At the risk of sounding as if all I do is travel and attend shows, I want to share my experience from this year’s Junior Handling Nationals Championships
. I had the privilege of receiving an invitation from the Conception Bay Kennel Club
to attend the Junior Nationals held during their show in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland last month. This was my 3rd
Junior Nationals as ED of the CKC.
One of the things I learned is that a small club can certainly put on a big show! Granted, the club had a head start with traditional Newfoundland hospitality, the club created an environment of organized chaos and positive spirit. When it was time for the Junior Handling Finalists to compete, the show stopped and the entire focus turned to the Juniors. You could hear a pin drop by the time the winners were announced. It was wonderful to see everyone come together to support the Juniors and give them their-well deserved time in the spotlight. Congratulations again to Caroline Holicka (Conformation
winner) and Chantal Ratté (Obedience
winner)! I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear how, every competitor displayed high levels of skill, maturity and professionalism. Their love of the sport is almost tangible... I recall one competitor that took the time to speak with me and explain the performance of his dog, the nuances of the breed and even some grooming tips. All the while he was probably anxious about the event he was about to compete in.
Richard Paquette, Chair of the Junior Kennel Club Council was present and acted (dare I say “performed”) as the enthusiastic emcee for the event. Richard is a well-known advocate for the Juniors program who has been promoting support for and participation in Juniors for many years. Richard has always valued sportsmanship and mentorship above all other things. When I see past Juniors competitors and winners whose careers have since flourished returning the Juniors program as mentors, coaches and judges in the events, I know without a doubt that Juniors are the future for CKC.
Richard and I were joined the Board Chair, Bob Rowbotham and local Zone Director, Lendra Barker. Some of the best opportunities for feedback through the exchange of opinions and information comes in these more casual settings. For example, I heard about the joys and challenges a club experiences when they step up to host the Junior Nationals. I learned more about the efforts of the competitors and the incredible support they receive from family and friends to sponsor their participation.
I am committed to support Richard and the Council next year to strengthen CKC’s support for the entire program, not just the Nationals. The draft 2018 Business Plan calls for a program review to improve consistency in processes, confirming roles and responsibilities, and improving promotion and funding.
My sincere thanks to the Conception Bay Kennel Club for their hospitality and for putting together a truly outstanding event for the Juniors.
In my next post, I am planning to share some musings from the last meeting of the Board of Directors. Watch out for the minutes to be published soon and the synopsis
, which is already available, and plan to come back here for the view from my side of the desk.
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