BD Youth Director: term two priorities
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BD Youth Director Claire Moir will be put forward for ratification for a second term of four years at next month's AGM. She's worked hard with her office and volunteer team to achieve a number of objectives in her first four years and has ambitions plans for the next four.
Claire Moir – Priorities for my second term as BD Youth Director
In my campaign for election four years ago, I outlined six priorities in my mission statement, which I felt would make a positive difference. As a collective team of staff and volunteers, we’ve made significant progress in those key areas;
Priority 1: To provide equal opportunities and challenges in the then ‘BYRDS’
Update: The introduction of the Foundation and National Academies have provided opportunities for a number of riders. The Foundation Academies are heavily subsidised and the National Academy is BEF funded, thus they have enabled BD Youth to offer training and education to members at greatly reduced, or no, cost. This gives riders increased access to some of our experienced young coaches who have achieved international competitive success. Academies provide BD Youth members and their families support in all aspects of life as a competitive rider. Alongside developing their skills, knowledge and confidence, they can widen their friendships and contacts throughout the sport.
Priority 2: The Introduction of BD Youth Horse & Pony Management Certificates
Update: The first three tiers of our new horse care programme are up and running on-line, with further practical assessments in the pipeline for 2021. I am very grateful to both Anne Ratcliffe on our Youth Committee and Hannah James, our Youth Development Officer, as well as the team in the office, who have all worked so hard to achieve this key goal of my first four year term as Director.
Priority 3: Raise awareness of what BD Youth can offer members
Update: The numbers are very positive: over 40 members completing the DiSE programme in the last four years, around 25 undertaking the Young Professionals Programme and the introduction of a new AASE programme running in conjunction with Haddon Training.
Through social media and regional communications, knowledge of these programmes is more widespread. We are continuing to optimise social media as our means of communication, with further digital initiatives in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond.
Priority 4: Developing youth riders who are training their young horses
Update: The introduction of the ‘A’ Squad Young Horse class at the Youth Inter-Regional competition has given further opportunities for these members.
Priority 5: Unifying the method of training delivery throughout the country.
Update: A modified form of evaluating and assessing rider-squad levels has resulted in riders’ performance being better recorded and evaluated. This gives us a more accurate picture of how BD Youth members are developing and improving right across the country, which will enable more efficient and targeted development of youth training in future.
Finally, the first major change that was not on my original mission statement was the name change from BYRDS to something that clearly identifies what we were here for: BD Youth.
In my first term, with considerable help from my fantastic committee, together with massive support from the Training & Education team of Charlotte Osborne and Hannah James, I am proud to say that we have achieved everything I set out to do four years ago.
So what’s next?
I have six clear goals in mind for the next four years:
1. Establish the regional rider squads as the bedrock of the regional/national youth system.
Squads educate BD Youth riders in their technical ability and understanding. In future, squads will also facilitate riders, and their families, to manage their horses efficiently and correctly as they progress up the squad levels.
2. Develop and root the Academies as the ‘spine’ of the BD Youth programme
I intend to integrate as many aspects of youth education within the Academies as possible. This will avoid unnecessary repetition of effort, reduce costs and offer a clear pathway through the youth programme, whether a member’s goals are to ride internationally or to pursue a career in a supporting role within our sport.
BD Youth has begun this process by integrating FEI test-riding in the Foundation Academies, providing opportunities for Foundation Academy Athletes to gain the necessary scores for possible CDI (international) selection. I would like to develop the Academies further so that they offer ongoing mentoring and support for the older Academy Athletes in their search for future careers.
3. Embed the Horse & Pony Management Certificates within the BD Youth system
COVID-19 has delayed the rollout of the practical elements, but by the end of 2021 we should have everything in place with all five tiers fully operational.
4. Continue targeting our Youth Coaching to equip our Accredited Coaches with the necessary skills to educate youth riders.
These range from the ability to deliver engaging sessions, which develop technique and knowledge for groups of riders aged six years upwards, to the skills and technical expertise required to produce a rider whose goals are to win medals at the European U21 Championships.
5. Grow additional opportunities for BD youth riders who are training young horses up the levels
We’ll be developing mechanisms to include these riders in regional teams, so that they can still have challenging targets to achieve and achieve their own competition goals.
6. Support BD Youth parents
Any rider is heavily reliant on their parents or guardians, many of whom do not come from a ‘horsey background’. We’ll help with guidance so that they feel confident to nurture, help and bolster their children positively and productively as they travel along the BD Youth Pathway.
There is much to achieve, but we certainly won’t be standing still over the next four years. Thank you for entrusting BD Youth to my care for another four years, subject to ratification by BD members at the AGM in October. I am really looking forward to leading such a fantastic team once again, with some exciting initiatives ahead.