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YKC Summer Camp Goes Online

The Kennel Club has announced that, for the first time ever, this year’s Young Kennel Club (YKC) Summer Camp will run online. Taking place from 12th until 23rd August and arriving in the wake of the ongoing ‘lockdown’ situation, the upcoming digital alternative promises to provide plenty of activities and will be just as interactive as ever.

The YKC Summer Camp has been running since 1992 and was set for an action-packed return this summer, the first in six years, at Rutland Showground in Oakham. Sadly, amidst the current pandemic, the event in its physical form was cancelled in order to ensure the safety and security of participants, spectators, volunteers and staff. However, thanks to determination and perseverance, the event is set to return online, running for two weeks, with a full schedule of free activities to suit all interests, including a talent show, bake off and a dog walk challenge.   

Vanessa McAlpine, Events Executive at the Kennel Club, said, 'We are so pleased to be able to announce the return of the YKC Summer Camp, in an all-new virtual format. We know how much our members were looking forward to it, and as such an adored YKC annual tradition, it will be a shame to not be able to see our attendees in person this year.

However, with the new setup comes new opportunities, and by taking camp online we can run for longer, with even more fun and activities, and our members can continue to socialise and have fun with their friends, something which the YKC is renowned for. I would like to thank our hard-working staff and volunteers for ensuring Summer Camp can still go ahead this year.'

For more details on YKC Summer Camp and to view the full schedule, please visit www.ykc.org.uk/content/digital-resources-and-printables/ykc-virtual-camp/.

Young Agility Handler Wins National Lockdown Competition

Elsie Bradley, a young agility handler, was one of three winners of the Kennel Club online competition, celebrating the bond between owners and their canine companions and how this has helped them through lockdown. There was a prize of £100 in each age category.

Sponsored by the Kennel Club Educational Trust (KCET) and hosted by the Young Kennel Club (YKC) via its social media channels and website, the Life in Lockdown competition saw almost 100 entries from members aged as young as six years old, and up to 24-year-olds. Participants were split into three age categories, with each age group having a week to submit their entries between 29th June and 8th July.

The entries were varied in their format, from slideshows to photo montages and even videos captured from the dog’s point of view, showcasing the talent and creativity of the youngsters and celebrating the positive role that our four-legged friends play, not only during lockdown but as lifelong companions.

Nine year old Elsie Bradley and her four-year-old Pomeranian X Chihuahua Daisy won the 6-11 years category with their slideshow comprised of snapshots of all the fun activities the pair had been up to, keeping active and sharing laughs.

Speaking of their win, Elsie said, 'Having Daisy has been brilliant through lockdown. She always makes me happy. I loved making the video to show everyone what we have been getting up to. It feels very exciting to win and I feel very proud.'

The Young Kennel Club has been providing its dedicated members with fun games and activities to enjoy with their dogs during lockdown across its website and social channels, including a successful online dog show last month, which saw over 1,000 entries, as well as a series of upcoming dog breed drawing tutorials, printable quizzes, colouring pages and more.

Gerald King, Chairman of the Kennel Club Educational Trust said, 'It was a real delight to see so many YKC members submitting entries for the Life in Lockdown competition. Dogs have played a really supportive and important role to their young owners during such a difficult time and they have certainly put a smile on our faces! “It was really hard choosing just three winners amongst so many impressive entries, but we felt that the submissions from Elsie and Daisy, Susanna and Teasel and Alexandra and Ollie really summarised the strong bond between the young dog owners and their four-legged-friends and highlighted how beneficial dog ownership can be.'

You can read Elsie's own story of how Daisy and agility have got her family through the COVID-19 lockdown on Homeschooling in an Agility Household.

More information for parents and/or young dog lovers who are interested in joining the Young Kennel Club is available at the YKC website.


YKC Summer Camp Cancelled

The Kennel Club has announced, with regret, the cancellation of the 2020 Young Kennel Club (YKC) Summer Camp due to take place on August 12 - 17 at Rutland Showground in Oakham.

This decision has been taken in light of the Government’s most recent announcement concerning the ongoing ‘lockdown’ situation during the pandemic and also takes into account the safety and security of participants, spectators, volunteers and staff at Kennel Club events, which are of paramount importance.

Refunds will be issued as soon as possible to those YKC Members who have already paid to attend Summer Camp.

The Kennel Club looks forward to staging YKC Summer Camp next year from Sunday, 1st to Friday, 6th August.

Advice on the situation regarding the pandemic is changing daily and the Kennel Club strongly suggests that everyone keeps aware of updates as issued by the Department of Health at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Further announcements regarding how the pandemic is affecting other Kennel Club events will also be posted on the Kennel Club website at www.thekennelclub.org.uk as well as on the Kennel Club’s various social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Vanessa McAlpine, Events Executive at the Kennel Club, said, 'It is such a shame that this year’s YKC Summer Camp has had to be cancelled. This was going to be the first such event for six years but it was not to be. We know how much everyone was looking forward to it, but the health and welfare of all participants must come first and now we turn our sights to 2021 when we shall surely see a Summer Camp full of the friendship and fun which the YKC is famous for.'

All queries regarding YKC Summer Camp should be directed to ykc@thekennelclub.org.uk.

Ryan Hennessy is a Winner

Dog loving young adult Ryan Hennessy from Chipstead, Surrey was chosen as the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Young Person of the Year at Crufts 2020 on Sunday, 8th March.

Ryan Hennessy (24) co-founded the organisation Forever Agility last year in memory of his mum, Ann Hennessy who passed away from cancer in March 2019. Ryan wanted to replicate the love and support shown by the agility community following Ann's diagnosis, with the aim to be there for those who need help whilst facing life-limiting or long-term illnesses.

Forever Agility has helped others in a range of ways, from vet’s bills to travel costs, palliative care retreats to state-of-the-art medical equipment and mobility aids. The organisation is currently trying to find a specialist lawyer who can help them be legally ratified as a charity with the Charity Commission.   

Ryan, who will take over as chief judge for YKC agility events in 2020, has competed for a decade in YKC agility, helped and encouraged by his mother during that time.

Proud Ryan said: 'I wasn’t even aware that a friend had nominated me until the Kennel Club contacted me. I won that round and then found out I had been entered into a public vote for the main award. To think that the public voted for me to win is really nice and gives us the kind of boost we need to move what we hope to soon be calling our charity forward.'

The YKC was inundated with nominations for one of five categories in the prestigious award which celebrates the hardworking, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers. Each category winner was invited to Crufts 2020 for the award ceremony following a public vote to decide the overall YKC ­Young Person of the Year award.

The category winners were:

  • Community Award – Ryan Hennessy (24)
  • Volunteering Award – Jamie Smith (14)
  • Personal Achievement Award – Georgina Kent (15)
  • Sporting Talent Award – Taylor Lyon (11)
  • Inspiring Others Award – Jodie Forbes (23)

The YKC Young Person of the Year award is one of the highest levels of achievement for young dog lovers. For over thirty years Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy to the winner of the award at Crufts, in memory of their son, Shaun. 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.

Previous winners of the competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping organise dog activities in the local community, and assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, commented, 'Congratulations to Ryan for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. He is a well-deserved winner and is a real inspiration to many other young dog lovers around the UK. Well done to our other finalists and to all of our other YKC members who were nominated this year. They truly deserve the recognition for all of their hard work, time and dedication that they put into helping the lives of dogs.'

The category winners were each invited to Crufts 2020 on Sunday 8th March for a special presentation ceremony in the YKC ring where they each received an exclusive ambassador’s badge and award.

For further information about Crufts visit www.crufts.org.uk. If you would like to find out more about the Young Kennel Club and how to join please contact the YKC team by emailing ykc@thekennelclub.org.uk or visit www.ykc.org.uk.

Crufts took place from 5th – 8th March 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, visit www.crufts.org.uk.


YKC summer Camp Back with a Bark

The Young Kennel Club (YKC) has announced the dates for its YKC Summer Camp, returning for the first time in six years.

Open exclusively to YKC members aged from 8-15, the camp is a perfect opportunity for children and teenagers to enjoy a holiday with their four-legged friends, whilst also keeping active, joining in with social events and taking part in plenty of training activities with their dog.

This year's camp will be held at Rutland Showground in Oakham from Wednesday 12th August – Monday 17th August and will include the opportunity to practise a range of canine activities including agility, scent work, obedience and heelwork to music, as well as a full social schedule with team-building games, barbeques, a quiz night and a sports evening.

YKC members must have a parent or guardian on-site at all times, but all the family are welcome to enjoy the fun.

Vanessa McAlpine, Events Executive said, 'YKC Summer Camp has previously been a real highlight in the Young Kennel Club calendar so we are delighted to see it return this year. Kids and their dogs are in for a really varied week of fun and games, with invaluable opportunities to socialise, train and compete alongside like-minded friends.'

Young dog lovers who are interested in attending summer camp should visit www.ykc.org.uk to find out about becoming a member, whilst visitors to Crufts 2020 can join the Young Kennel Club at a discounted rate of £12 by visiting the YKC stand.

The price for one member and family attending, including camping pitch, is £250. If another YKC member who is a sibling wishes to attend their cost of training and team activities will be £200. YKC members wishing to attend the camp can reserve a place by visiting www.ykc.org.uk/content/for-members/ykc-summer-camp/.

YKC Young Person of the Year Award

The Kennel Club has revealed the names of the five inspirational young people who have been nominated for the prestigious YKC Young Person of the Year including two of our own agility Juniors - Ryan Hennessey and Taylor Lyon. The accolade celebrates the dedicated, inspirational and selfless actions of young dog lovers, all of whom are members of the Young Kennel Club (YKC). It is the highest achievement for young people who are passionate about dogs and recognises those who are going above and beyond to help transform the lives of others as well as encouraging their peers to make a difference with the help of their canine friends.

The winners of each category have been chosen by the YKC team at the Kennel Club and will now face a public vote with the overall winner to be announced at Crufts on Sunday 8th March. For over 30 years, Ed and Cindy McAlpine have presented the Shaun McAlpine Trophy to the winner of the award at Crufts, in memory of their son who sadly died. Shaun had himself achieved considerable success as a dog handler.

Previous winners of the annual competition have been selected for their volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, helping to organise dog activities in the local community and for assisting others through training, stewarding and mentoring.

This year’s finalists are:-


Community Award winner
Celebrating young people who show commitment and passion through social action – fundraising, campaigning, activities at school, college or community for the welfare of dogs.
  • Ryan Hennessey (24) set up the organisation Forever Agility last year in memory of his mum, Ann, who passed away from cancer in March 2019. Ryan wanted to replicate the love and support shown by the agility community following Ann’s diagnosis, with the aim to be there for those who need help whilst facing life-limiting or long-term illnesses. Forever Agility has helped others in a range of ways, from vet’s bills to travel costs, palliative care retreats to state-of-the-art medical equipment and mobility aids.  
Sporting Talent Award winner
Celebrating young people who show real passion and dedication for competing or training their dog.
  • Taylor Lyon (11) has been taking part in agility since she was five years old and trained her own working Cocker Spaniel puppy, Elliott, in agility since that same time. Taylor has various accolades under her belt, including winning the Under 12 Medium YKC Jumping last year as well as coming third in the YKC Agility Dog of the Year Final at Crufts. Taylor was also selected to represent Junior Agility Team GB with both Elliott, and her friend’s Border Collie, Tariq, at the European Open Junior Agility Championships in Switzerland, winning two bronze medals.
Volunteering Award winner
Celebrating young people who dedicate their time to helping others and gone over and above what would be expected of them.
  • Jamie Smith (14) volunteers his free time after school and at weekends to the national charity, the Cinnamon Trust, which helps organise volunteers to walk dogs for the elderly, terminally ill or housebound. Along with his mum, Jamie walks Sam, a nine-year-old Dachshund, twice a week on behalf of Sam’s owner who is unable to walk. Jamie lost his dad last year and experienced the effects of terminal illness and not to be able to look after yourself, or a pet, so finds the time he spends with Sam and her owner very rewarding.
Personal Achievement Award winner
Celebrating young people who have overcome personal challenges with their dog as well as the skills they have developed to achieve success.
  • Georgina Kent (15) has recently completed a year of intensive treatment for lymphoma and has since begun a further 18 months of maintenance treatment. Georgina’s diagnosis came at the same time that their family had chosen a new Border Terrier puppy, Dylan, and he joined the family at the same time that Georgina returned from her first month’s stay in hospital. Georgina credits Dylan’s beautiful nature with helping her to get better, and she has begun practising agility in the garden with both Dylan and his brother, Boo, ready to return to classes.
Inspiring Others Award winner
Celebrating young people and their dogs who through their positive attitude and inspirational approach have proved to be a good role model.
  • Jodie Forbes (23) counts working with difficult and misunderstood dogs as the most important thing to her and in 2019, set up a dog training and behaviour academy called Make Your Mark, alongside her partner. Over the past year they have worked with over 100 dogs in a variety of activities that they would normally be unable to attend due to their behaviour problems. Jodie regularly visits schools to teach and has also spoken publicly of her own struggles with mental health disorders and acceptance of neurodiversity, and how there can be so much more behind ‘problem behaviours’.

Speaking about the finalists, Vanessa McAlpine, Kennel Club Education Executive said: “These five young finalists are a credit to themselves, their dogs and their communities. They demonstrate a level of determination, passion, courage and selflessness that we are proud to see in our Young Kennel Club members.

'We receive so many inspirational entries for young people every year and it’s a tough task to select just five, but everyone who received a nomination should be so proud of their achievements. These stories prove how much a dog can impact someone’s life and vice versa. We are looking forward to welcoming our finalists to Crufts and seeing who the public have chosen as the winner of the YKC Young Person of the Year award in March.'

The overall winner will be decided via an online vote open to all, which can be found at https://www.crufts.org.uk/dog-exhibitors/young-kennel-club/young-person-of-the-year-award/

The finalists in each category have been invited to Crufts 2020 on Sunday 8th March for a special presentation ceremony and each will receive an exclusive YKC ambassador’s badge and award. As well as being crowned the YKC Young Person of the Year, there is a prize fund of up to £750 which will be used towards helping the winner progress their love of dogs.

Juniors Chosen to Represent England at WAO 2020

It’s official! WAO Team England has announced the four Junior Handlers who will be representing England at the World Agility Open Championships in Ermelo in May.

They will be competing for the inaugural title of World Agility Open Junior Champion at the 10th anniversary event.

  • 300 height - Emma Stock with Athena

  • 400 height - Harry Churchill with Marley

  • 500 height - Mariann-Elvie Bayliss with Ila

  • 600 height - Charlotte Baker with Moley

Congratulations to them all. We wish them the very best of luck to the Juniors who will be joining the big boys and girls in The Netherlands.

SWAT Southwest Junior Challenge 2020

After the success of 2019, the SWAT Junior Challenge is entering its 3rd year aiming to promote agility and encourage Junior Handlers in the South West.

With this in mind and after discussion with parents and juniors alike, SWAT has decided that this year, Under 9 Handlers may run dogs also entered in Anysize or Veteran class(s). This allows young Children just starting to compete with retired dogs, a chance to compete with other junior handlers. It is hoped that this will increase the entries in the Under 9 category to match those of the Over 9s. Last year there were ad 16 dogs in the Final, watched by a large crowd which created an electric atmosphere.

As before, there will be a separate competition for Under 9s and 9 and over up to 16. The first and second placed handler and dog from each qualifier will be invited to compete at the Final. If a handler and dog partnership has already qualified in either age group, or is unable to attend, the invitation may be given to the next placed pair (provided they have not been eliminated).

All heats and the Final will consist of a Jumping Course for all heights and with all heights competing against each other. The course will be a flowing Jumping course aimed at building confidence for Junior handlers. 

 The class will have two sets of awards. Under 9 Years old and 9 Years Old and Over (up to 16 years.)

Heats are to be held at the following shows:

  • SWAT - 23rd - 25th May

  • Blackdown - 6th June

  • Blackdown - 14th June

  • South Devon - 21st June

  • Wraxall - 27th and 28th June

  • Sherborne Vale - 28th July

  • SWAT - 31st July

  • SWAT - 1st August

The 2020 Final will take place on Saturday, 1st August at SWAT while the 2021 Final will take place on Saturday, 31st July at SWAT.

For more information, go to the SWAT - Somerset West Agility Training website

Classes for Juniors + One at Phase Purple Shows

At all Phase Purple shows, adults are allowed adults in the ring with the younger handlers.

The UKA Junior Open Championship 2020

The aim of this competition is to encourage Junior handlers to compete against their peers in the sport of Agility and prepare them for their future competitions. 

General Rules

  • Open to all handlers who are under 18 on the 1st December 2020.

  • Open to all levels and all heights. 

  • There will be a separate competition for each height.

Final Qualification

  • The way to qualify for the Junior Open final is through a Junior league table taken from normal UK Agility Class results. (10 spots per height).

  • The Final will be held at the UK Agility Grand Finals and follow the Junior Masters Rules.

Junior League

  • Agility, Jumping, Games and Steeplechase classes held at UKA shows from 1st January 2020 until 27th September 2020 will offer the opportunity for Juniors to gain points.

  • Only classes with UKA progression points will count with progression points being used for the league.

  • Junior handlers must include their Date of Birth on their records.  The league will automatically include handlers with eligible DOB.

  • If a dog is run by two junior handlers and both achieve points, the handler with the most points will qualify that dog.

Junior Masters (Final)

  • The Junior Masters rules will adhere to the standard rules of the regular Masters however course level should be UKA Senior with course time also set using Senior course times.

  • There will be a maximum of 22 obstacles permitted.

Junior Bursary. Wendy Jones has very kindly offered a bursary of £50 to each height winner at the Grand Finals. The bursary must be spent on Dog agility training and will be paid on submission of the receipt for training.


Juniors at UKA Shows

Very few UKA shows now have specific classes for Junior but they do have a Juniors League where all progression point class results go towards a league and the top ten in each height get invited to compete at the UKA Grand Finals. In addition, the league is one of the three qualifying events for Juniors to win a place onto the WAO Team England.

In addition to this,  WAO is opening the event up to one Junior per height from each country next year. The Junior will compete in the same classes as the adults in all the events and the most successful Junior overall will become World Champion. The selection process for Team England is via a points system.  Points are earned from the top ten places of the Junior League, Junior Masters results at UKA Grand Finals and the results from OJAC held in February next year.  


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