202 — Mentoring the Future LIVE at the Copper Classic

Mentoring the future

Mentoring people in the sport will keep it alive

PureDogTalk host Laura Reeves moderated a LIVE Saturday Symposium sponsored by the Copper Classic in Prescott, Ariz. on the topic of Mentoring the Future. Judges Joyce Vanek, Cindy Vogels and John Wade headlined the panel.

Become the change you want to see

Anna Mysliwiec, Prescott Arizona Kennel Club, said, “We are the start of the change.”

“As a judge if I have a novice in the ring I try to help them,” Wade said. “We have to encourage people. Maybe the dog they have right now isn’t show quality, but they’d like to continue in the sport. Encourage someone so they are here tomorrow.”

Juniors speak up

Juniors attending the Seminar asked great questions, including one that prompted this response from Vogels:

“What’s the hardest part of being a judge?” asked by Julia, age 9.

Vogels: “…we realize each of you love your dog. We get to please very few people by the end of the day. The hardest part of judging is 5 dogs, 4 ribbons.”

Another junior attending, Kyle, age 14, asked, “What’s the first thing you notice about a dog when it comes in the ring.”

Vanek said, “The overall presence of the handler and dog.” Vogels added, “Correct silhouette.”

Workable solutions

Suggestions for clubs, breeders and exhibitors to “mentor the future” included:

  • Encourage young people to be apprentice ring stewards
  • Offer a Peewee Handling Competition at the show
  • Advise all-breed clubs to offer Junior Showmanship as a FREE class
  • Hire former junior handlers to judge Junior Showmanship classes
  • Offer “best of the best” Junior Showmanship competitions with monetary prizes
  • Support scholarship programs like those offered by PHA and other organizations
  • Organize a potluck at the show for exhibitors in your breed
  • Focus on the positive instead of the drama when counseling new exhibitors
  • Show courtesy to ring stewards
  • Encourage local and national breed clubs to offer junior memberships and junior showmanship competitions.
  • Remember that the ribbon, the win, isn’t everything

“Welcome people to the sport,” Wade said. “Welcome people to your clubs. We need club members. The “greying of our sport” is apparent everywhere.”


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