Written by the National Youth Board
Every year, the fourteen members of the National Youth Board gather at the United States Pony Club’s Annual Convention to brainstorm the next year’s plans as well as to serve the equine community around the area. While this past year has been unique to say the least, the National Youth Board rose to the occasion during these crazy times and not only participated in one service project during convention, but fourteen. Though the USPC Annual Convention was held via Zoom, NYB members were asked to give back in their local communities and rose to the occasion.
National Youth Board Chair, Olivia Crespo chose to host a horse show fundraiser for a local therapeutic riding center. Due to Covid-19, Rein Dancer Riding Center out of New Jersey was hit hard as they had to limit activities in order to abide by state guidelines and protocols for the pandemic. As the state began opening up, Olivia decided to host a horse show to fundraise and help the riding center get back on their feet. Classes were even created to fit the needs of every single therapeutic rider at the farm. Not only did Olivia host the show, but members within her own pony club helped volunteer as well. The show was a great success both for the fundraiser and competitors alike. A great and safe time was had by all who attended!
(PC: Olivia Crespo)
Technology Coordinator Emily Harris also served during this time at the West Brook Farm in Maryland, owned by former NFL running back Brian Westbrook. After hosting virtual equestrian camps during the summer, Emily took the opportunity this winter for these budding equestrians to get out and get hands-on experience helping clean up and learn how to groom and lunge horses at their Community Clean Up Day. All of the children enjoyed the in person experiences and learned so much by being able to interact and work around a multitude of horses and ponies. (PC: Emily Harris)
Renata Petrais, the Upper Level Coordinator, hosted a virtual Pony Club meeting that discussed the differences between formal and informal attire. Grace Mitchinson, head of the Marketing Committee, wrote thank-yous to equestrian leaders and volunteers around her area for all of their efforts in Pony Club and the community around them. Rachel Rozenboom, head of the Service Committee, cleaned tack and for a gracious equestrian who had been lending her a horse to ride after she sold her mare. Lastly, Brooke DeCant, leader of the Pin Promise Committee, also helped at a local therapeutic riding center to train and condition the therapy horses. (PC: Renata Petrais)
The foundation of Pony Club is built upon service and giving back to the community. Without volunteers and service, Pony Club, rallies, and equestrian centers altogether would cease to be the amazing organizations and events that we know. As members of the United States Pony Club and the National Youth Board, we encourage everyone to give back to those who have sacrificed time, energy, and funds to make this organization what it is. You may never know the impact that your service had on those around you, especially during these unprecedented times. Not only that, but the act of service and volunteering can help anyone’s perspective and attitude. So, Pony Clubbers, get out and give back to the community around you whether it be through virtual lessons, sending thank-you’s, or helping local riding centers and make us all #PonyClubProud.
The National Youth Board (NYB) serves as a liaison between Pony Club’s youth members and the Board of Governors by communicating the needs, ideas, and concerns of USPC youth. NYB members also work with the national office on projects related to marketing, leadership development, and service for the benefit of the organization and all Pony Club members. Delegates of the NYB are between 18 – 23 years of age, highly motivated and dedicated, and have strong leadership and communication skills. To learn more, log in and visit the National Youth Board page.