successful KCJO summer camp
by Nancy Bassant
AS PROMISED, here is the run down on everything you needed to know about KCJO National camp this year, held at Lackham College in Wiltshire. As usual camp ran from Wednesday to Wednesday and there were no big changes to the format, although I think this year there were, out of the 80 juniors plenty of new faces which despite being wonderful, for someone who only seems to have a good memory for dogs names ('namely' me, please excuse the really bad pun!) it did prove to be quite a challenge, I hope I didn't offend too many of you!
KC General Committee Member Mason Minns joined this show handling group and couldn't resist this photo opportunity.
As with last year, Carrie Graham-Weall was in charge of the social programme (except for the music section on quiz night which I will tell you more about later!) and she started off by introducing the camp challenge. Last year egg slinging was certainly interesting and I don't think anyone, including Carrie thought she could better it!
Well I don't whether it was bettered (it's surprising how splatting eggs everywhere can be very satisfying) but this years sluggish spuds challenge, as I like to call it, got pretty heated and we even had to have some re-runs and some cut throat decisions made by the ref & timekeeper!!
Mason Minns presents these juniors with some well earned chocolate treats, having done particularly well in a training session.
As a first time trainer it was a real learning experience for me and it was really nice to be on the team with Tina Tomlin also an ex-junior, only a couple of years older than me(as you can imagine a lot of reminiscing went on!). She has had a lot of experience when it comes to handling training and she was even able to try her hand at Agility training, just showing how versatile us ex-juniors can be! Of course Meriel Hathaway, with her right hand 'man' Rebecca Barber was there to keep us both in shape and also the VIP trainers, including, Jeff Luscott & Andrew Brace.
As I was busy training there wasn't much opportunity to have a look at the other training sessions. I think, though, the success of all them was pretty obvious in the huge cheers for the trainers when they went up for their goody bags. I know all the juniors would like to thank the trainers for all their hard work. Also to thanks the management team, I never realised how much they have to do until I became a senior and believe me it is phenomenal!
From training class to show scenario, one of the best ways to learn is to put all the knowledge you've been taught into practice, as some juniors in a show handling session show here.
The evenings as I've already mentioned were co-ordinated (excuse the posh word!) by Carrie, the usual scavenger hunt on the first night, won funnily enough by a self made team who named themselves the Rejects (although I don't think that was quite the case!). They were made of mainly lads who weren't training and Dad's who love winning! The team participated in everything except for the Grease Talent night, despite the fact that some of them I'm sure would have loved grooving to 'you're the one that I want'!
Towards the end of the week I found myself with time to run around doing my David Bailey or more appropriately my Alan Walker bit! Unfortunately I didn't quite have a top of the range Pentax that everyone else (including the juniors themselves) seemed to have, which made long distance snaps a little tricky and brought out my jealous streak!
Averil found herself in charge of the seminar programme and arranged for a number of both interesting and useful seminars. In my busy schedule I made it to a couple of the seminars, one of them being about the life of a Dog Warden. If you are like me and don't really know too much about this occupation, you may be under the impression they spend their time catching stray animals & answering complaints of dogs barking. Well yes, they do this but I was surprised at the diversity held within this career. The job description varies from council to council and of course the bye-laws of that area. The chap, David, who took the seminar mentioned licensing, not only kennels and the like but also places like zoos and riding establishments! He brought with him some of the equipment that he uses and I was quite impressed by the huge padded protective trousers (I thought they would go well with a pair of red boots I own!). On the side of dog fouling he made the observation that it is not easy to catch someone 'at it' and if you follow a culprit it might turn against you in the sense that you're target may think you a stalker and take you to court - don't do it!
The training classes at their most relaxed, in a down stay!
The Kennel Club's Dr Jeff Sampson gave a talk on genetics, something which concerns most people in the canine world, after all those who are breeding should, we hope, be aiming to improve their stock. This kind of thing doesn't just affect show people, after all in obedience and agility etc the aim when you breed is to improve you're 'round with each generation. Genetics is certainly the way forward and I felt privileged to experience the knowledge of Dr Sampson, without people like him there would be hardly any chance of eradicating some of the negatives contained within the dogs themselves.
In the Fancy Dress class one of the competitors had her bike ready for a speedy escape!
You'd think that after all the exuberance during the day the night time would be set aside for sleep. Hmm well only if you get the opportunity to sneak away without anyone noticing, of which there is, I'd say about zero chance! Despite the hard work that went on during the day (by everyone) the energy that was mustered for the evening was impressive. The Grease Talent night was a prime example of this and I think if any of the West end stage Companies could see some of the performances put together in less than four days they would be snatching up a whole load of KCJO members! I actually mean that with all sincerity and I fond myself becoming quite jealous and wanting to jump up and join in, you will however be thankful that I held back!
If you've been to the UK Dog Handlers competition then you will be familiar with Frog Racing. Well at camp this year we had a slight variation on the theme, in the form of Drog racing (I don't think I will try to describe them!). The drogs I'm told were actually handcrafted by KCJO Chairman Eric Smethurst's own (dare I say it 'fair') hands! It was an obvious success with plenty of team leaders getting very competitive, I wish I could boast the same successes of my photographic attempts of the evening (unfortunately not!). It has (luckily for me) become apparent that I was not the only one to take some fabulous blurry photo's! You may have realised at camp that I have had little training when it comes to photography, this became apparent when I thought 3 films of 36 exposure could last forever! After about three days of snapping I ran out film, which was a big disappointment as I don't have any of talent night, so if you do have any I'd love to see them!
Flyball was the order of the day, and this Sheltie made a beautiful and elegant pose for the camera!
Onto the quiz night and Carrie had asked me months ago if I wouldn't mind the twenty music questions. So I set about my task and had a tape ready with all the snippets I needed, complete with corresponding questions. I was quite chuffed with it, particularly the Johnny Cash number (you might have to ask you're parents about that old crooner!). So me being me, when on the day of the quiz, Carrie asks me if the music questions are ready my reply "of course they are Carrie", turned out to be a little hasty! I hadn't actually listened to the tape since recording so you can imagine my facial expression when I wandered aimlessly into my caravan, played the tape and halfway through song number seven it went blank, (oops was an understatement)! Luckily my saviour Jenny Fairhall had brought with her (she'll probably kill me for telling you this!) a selection of Now cd's and also a 'fab' Dave Pearce mix cd! So we quickly scraped together another 13 questions. Thanks to Jenny my bacon was saved, Carrie was happy and so were the juniors, particularly as Carrie has a habit of threatening chamber music!
It looks like the next obedience champion may be coming from the Terrier group!
Bingo night was pretty good, and despite Ray Morland doing a super job on the mic, Aimee Reeves couldn't quite get number 67! In the first couple of rounds, we thought it was going to be a whitewash by the McLoughlin family but things evened out and I think everyone ended having a dip in the chocolate bucket!
Karaoke put a smile on a lot of faces, Jeff Luscott kindly ran the show and I don't think there were many who got away without exercising their vocal chords! One smiley individual was Alayna Morland who was celebrating her birthday! Those who missed the morning briefing (not me of course!) were given another opportunity to sing her Happy Birthday and by the smile that crept across her face and stayed there all night, I'd say she enjoyed it!
This Golden Retriever proves just how versatile the breed can be duirng some camp flyball training.
As always time flew until the last night disco when it suddenly hit home that it was nearly over for another year. I made sure I had a slow dance with Aitken who always seems to put me to shame with his dancing steps, n fact I think he should be awarded some blue suede shoes!
Well I hope those shenanigans will keep you going until next year, I know I can't wait!
C C Guard demonstrates some heelwork to music with one of her Labradors.