The Garden State Paint Horse Youth Club was honored as AjPHA’s 2015 Youth Club of the Year on June 27 at the AjPHA Youth World Championship Show in Fort Worth, Texas. GSPHYC also earned the annual From the Heart award sponsored by Markel, which is presented to the club that provides the most support to the AjPHA Presidential Service Project. This is the second consecutive year GSPHYC has received the From the Heart award.
Nikayla Hetzell, a 16-year-old member from Pittsgrove, New Jersey, credits her fellow GSPHYC members and the local community for their involvement this year.
“We’ve had a lot of participation from our club members, but locally the support around us is pretty good,” Nikayla said.
This year, GSPHYC took on several community service projects, working with local organizations by donating time and collecting donations for charitable causes.
“We’ve added community service as it’s come to us. A lot of the community service is like the pillows we collected for the battered women’s shelter,” Nikayla said. “We volunteer at the local food pantry and help out there every two or three months. For that, we bag the canned goods.”
GSPHYC also participated in several projects to raise funds for 2014–2015 AjPHA President Meredith Milton’s Presidential Service Project, “Youth Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” The project helped generate enough funds to create an endowment for the Robyn Hannah Sportsmanship Award, which will present an annual winner a scholarship worth $1,000 at the AjPHA Youth World Championship Show.
“We did a basket fundraiser where we auctioned off baskets,” Nikayla said.
As the recipients of the Youth Club of the Year award and the From The Heart Award sponsored by Markel, GSPHYC receives cash prizes worth a total of $1,500. That comes in addition to the camaraderie, memories and lasting goodwill created along the way.
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.