NEDA’s Year End Awards program is one of NEDA’s most robust and popular programs. Awards are made at every level in both amateur and open categories, and winners are announced through sixth place. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Champions get beautiful jackets from our sponsor Mountain Horse, and we also give beautiful saddle pads from Dover, as well as a framed certificate. There is never a dearth of applicants so that year end award recognition really means something.
That said, in past years, when the award ceremony took place during the fall symposium dinner, very few of the award recipients actually came in person to pick up their awards. This meant that someone – a volunteer who had already put in countless hours assembling the awards – had to box them up and mail them out to the recipients, sometimes over 100 awards. This not only cost NEDA a lot of money, it also placed a severe burden on our year end award manager. And it was nothing fun at all, just grunt work.
We rely so heavily on our volunteers that we place a very high priority on making their work interesting, and recognizing their value to NEDA. Consequently we embarked two years ago on experiments to see if there were other ways of distributing the awards that would insure that most of them were picked up in person, reducing the number required to be mailed. The 2012 awards were presented on Saturday night of the spring show in Marshfield at a dinner held on the show grounds under a tent. It was a rollicking good time, with DJ and dancing, and afterward, less than a dozen awards remained to be mailed. The 2013 awards were presented at a stand alone dinner held in Cambridge MA in the late fall. It was a wonderful party, also with DJ Paul Eason and dancing. It also featured a terrific presentation by Dr. Jenny Susser about the mental attitudes and challenges that are holding us back from putting on our best performance under pressure. Sadly nearly 100 awards remained to be mailed after that dinner. I ended up mailing them, and they filled every square inch of my Subaru, except the driver’s seat.
The NEDA board, after a lengthy discussion, decided to move our 2014 awards ceremony to the spring show in 2015 for the foreseeable future. Many of the award winners compete there, so even if they do not choose to come to the awards dinner, they can get their awards during the weekend. We could not ignore the burden placed on our manager of mailing a very large number of awards, even though we recognized that award winners would probably prefer to receive their awards closer in time to when the awards are won. We will still announce the winners in the fall and publicize them at that time. I wanted to devote my space in the Tip to explaining this decision to our members. We hope that those of you who are disappointed by this decision will understand how important it is to us to keep our volunteers happy.
Having a board level position and responsibility in NEDA has grown in recent years with the growth of programs and activities. At the same time, several board members who have been involved for many years felt that it was time to focus other activities in their life and open the way for new members and fresh ideas. As we build our board, we are looking hard at all the things we do as an organization to be sure we have a work plan that continues to be doable by the people we ask to do them. If you are interested in stepping up your involvement with NEDA, we’d love to work with you to make a job description that works for you. We have several board positions open currently. If you are interested, please contact Alexandra Dane at Nominations@neda.org for details. NEDA really needs you. In the meantime, get out there and compete, so you’ll be coming to the podium next spring to pick up your award.
I understand your difficulty is distributing award but I will not be able to attending the May 9th program. Will you still be mailing awards to those of us not able to attend?
Second level AA
The mission of the New England Dressage Association is to promote and support the Art and Sport of Dressage to the equestrian community for the purpose of fostering individual and collective growth by providing leadership, education, exhibitions, publications, competitions and to enhance greater public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the discipline of Dressage.