The Young Kennel Club (YKC) is on the hunt for nominations for the next Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year, which will be awarded at the world's greatest dog show, Crufts 2018.
Through five different categories, the prestigious award acknowledges and highlights the positive contribution that YKC members make to the world of dogs. The categories are:
Young Braveheart of the Year: Recognising young people who have overcome personal barriers with their dog to achieve success.
Champion Volunteer of the Year: Recognising young people who give up their time to volunteer to help others.
Good Buddy of the Year: Recognising young people and their dogs who have proved themselves to be good role models.
Sporting Talent of the Year: Recognising young people who demonstrate a real passion for competing with or training their dog.
Fundraiser of the Year: Recognising young people who raise money for good causes.
For last year's overall winner, 15-year-old Daisy Buckland, daily life was a struggle. Daisy suffers with selective mutism and Asperger syndrome and despite being a bright pupil, she finds it extremely hard to interact and speak to adults outside of her home environment - this makes everyday life at secondary school a tough challenge for her.
Since taking part in agility with her six-year-old Border Terrier, Charlie, Daisy's family have noticed a dramatic change in her. She has slowly started to communicate with the adults at her agility club, has competed in a friendly agility competition and won five rosettes.
Her face lights up every time she gets positive comments at her agility classes and she also felt confident enough to attend her agility club's Christmas party with Charlie. This was very much out of Daisy's comfort zone, but doing so has given her a new found burst of confidence, which left her smiling for days. She received her award at Crufts in front of hundreds of people in the Young Kennel Club ring last March, something which she never thought she could achieve without her new found confidence.
Shortlisted nominees for each category will be invited to Crufts 2018 for a special presentation ceremony where the overall winner will be announced and will receive £750 to be used towards helping them progress their love of dogs.
Young Kennel Club Chairman, Gerald King said: "The Shaun McAlpine Young Person of the Year award is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the incredible work that young people are doing in the world of dogs. Every year we look forward to receiving nominations as it gives us a great insight into our member's passion and commitments towards their canine companions.
"We hope to discover more brave and inspiring young members like Daisy with this year's award."
The award is the highest level of achievement for young dog lovers. For over twenty five years, Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year award in memory of their son. The trophy is awarded annually to encourage young dog lovers to become more involved in dog activities, as Shaun himself had achieved considerable success as a dog handler.
Anyone can nominate a YKC member in one of the Shaun McAlpine Outstanding Young Person of the Year award categories by submitting the application online from now until 1st December 2017. For more information or support with nominating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org