By: Ross Creech
Janet Jackson may have asked the question, but it’s USDF’s passionate and dedicated Group Members (GMs) that have demanded an answer. While they are the building blocks and backbone of our federation, USDF Group Member Organizations and their members can sometimes feel taken for granted or overlooked. That is why USDF is constantly striving to offer an enhanced benefit and opportunities package specifically for our GMs.
Over the past several years, USDF has launched two new initiatives to provide recognition and acknowledgment of Group Members’ accomplishments, both in and out of the saddle.
The USDF Regional Schooling Show Awards were developed to provide recognition and an awards opportunity for USDF Group Members competing in non-USEF-licensed/non-USDF-recognized competitions. Through this program, four award divisions are recognized (junior/young rider, non-professional, adult amateur, and open).
Launched December 1, 2019, the Regional Schooling Show Awards Program has already seen two very successful years with growing participation and excitement amongst our GMs. As such, in 2022, USDF implemented some changes to the program that will encourage participation, streamline the process for those participating, and make qualifying for the rankings more attainable for those interested in the program.
Approved by the USDF Executive Board in December of 2020, USDF’s newest Group Member-specific opportunity is the GMO Volunteer Incentive Program, or VIP. This program provides USDF another opportunity to highlight and recognize the tremendous volunteer efforts of our Group Members throughout every facet of the dressage community, while encouraging and incentivizing new and upcoming dressage enthusiasts to get involved on the volunteer side of things. As we all know, if GMOs are the backbone of USDF, it’s the volunteers that are the backbone of the GMOs.
There are four recognition milestones that Group Members can reach through their accumulated and verified volunteer hours, with additional recognition for their efforts, such as having their accomplishments featured on USDF web and social media properties, as each milestone is reached. As a volunteer -driven and -run organization that is fundamentally based in love of the horse, any opportunity to recognize members of USDF and the dressage community that exemplify both of these aspects is a true honor and privilege of the federation. We see you, we value you, and we CELEBRATE you!
Visit the USDF website to explore the many other benefits and opportunities of USDF Group Membership and start tracking those volunteer hours now, so we can provide you the recognition you so greatly deserve!