a mentor or mentee counts toward the number of activities required to become a Junior Ambassador, a program that recognizes Juniors for being active in the sport.
“A mentor program is a great opportunity for Juniors actively involved in AKC events to assist new young people in AKC Events,” says Mari-Beth O’Neill, Vice President of Sports Services. The Juniors Program offers children between the ages of 9 and 18 years of age an opportunity to compete in Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Rally, Tracking, Hunt Tests, Herding, Field Trials, Earthdog, Lure Coursing, Coursing Ability and Coonhound Events. Children participating in these sports and events develop their handling skills, learn about good sportsmanship, dogs, and dog events.
“I am excited to see how many new Juniors will be supported,” states Leslie Fetzer, Director of Education. “The Junior Mentor Program is a great opportunity to showcase excellent sportsmanship.”
To learn more about the AKC Junior Mentor Program or the AKC Junior Ambassador Program, including how to sign up to be a mentor or mentee, please visit https://www.akc.org/sports/juniors/
So it’s hats off to AKC for another big step in encouraging growth in our sport. Speaking of which, I extend my thanks and congratulations to West Volusia Kennel Club, Cathy Driggers, President, Mark Driggers, Show Chair, and especially my longtime friend, the amazingly capable Susan Shephard, head of Judges Panel & Publicity and a great breeder in her own right. And I’d like to give a shout out to the promising exhibitors in the photo: (l to r) Vaughn Hathaway, Sammy Schrager, Isobel Cloudman, Emily Cloudman and Liam Hathaway. You guys are awesome.
This issue of ShowSight, predictably filled with great content, also highlights Owner/Handlers and Breeder/Owner/Handlers. Having spent most of my time in the ring as the latter, I truly appreciate the work and homework required to do a credible job in that capacity. Congratulations to all OH and BOH exhibitors. In an upcoming issue we feature Professional Handlers, the ladies and gentlemen who devote their entire lives to the care and conditioning of the dogs they show. I personally thank you all. Next month, we’ll play catch up because there’s much else I want to discuss. Until then, always remember…ShowSight Magazine wishes you All The Best!
JOE MCGINNIS, EDITOR EMERITUS