Want to know what to expect if you’re a Junior participating at the Poodle Club of America’s National Specialty? Walk through the week with me. They’ll be soooo much more you’ll experience, but we can at least hit the highs.
The Poodle Club of America (PCA) Junior Education Program was established in 2013 by Dennis McCoy, MaryEllen Fischler, Gina Wieser and Tabatha Waters. It’s goal is:
Foster and reward youth participation, teach ethics in animal care, handling, and training practices, encourage young people to become actively involved in the sport, instill good sportsmanship, generate pride in accomplishments earned competing with Poodles.
It’s a pretty awesome program. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Monday is Agility Day. And it’s also the first day the PCA Junior Education Booth is set up. It’s kind of hard to miss. The PCA Junior Ed Banner hangs on the wall. It features the unique logo designed by Juniors, representing Juniors competing in Companion Dog and in Conformation. It’s also got full color photos from previous years, so, don’t forget to SMILE! You might be up there next year.
The booth has several tables, because there’s the Take What You Want Library for Juniors and there are the Silent Auction items generously donated by supporters, both poodle people and non. Signs for the 50/50 raffle that funds the Anne Rogers Clark Stipend are in picture frames. Were you awarded a Stipend for attending the National Specialty? I HOPE SO! The Jr Education Program awards ALL Juniors who submit a completed application. (The ARC Stipend is also awarded to Poodle Juniors attending WKC and the Royal Canin National Dog Show. Also, AOJ Agility Participants with poodles are awarded!). Anyone that wants to know more about the stipend, or that needs an application for the Anne Rogers Clark Stipend can email Tabatha@NOLAStandards.com
Sign in with us at the Jr table, if you will, and then head off to check in with AKC Agility and Chuck A Duck. And explore!
Tuesday is Rally and Obedience. It’s been a goal of the PCA Junior Ed Program to reward Juniors in the Companion Dog events as well as the Conformation Juniors are rewarded, so head over to the table and pick up your towel with the Junior Logo on it, and the Welcome Bag donated by Purina. Artero and Pet Agree Grooming are yearly sponsors of great awards for HIT Obedience and HIT Rally and HIT Agility as well as Best Junior and Reserve Best Junior. They well understand planting the seed now is believing in the future. Supporting and Education and Preparation now shapes our future communities, and we appreciate them for that!
Don’t forget to volunteer! If you aren’t competing or getting your poodle ready, Rally and Obedience and Agility Chairs welcome you Juniors as Assistant Ring Stewards. It’s fun and there’s lots to learn while you’re enjoying the competition.
Wednesday is a big day. It’s Pizza Party Dayyyyyy!
We’ll have the Best Junior Competition. Current and Past Juniors have helped Ring Steward and as tough as the competition is, there’s laughter and camaraderie and game faces on. Afterwards, we’ll get that group photo and then head up for our Junior Party.
Past Juniors, now professional handlers have held a fashion show of What to Wear and What NOT to wear. That was fun! Others have shared stories of International Competition and done their best to answer all questions (tricky!). Last year Gina Wieser gave a full Judge’s Education Program on the poodle and this year Mari-Beth O’Neil explored the AKC Junior Program with us AND every Junior got to join Take the Lead. Bill McFadden stopped in and talked about what it takes to be a professional handler.
LISTENING and LEARNING while the experts talk is key. Because after the presentation, the yearly Trivia Game is ON! There are super prizes, and you get to pick your prize by being the fastest to correctly answer a trivia question about the day’s presentation. Truth – Trivia questions are also asked about the National Specialty and about the Breed Standard, but all the questions come from activities we get up to during the week in the Jr Ed Program, so pay attention, take down your competition and get the prize you want. Sometimes we get a little carried away, but it’s super fun and we are learning and we’re all expressing good sportsmanship in competition.
How ya’ doing? Staying with me?
Now, either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday afternoon, depending on time, it’s time for Hands On With the Pros. Depending on the year, professional handlers have worked one on one with Juniors handling their dogs. Agility and Rally and Obedience skill classes are taught, we’ve learned CPR for our poodles, and we’ve learned how to properly care for coat! Once, after the Juniors took the Judge’s Education Class, they took turns judging AND explaining their placements.
Friday, we wrap it all up. The help from Juniors present and past with the Silent Auction and the booth pack up is always welcome. We learned. We laughed. We joked.
We say our farewells. And we hope to see you next year in the PCA Jr Education Program.
In addition to the activities coordinate by Gina Weiser, PCA supports the 2023 AKC Junior Open Agility World Team each year. PCA member, Team Manager – Debby Dubay works tirelessly all year round to make this team possible.
Resource Information for Junior Coordinators:
Junior Coordinator: Junior-Coordinator-Role.pdf (akc.org)