Region 12, which encompasses seven states-Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North and South Carolina-holds a Youth Jamboree each June for children and teens up to 18 years of age who want to learn more about horses, their care, and how to ride them. 2009 was the 21st year that the region has conducted this event.
Mary Alice Hudson, manager of the Youth Jamboree, is the Youth Coordinator for Region 12, and has been involved with this project for most of its 21 years.
"We had approximately 65 kids at Youth Jamboree this year," Hudson said, "and some of the best volunteers ever," she added.
Over the years, trainers and clinicians from the region have volunteered their time and expertise, this year including: Catie Flattich, Carolyn Hansen (over fences), Jane Garrison, Robin Ginn (dressage), Cyndi Gall (trail, western pleasure, and showmanship), and Jackie Edmunds (showmanship and saddleseat). Trainer Dale Brown also volunteered his services for a day.
For the past two years, the Jamboree has been held at T. Ed Garrison arena in Clemson, SC. Western Carolinas (WCAHA), a Region 12 club whose members span the Upstate of North and South Carolina, sponsored Pizza night on Thursday, and hosted games and other activities for Jamboree participants. WCAHA also funded two scholarships to the Jamboree through an essay contest open to its youth members.
Over the five-day Jamboree, participants (many of which are first-time riders) learn about basic horse care such as grooming and braiding, choosing proper tack and tacking up a horse, and setting up a dressage ring or a trail course.
In addition, discipline clinics are held for every discipline with the exception of driving. The main purpose of the Jamboree is to educate the children so they can go home and enjoy safe and fun horse-related activities such as trail riding or participating in local or rated horse shows.
The event culminated in two shows at which participants could ride or present their horses. Classes in dressage, over fences, halter, and sport horse under saddle were offered, and open to all breeds. On the last day, a rated Arab show was held.