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Junior Showmanship Has Its Benefits

Click here to read the complete article
458 – The Annual, 2018-19

BY WILLIAM GIVEN

It is easy, sometimes, I think, to focus on the bad things that, too often, happen at youth sporting events. Whether it is a focus on winning at the expense of learning good sportsmanship, coaches and parents trading insults (or even punches), and the verbal abuse of young players. Junior Showmanship provides the opportunity to bring a great many positive outcomes to the young people who choose to compete in the juniors’ ring.

The friendly competition and the excitement of being at a dog show are two good reasons for participating in Junior Showmanship. However, the American Kennel Club’s Junior Showmanship program provides a bevy of benefits. Let us take a look at some of the many benefits of having children involved in the sport.

DEVELOPING SOCIAL SKILLS
Learning to share is a skill parents commonly introduce their children to at an early age, but being social and playing well with others requires a great deal more than that. Junior Showmanship gives you a forum to practice a range of criti- cal social skills including effective communication and con- flict resolution.

Participating in Junior Showmanship gives you a place to build wonderful friendships and enjoy spending time with your dog doing something you enjoy. If you think of yourself as being a little shy, it can be hard to join in with other young peo- ple you don’t know. Fortunately, you have at least a few things in common with all of the other children, so, the more you so- cialize, the easier it will become.

LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE
Social success is built on the ability to appropriately and ef- fectively communicate. Communication skills are key to main- taining functional relationships. Communication, however, is not limited to talking, it is also about actively listening and picking up on nonverbal cues (body language). With practice, you can develop the ability to read emotions; this will help you establish rapport and learn empathy.

Junior Showmanship is an ideal activity for young people to learn about and practice communication. You may find it easy to approach other young people and ask to join in on the fun. For other children, this does come easily.

MAKING GOOD FRIENDS
Participating in Junior Showmanship means meeting other children that have a love of dogs and a passion for dog shows. These shared interests give you something in common which makes becoming friends easier. Young people who become friends in the juniors’ ring become close friends quickly.

Young people enjoy these friendships and many of the friend- ships you forge through Junior Showmanship will endure for life. And, as friends, you will become a valued support system for one another, both in and out of the sport. Having fun, making friends and spending time with your friends doing something you all enjoy is why you are involved in the sport of Junior Showmanship.

Click here to read the complete article
458 – The Annual, 2018-19

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