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Responsible dog ownership, dog showmanship, and dog sports are already part of the 4-H curriculum. As America’s largest youth development organization, 4-H is designed to encourage kids 18 and under to participate in projects, many of which include raising/showing animals. Because the 4-H organization has some of the very best animal husbandry- and canine-oriented programs that children can participate in, its members are a natural fit for the AKC Juniors Organization.

To reach out to this next generation of leaders, the AKC Juniors Organization has started the AKC 4-H Outreach Initiative. More than a dozen AKC club member volunteers represented the AKC at state 4-H events in 2019 to provide 4-H members with the form to apply for an AKC junior handler number, answer questions about the AKC, and encourage participation in AKC sports.

4-H Dog Shows

When asked to attend the Minnesota 4-H State events, AKC delegate Wayne Harmon responded with “My club can do that!” (a twist on the popular AKC phrase, “My Dog Can Do That.”)

Now in year two of AKC/4-H cooperation in Minnesota, we have welcomed well over 200 new junior handlers in Minnesota to the world of AKC dog sports.

Wayne and others, including Curt and Karla Curtis in Oregon, have encouraged AKC participation by successfully hosting Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Trick Dog testing for members to earn AKC titles with their dog.

To further the connection with 4-H, several AKC clubs, are also now hosting Junior Showcase Events and inviting 4-H groups and AKC junior handlers to attend. Junior Showcase events are unique because they are limited to juniors only and allow them to earn legs, titles, placements, and points toward the junior recognition program.

AKC Club Volunteers at AKC Dog Events

In 2019, this has been successful thanks to the volunteers who represented AKC at the following 4-H state dog events:

  • Marjorie Tuff – New Jersey
  • Lydia Joiner and Conroe Kennel Club – Texas
  • David Galloway and Central Ohio Kennel Club – Ohio
  • Nick Little and Ingham County Kennel Club – Michigan
  • Jody Garcini – Kentucky
  • Rachael Murphy, Sally Allen, Sherry Cornwell and Central Indiana Kennel Club – Indiana
  • Mari-Beth O’Neill – Maryland
  • Curt Curtis, Karla Curtis – Oregon
  • Wayne Harmon and Cambridge Minnesota Kennel Club – Minnesota
  • Mari-Beth O’Neill, Jane Wilkinson, and Holyoke, Springfield, South Windsor, and Windham County Kennel Clubs – New England States
  • Michael Faulkner, Polly Smith and the Middle Peninsula Kennel Club of Virginia – Virginia
  • Linda Ayers Turner Knorr and Greenville Kennel Club – South Carolina

Please email juniors@akc.org for more details about the current 4-H outreach initiative.

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