It’s never really to early to learn to become a future cat fancier. That’s probably why The International Cat Association created the Junior Exhibitors, tomorrow’s leaders who will shape the future of the TICA, and become future cat judges, breeders and experts.
They present their cat(s) in perfect condition, meticulously groomed, and learn how to present the best qualities of their cats to the judge. Sounds like they are really getting a jump start in the world of cat showmanship.
I first learned about the TICA Junior Exhibitor Program at Meet the Breeds in New York City in mid-November. Two youths from Massachusetts were explaining how the program worked. They said they had participated in TICA shows all over the northeast.
What a great way to groom today’s youth to learn more about cat health, various cat breeds, and showmanship. And since we learned on Monday that TICA has a category for household pets as well as pedigreed breeds, the junior program has a host of opportunities that will impact the future of cat showing.
There are six levels to the program open to anyone under age 18. At the three junior levels, they learn about TICA, showing etiquette and procedures, and basic cat health and welfare. They have many options. They can earn a TICA Junior Exhibitor’s award of excellence, become a TICA and regional club member, and learn a great deal about cat breeds and cat exhibition.
At the higher levels, they may become licensed TICA clerks , working at a show and running a judging ring. At the senior advanced level they can work with an experienced Show Manager participating in the planning and execution of a show, first as a Junior Show Manager and then as a Co-Show Manager.
Each youth has a mentor who serves as a counselor and oversees their progress in the program. They work on individual projects, participate in Junior Exhibitors rings, and can become involved group projects or activities.
In the Junior Exhibitors rings, they will present their cats and describe them, and answer basic questions about cats, show etiquette, and TICA.
According to the TICA website, the TICA junior exhibitor committee was formed to develop, test and refine a TICA junior exhibitor program that would attract, engage and educate youthful exhibitors under the age of 18 by exposing TICA junior exhibitors to both competition and a continuing educational process as they work their way through six levels of achievement.
Goals of the Junior Exhibitor Program include:
- Educating junior exhibitors about feline health and care
- Mentoring other juniors as they build self-confidence
- Inspiring and honoring junior with year end trophies and awards as they learn abut competition and good sportsmanship
- Fostering the future of TICA as juniors continue to exhibit, execute and judge the cats shows of the future
Junior Exhibits perform the following at TICA cat shows:
- Partipate in the Junior Exhibitor ring where the junior compete and are judged based on their knowledge of cat breeds, TICA and general feline husbandry (act or practice of cultivating crops and breeding and raising livestock; agriculture)
- Show their cats. including grooming them, bringing them up to the ring t be be judged and accepting year-end awards
- Working in the judging ring, either stewarding or clerking
- Serving as part of the show committee, as master clerk, hospitality announcer or even a show manager