Do you know a young harness writer, photographer, announcer, video producer, or other contributor to coverage of the sport? Why not nominate them for USHWA Youth Membership?
Last year, USHWA introduced a new membership category for young harness racing fans with a demonstrated interest in the media side. Three exceptional young participants were named the inaugural USHWA Youth members: Ryder Skinner (Delaware Valley chapter), Jessica Hallett (Florida chapter), and Nathan Bain (Canada chapter). All have renewed their memberships for 2019, and continue to participate in racing-related activities.
This year, the USHWA Youth Membership Committee is opening nominations to the public. As in 2018, Tim Konkle, editor of Midwest Harness Report, generously sponsors the first year of membership for each of the three new USHWA Youth members.
Nominated youth must be under 21 years of age, and a sample of their harness racing media work must be available for committee members to consider. This could be links to online video, podcasts, or articles, or attachments of photography/written work. Other forms of media work, such as social media account management, website design/management, and video game design, will also be considered with documentation (e.g. screenshots, links, letters of reference).
Potential USHWA Youth members can self-nominate, or be nominated by anyone familiar with their contributions to harness racing.
Nathan Bain enjoyed his first year as an USHWA Youth member in the Canadian chapter. "This organization has done a fantastic job with youth in this industry," says the race commentator at Dresden and Leamington Raceway. "When I joined, I had a special presentation made to me at Leamington Raceway. [...] They helped me promote my racing content on social media."
After receiving his USHWA pin, Bain took part in his chapter's annual meeting and even wrote a nomination biography for a Dan Patch Award nominee. He says he has seen more young people active in various aspects of harness racing lately, particularly young women, but he would like to see more individuals with an interest in the operations side of racetracks getting involved. USHWA Youth membership can help faciliate the industry connections to support young participants' specific areas of interest.
While Youth Membership is a non-voting category, it allows young USHWAns an opportunity to participate in chapter and national meetings, find mentorships within their chapter and the larger organization, join USHWA committees, and learn how Dan Patch Award and Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame nominations and voting are conducted. It is a work in progress, seeking to identify how to best serve youth already taking an active role as racing media contributors.
The 2019 nomination deadline is July 31. Three new USHWA Youth members will be named after all applications are considered.
Please send nominations and questions to USHWA Youth Committee Chair Melissa Keith (firstname.lastname@example.org).