Meet the 2016-2017 R6 Director Candidates
Donna Longacre (WA)
I am willing to continue as Region 6 Director if asked to do so. I believe I bring a down to earth, common sense perspective to the Executive Board. I am not afraid to speak up for the grass roots riders and programs, push for equal opportunity for our West Coast members, as well as support programs that enable our High Performance riders to showcase themselves and their horses on the International scene.
Read full candidate statement here.
Carolynn Bunch (WA)
Carolynn has been a long-term and active member of Region 6, first showing as a Junior in the late 80's and through the early 2000's as an Adult Amateur, and working for local equine businesses, like the Gift Horse and Photos by Scarlett. Throughout this time, she has been a member of both ODS and Equestrians’ Institute.
Read full candidate statement here.
Questions for the candidates have been submitted by Region 6 members. If you have a topic for Donna and Carolynn, please email email@example.com.
What is your vision for our region and how would you work to achieve that vision?
LH, Snohomish, WA
My "vision" for the Region would be to see our members come together and help each other enjoy and grow the sport in all areas of the Region.
The "Region" does not put on events, but we need more positive, dedicated team members to represent our Region on the local, regional and National level by serving on committees, USDF events, helping with fundraising, supporting the GMO's, etc
I would like to see the Region leadership develop a better understanding of its members priorities and points of view. Region 6 is geographically diverse with the ocean to the west and mountain ranges dividing sections between and within all five states making this region unique. This diversity represents a challenge for Region 6 to engage its membership.
I would make myself available through several channels, including social media to listen and try to resolve problems as well as to encourage and support riders and owners throughout our region in the pursuit of their goals within our sport
Our largest regional horse shows are really struggling because of the lack of volunteers. I've been a GMO member and volunteer for several years and see fewer and fewer of us doing more every year. Is this a national trend? What can we do to attract and retain more volunteers for shows and other programs in the region?
MM, Portland, OR
The answer to this question is yes, there is a national trend of fewer and fewer people available to volunteer. People in general and horse people particularly, are more "busy" than in the past. People are working more, and have less discretionary time and income than in years past.
There are many articles on the "care and feeding of volunteers" It becomes a question of the "carrot or the stick." Some shows offer incentives whether it is a stipend, a ticket for a drawing, or a discount of some sort. Some groups have made it a requirement for year end awards, etc. Many shows cover lodging and meals of volunteers that are willing to travel. This at least broadens the pool to those out of the immediate vicinity. Those that happen to live close to a show facility may have more opportunities to volunteer than those further away.
Irregardless, the shows and therefore the competitors may have to begin digging deep to cover these additional expenses, as well as become creative and diligent in showing appreciation for volunteers in general.
Yes, volunteers are something that shows nationally are having trouble finding/keeping. It could be we have reached a point where our competitors are working more and more hours and the time they have at a show is their down time. Therefore, they are using the down time at shows to relax and visit with friends. As I work for myself, I know once winter is in full force that I don't see or talk to as many people. Then I can feel the need to just have time to see people and not have business to see to.
Several shows I have been to in the midwest and other places have started paying the key positions to ensure their show runs smoothly. I used to be a core volunteer with EI and now help at WEC quite a bit in the office. How to attract and retain volunteers has been a continuing topic both with those two groups as well as at several meetings at national conventions over the years.
Shows run by nonprofits can offer volunteer hours to high school students that are required for graduation from many school districts now. I don't know if shows run by boarding facilities can offer that to students.
If we look at paying volunteers, some positions could be filled by a donation to a 4H or Pony Club group or Boy/Girl scouts. You do have to pay attention to the rules about how old someone needs to be to fill a position and adults with the group would also have to be present to supervise the group.
If you have a series of shows (run by the same management group) you could look at a contest for barns. Do you have premium parking? Hard to get tack stalls? Or a few prizes. You could look for a sponsor for those (prizes) or spend a little money (think Costco gift card so that the winning barn could buy food for their holiday party or several boxes of hand warmers to stock their barn with for the winter). Get the barns on teams and have them compete, either by number of hours or invest in a few pedometers have use to count steps or a combination of both.
It can be hard to think outside the box, but lots of good ideas are just outside it.
As demonstrated by the number of Region 6 entries for this year's US Dressage Finals, Region 6 is at a geographic disadvantage in terms of ability to participate in major national dressage events. What specific ideas do you have to increase opportunities for Region 6 members to participate in both competition and educational programs sponsored by the national federations?
SP, Everett, WA
I have been looking for someone to head up a travel fund similar to one that Region 7 (CA) has in place that would provide funds to help offset the expense of those that qualify and would like to attend the U.S. National Finals. All that is needed is for someone to step up to head this project.
The travel fund could also be used for other educational or competitive endeavors. I envision that an application and selection criteria would be developed, and funding could be solicited by donation per individuals or members, or an obligatory fee per ride. For instance ....CDS funds their travel account by collecting a small fee that is added on to each ride at recognized shows much like we have done in the past in Region 6.
This question has 2 parts.
1) UDSF Finals
I recently started a survey via Survey Monkey (posted to the Region 6 group and fan page on Facebook) to see what the general Region 6 population really wants to see in the way of fund raising for finals. That data will be shared with the Region's PM deleagtes, Director, committee members as/if I get more answers to the survey. At this point I only have 20 answers. Finals is supposed to start to rotate in 2017. I haven't heard if there is a update to a location. USDF does see Texas as “West” so the reality is Finals will never be in our backyard.
2) Educational opportunities.
Not being asked this question in person I can't decide if you are thinking of programs like the trainer's conference or more along the lines of the Adult Ed programs. If we are talking about the Adult Educational clinics – Region 6 does have them just as often as other regions. They fall every other calendar year as that is what the USDF budget can support. Region 6 does try to rotate them around the three main states as well. After I finish my answer to this question, I will to add some info for you on finding grants/scholarships for education.
The answer for both national programs is fundraising and that is a group effort. Several years ago USEF disallowed the $1 per entry that was being added to show entries on the entry form to support the Region 6. That money went into the USDF Regions 6's general fund. It would be great to see funds being raised to replenish what was there and add to it. Without fund raising, there is no budget to help riders on a national level. Finding out how the region wishes to use the funds i.e. for funding trips to Finals, is the 1st step and then a committee would be needed to decide on how to distribute those funds. I feel that riders who have helped the region (by volunteering at shows or other actions) should have the 1st shot at any funds available.
Back to educational opportunities – The Dressage Foundation has many opportunities for finding funding opportunities. They can be found at www.dressagefoundation.org. Another great resource is your local GMO – Many of them hold educational events/symposiums. At one time (I can't speak for currently), EI had a grant process for members to apply for as well.