5 Facts About the USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Award

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2018 Youth Volunteer of the Year, Emma Kane. Photo by John Borys Photography.

Do you know someone around your barn, aged 21 or younger, who makes a big difference in the dressage community?  Nominate them for the USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Award!  Established in 2007, this award is designed to recognize a USDF youth member who demonstrates a commitment to USDF’s mission through exceptional volunteer effort and commitment.  Here are 5 facts about this award.

Taking Center Stage

The winner of this award is honored at USDF’s most prestigious event, the Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet at the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention.*  The winner receives 2 tickets to the gala, as well as a travel grant of up to $500 to attend.  On a star-studded night where others who cross the stage include the connections of the USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year and the Grand Prix Open & Adult Amateur Champions, a young volunteer getting to their moment in the spotlight is truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

Honoring Hard Working Young People from Across the Country

2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year Ruby Tevis. Photo by Emily Melcher.

Since its inception in 2007, winners of this award have hailed from coast to coast.  Stretching from Maine, to Florida, to California, and plenty of places in between, the winners have represented six USDF regions so far. The winner of this award is featured in the Yearbook edition of USDF Connection magazine, and also the star of a press release issued by USDF, giving them the chance to score bragging rights for their region on a national scale. 

Selecting a Winner

With so many deserving young people who put in the hard hours of work in our industry, how is the winner of this award decided?  That is where the USDF Youth Programs Committee comes in, carefully reviewing the nominees to determine who is our Youth Volunteer of the Year. Want to learn more about this committee?  Check out our YourDressage profile on the Committee Chair, Roz Kinstler. 

How to Nominate

If you have someone in mind you’d like to submit for this award, the nomination process is very straightforward.  Any current USDF Participating Member or Group Member (GMO member) can nominate. You’ll complete a short questionnaire about the individual being nominated, regarding their volunteer efforts at the national, regional, and local level.  The process can all be done online and only takes a few minutes.  Have any questions?  You can contact the USDF Youth Program Coordinator at youth@usdf.org.   

Sophia Chavonelle is one of four USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year winners to contribute to YourDressage.

A YourDressage Connection

Do you think the names of some of the past Youth Volunteers of the Year seem familiar?  You may recognize them as contributors to YourDressage!  Several Youth Volunteers of the Year have written articles for our publication since receiving their awards.  You can browse their articles below:

How to Start a Youth Club in Your GMO” by Ruby Tevis

Five Tips for College Freshmen” by Ruby Tevis

American Saddlebred ‘Born to Rage’ Shows on the Devon Stage” by Ruby Tevis

Cross-Training the Rider: The Importance of Trying Different Disciplines” by Ruby Tevis

Self-Care” by Emma Kane

Five Steps to Mentally Prepare Before Heading Down Center Line” by Emma Kane

A Youth’s Perspective on the 2019 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention” by Sophia Chavonelle

Inspired at the 2017 Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention” by Sophia Chavonelle

My Experience with the USDF Junior/Young Rider Program” by Catherine Chamberlain

You can also check out these great profiles on the two hardworking young ladies who most recently brought home Youth Volunteer of the Year Award honors: “The Dressage Expansionist” profiling Ruby Tevis and “The Versatile Volunteer” profiling Emma Kane.

Nominations are currently open for the 2020 USDF Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.  The deadline has been extended to September 30.  Get all the details and nominate a deserving youth member here.

*Please note that in 2020, the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention is going virtual, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More details to follow about how this award will be presented this year.

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