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I once again had the pleasure of attending the USPC Annual Meeting January 22-25, this time in Arlington, VA, just minutes away from downtown DC. Our region was also represented by Nina Gilbert, who was a member of the USPC National Youth Congress. We can all look forward to a summary of her experience as well as some suggestions for us as a region. We had a few WNE pony club members and another parent in attendance at the conference sessions as well. I hope to convince them to share their experience attending the Annual Meeting with everyone at our Quiz Rally in April. There were many great education sessions given by dynamic and knowledgable presenters, USPC leaders and industry experts. A full briefing of the conference and the takeaways for our region will be available in a region wide virtual education meeting in February. Keep an eye out for details in your email!!
RS, WNE Region
I had the pleasure of attending the USPC National Conference again this year and can tell you that it was a fabulous event! I strongly encourage our pony clubbers and families to consider attending in future years. Next year's meeting will occur in Portland, OR, but hopefully it will come east after that. Some of the sessions my daughter and I got to attend were:
In addition to all that fun stuff, I attended a day and a half of the RS meeting which covered a huge array of material. I've provided my notes on those topics below. Please pay special attention to the last paragraph which covers safety training!!!
I hope that more people from our region will consider attending in the future (especially as it comes further east). My daughter and I met many, many pony clubbers, volunteers and leaders that we plan on staying in touch with. And the enthusiasm of the larger Pony Club family was wonderful.
WNE Region Secretary
RS Meeting Notes
USPC National Conference
Activity releases do not need to be signed for each rally by current Pony Club member participants. The activity release has been incorporated into the national Membership for both new and renewing members. However, non-members who participate in a Pony Club event would still need to sign the activity release.
e-Membership – a new program has been developed to promote Pony Club for those members of the community who wish to participate in Pony Club, but not at the traditional member level. E-Membership is offered as a way of introducing and fostering a love of horses and horsemanship for those non-horse owning, horse loving kids who perhaps don’t have the means or access to traditional pony club membership.
Lorelei Coplen, Governance Committee Chair, is looking for “good ideas” to develop and bring forward. If those “good ideas” include how to resource and fund them, all the better. One of the topics of discussion was how to make the RS position more manageable. There has been some conversation around centralizing certain functions, like management of the treasury (using software accessible to all).
Note that going forward, there will be an increase in cost for clubs, centers and regions at the National level. Whereas in 2013 there was a $25 fee paid by each club and each region, in 2014 that fee will rise to $100 per club and per region. The Centers pay considerably more per year in renewal ($100?) and will also pay an additional $100 in 2014.
The new RS Handbook is available, for both printing and online. The online version supplies links to USPC website holding the area of the handbook in context so that it can be returned to. There is a very handy RS timeline, by month, to assist the RS in knowing what needs to be done at appropriate times. All of the regional executive officers should become familiar with the contents of the handbook.
A presentation was done regarding by-laws and Policies. It was again suggested that all regional executive officers should become intimately familiar with the by-laws and policies or at the very least, understand where they can be referenced. It was also suggested that the RS get a blank copy of a Center Contract for Reference as they have different rules governing them. Lastly, it was strongly recommended that all regional meetings be run in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, available on the USPC website.
A move has been made to have National Championship entries occur online. The RS will have the responsibility for entering chaperone and volunteer information. Teams can be entered and can be done partially, with the information held until the full team in known and can be committed. There will be a check-out feature allowing for all teams to be paid for at once, with a regional credit card. The coaches and chaperone forms will still need to be printed out, signed and mailed in along with a copy of the paid printed receipt for the team entry. Suggestions for changing/enhancing championship participation:
Qualify for champs at champs?
Allow 11-13yr old D3’s to participate?
Off non-championship classes/rounds at Championships, to gain attendance and to increase revenue?
In 2012, Eastern Champs made $8,000 (falling every year, used to make a lot for the National organization and Western Champs made $12,000 (after threatening to lose $30,000 and taking extreme measures to pull it off and not lose money)
There was a frank discussion around the fact that Championships are becoming a break even event for the National Organization. Western Championships have not been well attended and were almost cancelled in 2012. With membership declining each year (a 4% decline between 2012 and 2013), there is a need to evaluate what our members want out of Championships. Is this still something that riders aspire to? What holds back riders from entering? The organization went from 13,000 members in 1999 to a little under 9,000 in 2013. In 2012 USPC lost $250,000 on an operating basis, in 2011 it was $230,000. A large part of this is due to declining membership and declining participation in Championships. The average retention rate for a club member is ~2 yrs. Last year, there were 1700 unrated members. Why?? That represents almost 15% of total membership.
State level tax filing – Each club has the responsibility of registering with the state. They must have a business license as well as a charitable registration. There was again a great deal of discussion for finding a centralized solution to the treasurer’s software issue. Should there be only a single Regional EIN, not individual club EINs? We need to make sure that each and every club treasurer belongs to the Treasurer Digest.
Safety Discussion – There is an area of the USPC website that all club, center and regional parents, volunteers, coaches and officers should become familiar with. Training is available and recommended in regards to concussion and heat illness. Links to training in both areas are available under the Safety tab on the USPC website. USPC recommends that all RIC’s, HMO’s, RS’s, DC/JDC/CA’s and all parents, volunteers and coaches take both of the training courses and become familiar with the handouts and resources. The USPC website can be found at www.ponyclub.org and the saftey training information can be found by clicking on the Safety tab in the main menu. It would also be a great course for our C level pony clubbers to take and then present back to their respective clubs!!
This Rally was a fabulous success! "Thank you" to the Pleasant Valley Club and all those who volunteered hours to make this event happen. I've posted a Picasa Web Album from the day, see the link on the left sidebar to access the Albums. I wasn't able to watch ever ride but I did my best to get lots of pictures. Congratulations to all the competitors.
WNE Region Supervisor
We now have the 2012 Championship Affadavit available here on our website for anyone who is interested in attending Championships and has qualified in his/her discipline. The affadavit can be found under the Region Documents link, under Championships/2012. If you have any questions, please let one of the region officers know. Good luck!
We held our spring Regional Council meeting this past Sunday following a very successful Quiz Rally at Liberty Ridge Farm. It was a convenient time and location and we especially appreciated the parents who were able to stay after the rally and join the council meeting! Its always good to see new faces join in at the regional level. The spring meeting minutes, along with several accompanying documents can be found here.
Special emphasis was placed on the need for the region to gather volunteer resources to serve at the Regional level. Please take a few minutes to get the word out to all of our region's Pony Club families to see if there is interest at that level.
We have a very exciting summer planned starting with our S&R clinic in April. See the Region Calendar for all the upcoming events.
You can download this doc from the 'Region Document' link via the Quiz folder or... Click the title of this post for a direct link.
Please note that the Tet Rally originally scheduled for July 20-21 has been cancelled. They are working on new dates.
2012 USPC Championships
July 25 – 29, 2012 Virginia Horse Park
What is Championships? The USPC National Championships have contestants from all across the country competing in Dressage, Eventing, Mounted Games, Polocrosse, Show Jumping, Tetrathlon and Quiz. Regions will send teams or members for mixed team to compete. Just like in a rally, teams are scored not only on on their success in ring or on the field, but also for their Horse Management. In 2012, two Championship Events will be held, one in Lexington, VA, and the other in Cle Elum, WA.
Who can compete? Those wishing to compete in the Championships portion will qualify to compete in Championships in your home region’s Qualifying rallies. Check with you DC/CA or RS for qualifying information or check out the USPC website for "Qualifying Criteria for Championships.”
If you are a member of a Western New England Region Club and wish to compete in Championships this year please advise your club’s DC and have your club’s Championship coordinator contact Vice Regional Supervisors of WNE, Kim Parsons at email@example.com or Kerry Krawczkk, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In an effort to streamline the process and be better prepared, every club with members wishing to attend Championships must have a coordinator who will be responsible for organizing the member’s participation in Championships and communicating with Kim and Kerry.
Please notify Kim or Kerry as soon as possible to let us know who the Championship coordinator will be for your club if you have members attending.
Important Deadlines for Championships: More to follow
Please see 2012 Championship Gold Book on USPC website (Due to be posted in March) for important deadlines, qualifying affidavit’s and information on each discipline and forms that are required.
Michele Southwick – Region Supervisor
Nomenclature changes, there are some name changes at the national level that will begin trickling down;
· “USPC” => “Pony Club”
· “Ratings” = “Certificate/Certification”
The Western Program is in the pilot stage. If there are clubs/centers interested they need to sign up for the pilot. You cannot simply begin to use the standards and offer certifications. There will be a Western Program Digest to facilitate communication. If you have interest please let me know.
The revised Manual of Horsemanship – D Level will be available in February. The other manuals will be following soon.
Pony Club Logo & Clothing – The national org would like us all to display the pony club logo on our club and region clothing and on all our communications. They’d like us all to be proud of our organization and display our membership anywhere and everywhere we can. If not already available off the site the new logo will be available soon. There is also an option to Customize pony club polos with your club logo on the Bookstore site.
AND… for all of you who use Amazon.com to purchase “anything” please change your link to access amazon via the Pony Club Bookstore. Anything purchased from Amazon through one of these links will benefit USPC. I was under the impression it was only the items on the bookstore page but I was told “any” purchase made via these links will provide Pony Club with a percentage from that sale!
Generation Management: This meeting gave us all insights on the differences in the multiple generations we come in contact with as leaders of a youth organization. We discussed the typical communication preferences and skill sets found in the Traditional, Baby-Boomers, Generation-X & Millennium generations. Some interesting tips were picked-up but unfortunately the speaker was not a skilled presenter and the time allotted was far more than needed.
Youth Protection Training: This meeting was quite interesting. Just as the USPC has come to follow the lead of other youth organizations regarding background checks, we are now taking one more step toward providing our youth with as safe an environment as we possibly can. To meet these goals region and club leaders will be required to complete an on-line training session on this topic. There is no cost to the session, it is not time consuming and it provides us all with beneficial information we can use to ensure our members and ourselves stay safe while under our care. More information will be provided soon.
Rally Format Panel Discussion: This session was a short open forum to share ideas about Rally’s. As we know some regions provide Mega-Rallies, while some provide individual Rallies and some provide both. The Mega-Rallies have the benefit of pooling resources but have the disadvantage of being a one stop shop. If the members cannot make that event, they miss-out for the season. I’ve often wondered how regions handle the stabling during Mega-Rallies given members can pick and choose their events. I learned for some that members register as individuals and the event organizers place them on teams dependent on the events they entered; so teams are quite random versus representing their clubs. Other regions are piggy-backing their Rallies on existing open shows. And some are organizing Rallies with the option for non-members to compete in order to make their Rallies more affordable. All in all, good ideas were exchanged and I believe that all the regions are constantly evaluating how and where they provide Rallies based on the resources available to organize them. It sounds like we are no different than the other regions in that respect. Regions that are currently holding Mega-Rallies and can be used as resources are, MidWest & MidSouth.
Pony Club and the IRS & Fiscal Training for your Region: My notes from these two presentation are somewhat blurred so I will combine them in this summary.
As we know from information provided last year, the IRS is looking very closely at nonprofit organizations. We were again reminded of the financial Do’s & Don’ts. Below is a list of the most critical Don’ts. In addition I will pass along the power point presentation we received; it was quite informative and provides many links to more information. This presentation also informed us that fiscal audits will be a requirement in the near future. More details are provided in the presentation I will pass along.
Most Critical Don’ts
· Individual accounts, where fundraising dollars are tagged to an individual pony club member versus everyone in the club.
· Clubs organizing fundraising events to contribute to an individual or barn that has come on hard times – these monies can come from individuals within the club – but not the club directly.
· Not filling 1099’s for services where payment exceeds $600/year.
· Clubs should always pay instructors (and file 1099’s); individual members should not pay instructors directly.
There will be a Treasurer’s Training coming soon. It is not clear whether this is for club treasurers or the region treasurer, but more information will be coming soon.
Round Table Discussion with a member of the Board of Governors: The board member I spoke with was able to confirm that electronic membership is just around the corner! The new and renewal memberships for 2013 are scheduled to be available on line. The USPC has contracted with the USEF to provide this service. In addition, the 2nd phase of this project will provide us with options for online Rally entry and possibly scoring too.
Activities Update for 2012: See the associated document, “USPC-ActivitiesHandout.”
RS & DC/CA Guide Updates & Insurance: The DC Guide has been completely recreated. It now is a combined DC/CA guide that has dynamic links making it easy to use online. However, it will also be able to be printed if that is preferred. If a print copy is desired, it can be downloaded or purchased from the Book Store.
We were also given a handout with an over view of the current insurance policy. See the associated document, “USPC - Insurancehandout.”
Instruction News: The new SOP’s are available. There were a limited number of handouts that highlighted the changes in the SOP’s. I wasn’t able to get a copy but was told it would be posted to the same area as the new SOP’s. In addition I do have some handouts I scanned on the following; see the associated documents.
· Resources Available for Instruction (see associated document, “USPC – InstructionHandout.”)
· National Ratings Re-Test Procedures (see associated document, “USPC – Re-testProcedures.”)
· HB Card Changes (see associated document, “USPC – HBCardChanges.”)
Meeting of the Corporation: I’ve scanned in the meeting Agenda and the Balance sheet. See associated documents, “USPC-AnnualMeetingAgenda” & “USPC – BalanceSheet.”
Hope you find these notes informative. If you have any specific questions feel free to contact either of us.
Michele & Kerry
This past Sunday the Western New England Region held its Fall Meeting in Middlebury, VT. As a result, we have a new slate of officers, a couple of new policy notes regarding regional Championship organization, reflections on our Pony Clubs’ 2011 season and a start on the planning for 2012. Please take a few minutes to read the minutes!
In addition, the calendar has been updated with the dates for our spring and fall meetings for 2012! Keep in mind that these are open meetings and the region encourages as much attendance from club members, parents and volunteers as possible. If you or anyone you know from your club has interest, please let them know about these meetings. We would love as much participation as possible. It’s also a great way for parents of new pony clubbers to learn more about Pony Club in general, the role the region plays in Pony Club and if they have interest, learning about the region council positions in hopes of perhaps serving in the future.
There is another opportunity for participation via our Regional Steering Committee. Kim Parsons is always looking for parents of our Pony Club members to join the group. If you have any parents in your club who might like to attend these meetings (virtually via conference call) please contact Kim directly or reply to me and I’ll get you in touch with her. Members of the steering committee do not need to be especially “horsey” or have any specialized knowledge. We are simply looking for input into our regions activities.
WNE officers for 2012:
Region Supervisor: Michele Southwick
Vice Region Supervisor: Kerry Krawcyzk, Battenkill PC
Vice Region Supervisor: Kim Parsons, Pleasant Valley PC
Region Treasurer: Rebecca Walker, Battenkill PC
Region Secretary: Kerry Lambert, Pinnacle Farm PC Riding Center
Horse Management Organizer: Allyson Quinn, Pinnacle Farm PC Riding Center
You can reach any of our new officers via the email link from the WNE website.
We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to John Waechter, Bay Hammond, Martha Benoit and Dena Monahan for serving in these roles up until now. Many of them served for several years and gave a great deal of their time and energy to our kids and our clubs. THANK YOU!! We hope we can still call on your expertise if needed.
Finally, one of the action items from the fall meeting was a request that if your club is having ratings, that we post it on the calendar in case another club has members who might be able to join in the rating, as opposed to having to host one for what may be a small number of riders. If you are planning on having a rating at your club, and wouldn’t mind other members from our region’s Pony Clubs attending the rating, please email me the date and details and I’ll put it on the Region Website.