More than just rule changes take place at the APHA Convention—we’re also building the future of the Paint Horse industry! Taking place in conjunction with Convention in Richmond, Virginia, the 2016 AjPHA Youth Leadership Conference took place February 26–28 and was jam-packed with valuable seminars, discussion and team exercises.
“This was my second year to attend the Youth Leadership Conference, and it was every bit as rewarding as the first,” AjPHA National Director Sabine Lazo said. “YLC provides opportunities to meet and befriend other Paint lovers from around the country while learning about leadership and communication.”
More than 25 Youth converged on Richmond for the event. Leaders talked industry issues during breakout discussion groups, and Youth also offered valuable insight to National Directors on rule change proposals during the Youth Committee sessions. APHA Director of Youth and Amateur Activities Christine Henry was impressed by the young leaders’ insight during these discussions.
“My favorite and most-rewarding activity was the discussion dinner, where the Youth spent their time discussing hard-hitting topics like creating opportunities for horseless Youth in AjPHA, encouraging participation from younger riders and adding value to solid Paint-bred horses,” Christine said. “It was so encouraging to see the wheels turn and hear the groups present truly innovative ideas. These Youth are our future, and the future is brimming with bright ideas and out-of-the-box thinking!”
APHA leaders like Executive Director Billy Smith and International Liaison Irene Stamatelakys visited the conference; Irene encouraged healthy discussion on international Paint Youth and how to connect with peers overseas. National Director Kelly Chapman’s “True Colors” seminar was also a hit, and AjPHA President Sydney Schmidt considered it her favorite activity.
“Kelly’s personality tests show you what type of personality you have, and gave examples of how to work with different personality types,” Sydney said. “I think being able to learn what personality type you have opens the door for you to realize something about yourself you might have never known.”
The young leaders also took advantage of their East Coast location, and spent February 28 exploring Washington DC and its historic monuments. Special thanks to BooYah Custom Clothing, the tour’s sponsor.
“The trip to Washington DC was a major highlight of the weekend, and it was really exciting to hang out with all the attendees at look at the many memorials and monuments,” Anna Lia Sullivan said. “It was especially cool when we took an elevator to the top of the Washington Memorial!”
A scavenger hunt on February 27 brought attendees together in a race to gather an assortment of items, signatures of APHA leaders, photos of proposals, four-leaf clovers and more. The hunt was sponsored by Lubrisyn HA, and the top three teams each received prizes. They were:
1st place: Sabine Lazo,& Manetta McAvaddy—$500 scholarship each
2nd place: Maddie Giesman & Hannah Brown—half-gallon of Lubrisyn HA each
3rd place: Sydney Schmidt & Mackenzie Chapman—quart of Lubrisyn HA each
The annual Youth Leadership Conference is a must-attend event for Youth looking to build their leadership skills while celebrating their love of Paint Horses. Keep an eye out for development and dates for the 2017 conference!
Special thinks to David Lands, Alison Umberger and the Virginia Paint Horse Club for making local connections and contributing to the overall success of the Youth Leadership Conference.
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.