Every year at The USPC Annual Meeting and Equine Symposium, The National Youth Congress (NYC) convenes for three days. NYC began in 1998 to recognize outstanding Pony Club Members. The NYC delegates are selected by their regions and are provided the opportunity to learn valuable life skills to help them navigate their futures. This year 33 delegates were a part of the three day Congress.
Big Sky Region– Madelin Auch
Great Lakes Region– Emily Dingwell and Jillian Howland
North Central Prairie Region– McKenzie Kielman
South Region– Sarah Beth Hood
Camino Real Region– Elicia Hazelwood
Hawaii Region– Leah Fitzgerald
New Jersey Region-Rebecca Guerrera
Tri-State Region– Chessi Donini and Kelly Tighe
Capital Region– Shannon Case and Devon Hoffman
Intermountain Region– Katie Cobia
Northwest Region– Jenna Peth
Virginia Region– Madeline White
Carolina Region– Julia Gates and Shady Sayers
Lake Shore Region– Emily Setton
Old Dominion Region– Suzanne Lamb
Western New England Region– Nina Gilbert
Deep South Region– Nikhol Kelley
Middle California Region– Jessie Pieracci
Rocky Mountain Region– Madeline Backus
Delmarva Region– Emily Carney and Kayla Harvey
MidSouth Region– Dana Hammerle
Sierra Pacific– Claire Beale and Elsa Taylor
Eastern Pennsylvania Region– Micaela Forsyth and Esin Namoglu
Midwest Region– Chi-Leigh Watten
Southern California Region-Kyla Dewald
A very special part of the NYC is the induction of outstanding USPC Alumni into the Academy of Achievement. The Academy of Achievement was created to honor alumni who have attained outstanding achievements in their chosen fields. Honorees this year were selected from a distinguished group of nominees. The alumni inductees join the delegates of the NYC to help guide and mentor them by bringing a voice of experience into the discussion. The following four recipients were recognized at the January 23rd, 2015, Honors Banquet:
Jennifer Goss – Jennifer (Gilbert) Goss is an HA Graduate from Berks Pony Club in the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. During her ten years in Pony Club, Jennifer took full advantage of the Pony Club experience although her favorite rallies were Show Jumping and Eventing. Many years of her Pony Club experience were spent aboard her first horse, a Quarter Horse mare named Dance of Roses. In 1999, Jennifer was a member of the inaugural National Youth Congress in Seattle.
Jennifer furthered her education by attending Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She continued on to earn her Master’s Degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from West Chester University (PA). In 2012, Jennifer produced the Emmy-nominated, award-winning film, Misa’s Fugue, which tells the extraordinary story of Holocaust survivor Frank Grunwald. The film has also played at film festivals around the world. She continues to give back to Pony Club by currently volunteering for her local club, Glenmore Hunt Pony Club and also serves on the club’s board. Jennifer and her husband, Matthew, live in Staunton, VA with their 1-year-old daughter and future Pony Club Member, Ashleigh and their two dogs.
Heather Rodenker – Horses were a major part of Heather’s formative years, having started riding when she was seven years old. For the next 17 years, Heather joined and participated in the Somerset Hills Pony Club where she participated in rallies and earned her A rating. She hunted with New Jersey’s Essex Fox Hounds and showed equitation and hunter/jumpers culminating with qualifications at both the Medal Finals and ASPCA Maclay Finals. Over the years, Heather has helped to leg up horses for friends and periodically hunted.
Not only was Ms. Rosenker successful in Pony Club, she has had great success in her professional life as well. She is the former director of public policy and government relations communications for General Motors. Her public relations agency experience includes eight years at Fleishman-Hillard International Communications. She co-led that firm’s Global Security Practice and managed teams for a number of Department of Homeland Security programs/agencies. She was part of the start-up team at the Transportation Security Administration established following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She has held positions at the Internal Revenue Service and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Brian Sabo and Lisa Sabo – Brian and Lisa both grew up loving horses. Having grown up on the same street, the pair trained together at Woodland Hills Pony Club in California. They competed from coast to coast for many years, the pair eventually went their separate ways. Brian moved to purchase land to build an equestrian center and Lisa went off to further her education. After being separated, the two could not stand to be a part, they ended up marrying in 1985. Both have many Pony Club accomplishments. Brian passed his A certification in 1974, he also served as DC of the Woodland Hills Pony Club two times (1975-1977 and 1980-1983). One of Brian’s greatest accomplishments was serving as — USEA President from 2010-2013. Lisa, being equally accomplished, passed her HA certification in 1983 and her A certification in 1984. Lisa is now running the Newport Mesa Pony Club Riding Center. Lisa has also had a very successful competitive career which continues today. A member of the Silver Medal Area VI Young Riders team in 1984 and also — USEA Area VI leading rider a number of times.