Our trainers

YKC Trainers
Each week we are going to be interviewing one of our Young Kennel Club members who volunteers for us. This is your chance to learn more about each other and find out how to take part in our activities. 
Meet James Moore

James Moore has decades of experience with the Young Kennel Club. He has been volunteering at Crufts for the past four years along with a number of other Young Kennel Club events such as Discover Dogs and Young Kennel Club camp. We caught up with him to find out about the highlights of his experiences with the Young Kennel Club.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I joined the then KCJO (what is now the Young Kennel Club) in 1998, so a very long time!

What activities have you taken part in?

I’ve always competed in handling and breed showing, and for a short time tried agility. I also enjoy training younger members for show handling competitions.

What do you do for work?

I work at the University of Birmingham managing the original historic listed buildings on Campus. Some of these buildings are over 100 years old and require a lot of work and looking after by the Estates team. 

What is your favourite activity?

I will always love show handling, but I also really enjoy watching agility and how all the handlers control their dogs. It’s certainly something I’d like to try again!

Have you competed at Crufts, if so what was your favourite part?

I was lucky enough to compete a few times at Crufts – my first being the South East’s final representative for the KCJO regional handling finals which was a big honour. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to judge at Crufts twice for the Young Kennel Club, both in 2019 and 2020 for the Crossbreed of the Year finals. My favourite part of both handling and judging at Crufts has to be stepping onto the green carpet – it gives me a buzz every time!

What do you do with your dog outside of your activity?

Freida my Field Spaniel is only a puppy at the moment, so we have been to puppy obedience training classes and passed our Good Citizen Dog Scheme puppy foundation course. We’ve also been going to ringcraft training, but also some training at home too. When we aren’t training, we enjoy walks in the woods and park, and also meeting up with her other canine friends – her best friend being an Italian Mastiff called Vito!

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club?

The friends you make! I’ve made friends for life after meeting them at various Young Kennel Club events. We are all from various parts of the country so it’s tricky to always see each other, so we always make the most of being together for birthdays, special occasions and Crufts. It’s no secret that I met my wife through Young Kennel Club, so it will always be a special organisation to be a part of.

Have you volunteered for the Young Kennel Club, if yes what is your favourite part about volunteering?

I first volunteered in 2006 being one of the handling trainers at Young Kennel Club Camp at Melton Mowbray. The following year I took a part in the Outward Bound leadership course and then was asked to volunteer at Discover Dogs and Crufts. I was then asked to be a Team Leader at Young Kennel Club Camp, where I went on to win the overall Camp Team Champion three times. These are some of my favourite memories as they were so much fun to take part in – designing and winning the Young Kennel Club 25th Anniversary Cake which was made into a real cake for Crufts, the numerous talent night dances, Mary Ray coming to train heelwork to music, line dancing, and my personal favourite – sports night!  

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club what would you say?

Do it! You won’t regret it! There are so many things to do and try and the Young Kennel Club has access to all of the dog activities and brilliant trainers just waiting to help you. The training weekends are brilliant – you get to try activities which you normally wouldn’t do, and you may even find your dog has a hidden talent for them! You can also put these to the test by trying to qualify for Crufts too on the competition day. There are also activity specific training days too – I’m lucky enough to run a handling one before Crufts which also features a qualifier for the following year. And it’s not just the training – it’s the free Crufts and Discover Dogs ticket you get too! If you’ve never been before, you can come and see what the Young Kennel Club is all about. And don’t forget the Fetch magazine which is filled with fun stuff to do, articles about the members, and competitions a-plenty! Also, keep an eye out on the social media channels for all things Young Kennel Club. So what are you waiting for – go sign up!

Meet Paige Jepson

Paige Jepson has been competing in the Young Kennel Club for the past 11 years. We caught up with her to find out what she is up to during Covid-19.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am 22 years old and have just completed my BSc in Canine Clinical Behaviour at its Reaseheath College and I’m now teaching agriculture and canine behaviour.

What do you activities do you compete in? 

I regularly compete in obedience, handling and dog grooming. I have just started competing in agility and heelwork to music.

What are you and your dog up to during lockdown? 

There is lots of training when you have eight dogs so we are constantly busy. I have recently just kept a puppy from our litter, she is 15 weeks old and is keeping us super busy. 

You have competed at Crufts before, what was your most memorable moment?

​My most memorable moment at Crufts was when I was awarded Overall Young Kennel Club Young Person of the Year 2019. This was a lifetime achievement. I have also had a variety of places over the years.

You are also a keen volunteer for the Young Kennel Club, tell us more about why you enjoy volunteering for us?

​I have volunteered at Crufts for the past four years along with a number of other Young Kennel Club events such as Discover Dogs and Young Kennel Club camp. I also volunteer for clubs who need help. As well as volunteering I like to always support the Young Kennel Club training days as they are a great way to make friends and see other members improving. I highly recommend joining them!

What is your favourite competition?

My favourite competition is obedience. I enjoy the activity and love training and competing. It really helps to build a bond between both the handler and the dog. 

What is your favourite part about being a Young Kennel Club member? 

The people! The YKC is great for making life long friends all of the competitions are very welcoming and you learn a lot from not only the trainers but other members too.  

If you would like to volunteer at any of our days, please email the Young Kennel Club.

Meet Charlotte Carlisle

Charlotte Carlisle has been a member of the Young Kennel Club for the past nine years. We caught up with her to learn more about her experience with the Young Kennel Club and her fascinating work with Medical Detection Dogs.

How long have you been a member of the Young Kennel Club? 

I have been a member of the Young Kennel Club for about nine years now and I have made so many friends through the Young Kennel Club and also great memories of Young Kennel Club summer camps.

How did you get involved in the world of dogs? 

The Young Kennel Club introduced me to agility and I have gone on to be part of the Junior GB team that went to Luxembourg. I have also competed at Crufts numerous times with my Spaniel Whispa. I got my Border Collie, Deefa, from fellow Young Kennel Club member Paige Jepson.

What do you do for training? 

I train agility at my dog club, Rugby Dog Training Club. I am a volunteer trainer at Rugby Dog Training Club and Young Kennel Club members may have seen me training agility at East of England and Newark.

Where do you work? 

Medical Detection Dogs.

What do you do there? 

I am the Health and Welfare Assistant. We train dogs to detect diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and malaria. We help aid research to develop an early, non-invasive diagnosis of diseases such as prostate cancer. We also train medical alert assistance dogs, who alert clients which conditions such as type 1 diabetes with hypo unawareness, based on odour. At work we are now starting training of Covid-19 detection dogs! It is amazing to be part of this charity and get to work with these life saving dogs.

Meet Caitlin Forbes

When Caitlin Forbes first competed in the Westie ring at the age of seven, she immediately set her sights on competing in the Young Kennel Club ring. These days she works as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. We caught up with her to find out more about her experience volunteering at the Young Kennel Club.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I was a member of the Young Kennel Club for 18 years, I started volunteering nine years ago.

What activities have you taken part in?

As a member, I competed in handling, stakes and grooming. I have volunteered on the stand at Crufts selling merchandise and memberships, working as part of the Young Kennel Club ring party at Crufts and in the past couple of years have helped at the SKC/Young Kennel Club camp in Scotland.

What do you do for work?

I am a Registered Veterinary Nurse and work primarily in surgery.

What do you study at school?

Veterinary Nursing (BSc) at Napier University.

Have you competed at Crufts. If so, what was your favourite part?

I competed in the Westie ring for the first time when I was seven at Crufts and was hooked. I knew from there that I wanted to compete in the Young Kennel Club ring. The following year I qualified for the UK handling finals for the first time which has to be a highlight - my Westie and I also made it onto the opening credits on TV! My favourite part of Crufts is getting to see my friends and showing my dogs.

What do you do with your dog out side of your activity?

I compete in the breed ring with my Cesky Terriers, occasionally my mum’s Glen of Imaal and sometimes handle for other people. Previously I judged Scottish Junior Handler of the Year 2016 and the JHA National Terrier semi-finals in 2018.

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club?

The Young Kennel Club has introduced me to so many likeminded individuals who just want to have fun with their dogs and encourage other young people to do the same.

Have you volunteered for the Young Kennel Club? If yes, what is your favourite part about volunteering?

Crufts and the SKC/Young Kennel Club weekend are the highlight of my year. It is really rewarding to watch how the partnerships between the kids and their dogs grows other the camp. I have also helped run the Young Kennel Club Groomer of the Year qualifier in Dundee for the past three years.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club, what would you say?

Speak to other members, go to Discover Dogs and Crufts, check the website or Facebook page. I have met so many of my friends through competing and volunteering, and has given me the opportunity to try several different disciplines and even participate in the Crufts Best in Show rehearsals. So if you are thinking about it - just do it!

 

Meet Cameron Stokes
Cameron Stokes joined the Young Kennel Club when he was young and these days still takes part in breed showing and handling. We caught up with him to find out what he liked most about his experience volunteering with the Young Kennel Club.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I have been a member of the Young Kennel Club since I was quite young when I started showing when I was around ten. I have been involved in volunteering with the Young Kennel Club for around three years now.

What activities have you taken part in?

I regularly take part in breed showing and handling.

What do you do for work?

I am trainee accountant.

What do you study at school?

At school I study various subjects. When I went to university my main focus was on studying accountancy, as that’s what I wanted to do in life.

Have you competed at Crufts, if so what was your favourite part?

Yes, I have competed at Crufts, just about all the time that I have been showing. It is hard to say what is my favourite part because it is all so good, but if I had to pick it would have to be showing in the breed ring.

What do you do with your dog out side of your activity?

For the last four years I have been judging a few times each year across many different breeds in the gundog group.

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club? 

My favourite part of the Young Kennel Club is competing in the finals at Crufts and doing volunteer work with YKC at events.

Have you volunteered for the Young Kennel Club? If yes, what is your favourite part about volunteering?

It is hard to say what is my most favourite thing about volunteering is because it is all really good. If I would have to choose one thing, it would be volunteering at Crufts and the social aspect that volunteering brings with it.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club what would you say?

I would say it is totally worthwhile joining up to. There are a different range of events that are on offer to members and activities that you can get involved in with your dogs. It offers a great chance to meet people your own age from around the country.

 

Meet Fran McWade
Fran McWade was a member of the Young Kennel Club for 15 years and these days she's a police officer. We caught up with her to find out how how the Young Kennel Club has helped her get to where she is today.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I joined the Young Kennel Club as a member when I was about nine or ten years old, so I was a member for around 15 years. Even though I'm too old now, I still get involved as much as I can. I can't seem to keep away and will jump at every opportunity given to me! So I've been with the Young Kennel Club around 18 years!

What activities have you taken part in?

As a member I mostly competed in the handling competitions and occasionally the stakes. I also entered one of the last biathlon and triathlon competitions being placed 5th in both! I went to a lot of the training events and activities hosted by the Young Kennel Club with my mum. At the training weekends and camps I tried all of the activities on offer - agility, obedience, flyball, heelwork to music - I loved them all! My mum was also able to get involved at camp with activities and would bring my older sister who would also get involved.

What do you do for work?

I'm a police officer. It's a very rewarding career and I enjoy that everyday is different and that I can help the community in which I work in. 

What did you study at school/university/other courses?

I studied Public Services at college followed by a fast track degree in Psychology and Criminology.

Have you competed at Crufts? If so, what was your favourite part? 

I have competed at Crufts in breed and Young Kennel Club handling. I love being able to compete on the green carpet in a new suit and catch up with friends from all over the country. I've been privileged to have been placed in both breed and handling which is always memorable. When I was a Young Kennel Club member I would volunteer in the Young Kennel Club ring and on the membership stand at Crufts. I have also been lucky enough to commentate live on the Young Kennel Club ring!

Do you take part in any dog activities? 

I will always love handling, but I find the agility and heelwork to music fascinating and so entertaining to watch. I don't compete with my dogs anymore, but we enjoy dog walks and snuggling on the sofa with films and blankets. I have in the past also stewarded as well as judged at limit open and championship dog shows in both breed and handling. 

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club? Or why is the Young Kennel Club important to you?

I absolutely love the Young Kennel Club. I get to catch up with friends from all over the UK and it has filled me with confidence in so many aspects of my life. I have developed life skills which have assisted me in my career. I spoke about the Young Kennel Club in my final interview when becoming a police officer. I was able to use the Young Kennel Club for so many examples of skills and behaviour required by the Police Force, these included leadership and teamwork. 

Have you volunteered for the Young Kennel Club? If yes, what is your favourite part about volunteering?

I've volunteered for the Young Kennel Club as a senior member and even though I'm too old to be a member now, I still volunteer as much as I can, as I know how important the Young Kennel Club is to its members. I love being able to help out as much as I can. One of the reasons as I've already mentioned is I get to see my friends and I enjoy being able to give something back to the Young Kennel Club. It's amazing to see the members develop their skills and confidence as the training day/weekends come to an end.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club, what would you say?

Join, join, join! If you love dogs and are aged 6-24 years why wouldn't you? It's the best place to make friends who also have a love of dogs and it's the best place to learn new skills in a fun and friendly environment. You get taught so much more than dog activities. The Young Kennel Club has given me so many opportunities, including commentating at Crufts and placing the group boards in the main arena. I've had some of the most memorable moments at Young Kennel Club camp as a member and a team leader! All of these opportunities and more are available if you become a member of the Young Kennel Club. They will always support their members and help each member achieve their goals, whether that's competing or training in dog activities or for anything else outside of the dog show world.

Meet Neil Ellis

Neil Ellis was a member of the Young Kennel Club for a decade and these days works as a dog trainer and nurse. We caught up with Neil to find out what he got out of his Young Kennel Club experience.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I was a member of the Young Kennel Club for over ten years and have been involved in Young Kennel Club events as a judge or trainer for approximately four years.

What activities have you taken part in?

I teach dog agility for the Young Kennel Club and judge Young Kennel Club agility competitions, including Crufts 2020.

What do you do for work?

Part time nurse and part time dog trainer.

What did you study at school/university/other courses?

I studied Nursing at the University of Surrey.

Have you competed at Crufts. If so, what was your favourite part?

​Yes I have competed at Crufts with six different dogs in both the main arena and Young Kennel Club ring, including the championship class, winning multiple classes. I have judged the Young Kennel Club agility competitions at Crufts 2020.

Do you take part in any dog activities?

​Yes I compete in dog agility. I have a young puppy I am teaching and he will be ready for the summer of 2021. I also train dogs throughout the year and judge all year round, including various international appointments.

Why is the Young Kennel Club important to you?

The Young Kennel Club is important to me because it was a huge part of my childhood. I really looked forward to meeting up with my friends I had met through Young Kennel Club events (summer camp, junior shows etc.) and these are people who I still remain friends with today.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club, what would you say?

Take that opportunity, you won't regret it. You will be taking up an activity with your beloved furry best friends, an activity that you will find yourself doing for the rest of your life, and you will love it!

Meet Adam Newson

Adam Newson joined the Young Kennel Club when he was six years old. These days he works as a Emergency Medical Technician and is studying to become a Paramedic, but still makes time to volunteer at Crufts every year and also judges Afghan Hounds. We chatted to him about his experience volunteering with the Young Kennel Club.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I’ve been a member of the Young Kennel Club since the age of six, since then the Young Kennel Club has been a massive part of my life.

What activities have you taken part in?

I mostly take part in handling and breed showing and have done since a young age.

What do you do for work?

I currently work in London as an Emergency Medical Technician. I respond to 999 calls and provide emergency medical care to people across London.

What did you study at school/University/other courses?

I finished my A-levels in 2014 and had no clue what I wanted to do, so decided not to go to university and got a job instead to fill my time. I kind of bounced from post to post a bit before I finally settled in my current job in 2018 and loved it ever since. I’ve recently started studying at Birmingham University to become a Paramedic.

Have you competed at Crufts, if so what was your favourite part?

I’ve competed at Crufts multiple times, both in the handling ring and breed showing ring. I really enjoy the atmosphere and buzz of competing at Crufts and I love the sportsmanship of most of my fellow competitors. I used to compete in handling with a Crossbreed and it was a privilege to show others that a Crossbreed pet can be just as good as a pedigree show dog in the handling ring.

Do you take part in any dog activities or volunteer?

I volunteer at Crufts every year. I love it because I can give back to the club that has given me so much over the past years. I also get to hang out and catch up with some of my closest friends who I don’t get to see too often. Unfortunately, I live away from home so I don’t get to compete and train my dogs as much as I would like to. Over the past two years I’ve started judging Afghan Hounds and have multiple judging appointments in the future.

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club? Or why is the Young Kennel Club important to you?

My favourite part of the Young Kennel Club is the social side. I’ve made so many friends through the Young Kennel Club , some of which I will have for life, although I don’t see them as often as I would like. Over the years the Young Kennel Club has allowed me to partake on various team building course and to volunteer at events across the country, these have helped me to grow in confidence and to meet new people.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club, what would you say?

My advice for anyone looking to join the Young Kennel Club is to just do it. Throw yourself into it as much as possible and you will definitely not regret it. The Young Kennel Club is such a brilliant organisation and is a brilliant stepping stone into the dog world, even if you don’t have intentions of competing, it’s great for just having fun with you dog!

 

Meet Victoria Wilkins

Victoria joined the Young Kennel Club when she was 20 years old. These days she works as a membership communications manager, but still makes time to volunteer at Crufts every year and also judge Large Munsterlander. We chatted to her about her experience volunteering with the Young Kennel Club.

How long have you been in the Young Kennel Club?

I have been involved with training for the Young Kennel Club for five years since I became too old (let’s say that quietly) for membership of the Young Kennel Club. Before that I joined when our family owned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and was about to get our first Large Munsterlander puppy in 2006. During my time in the Young Kennel Club I competed in handling as it was always a natural companion to the breed showing I was taking part in with my Munsterlanders. It teaches you how to get the absolute best out of your dog and ultimately become a fantastic partnership. I love handling so much and seeing young people take part in it that I’ve been judging the sport for the past ten years, which was the same time I started judging Large Munsterlanders.

What do you do for work?

By trade I am a journalist and I have previously edited award-winning magazines and written for dog showing publications. I’m currently a membership communications manager for an organisation that champions British farmers and growers. It has taken me to some amazing places to meet a fantastic array of people, especially those who work around the clock to put the food we eat on our plates. In 2017 I was lucky enough to be crowned Writer of the Year at an industry awards ceremony against some stiff competition! It’s something I’m very proud of.

What did you study at school/University/other courses?

I studied BA (Hons) Journalism at Staffordshire University, based in Stoke-on-Trent. Throughout our university degree we were responsible for running a local news website which reported on the headlines across Staffordshire. Before getting to university I was home-schooled and unable to take more than four GCSEs so I also took a vocational course in Animal Management and then subsequently a college degree in Media Production. By only being able to take a handful of GCSEs it meant that I had to work extra hard at getting into college and then university. However, it’s proof that hard work and determination can get you places as I graduated with a First Class Honours degree!

Have you competed at Crufts, if so what was your favourite part?

I’ve competed at Crufts ever since our first Large Munsterlander, Isla, was eligible in 2008 and I’ve competed in both the breed ring and the handling ring. One of my most favourite memories at Crufts was winning the Reserve CC with Carly, my second Large Munsterlander under Ferelith Somerfield at one of her last judging appointments. Another standout memory from Crufts was winning the 17-24 Shaun McAlpine Award category in 2014 for my columns and journalism for young people in weekly newspapers and canine magazines. In terms of volunteering, I first volunteered for the Young Kennel Club as part of the Crufts ring party which was a fantastic experience. Not only do you make lifelong friends, but it teaches you vital skills such as timekeeping and organisational skills that you carry forward into your career. I now volunteer as a Young Kennel Club Commentator across all four days at Crufts, focusing on the handling and stakes classes. I haven’t ever judged at Crufts but it is definitely one of my dreams (and goals!) to judge either in the breed ring or handling ring on that famous green carpet.

Do you take part in any dog activities or volunteer?

As an owner of three gundogs, specifically HPRs, I thoroughly enjoy taking part in gundog training with my youngest Munsterlander, Ginny, who is 18 months old. Seeing a dog do what it was bred to do and using that inbuilt instinct is incredible and it gives me such pleasure. Ginny is an extremely biddable dog and she loves learning new tricks too, although she would never be good as a heelwork to music dog as she barks too much when we’re dancing! In terms of judging, I judge breed showing and I have been approved to award my first set of CCs in 2021. This has been one of my life goals and I am so proud to award tickets in my very own breed at one of the biggest dog shows for the Gundog group.

What is your favourite part about the Young Kennel Club? Or why is the Young Kennel Club important to you?

I am sure most people say this, but for me it has been the lifelong friendships I have forged thanks to my time with the Young Kennel Club. There are friends that I have made that I am in touch with on a regular basis and when we do get together at Young Kennel Club events or dog shows, it is as if time hasn’t passed.

I also always love how the Young Kennel Club pushes you to always go that one step further out of your comfort zone and provides you with a great mentality when it comes to competing.

The Young Kennel Club has also been one of the many factors that have changed my life for the better. As I said previously I was homeschooled due to being severely bullied in school. I had absolutely no confidence and the only thing I wanted to do was to spend time with my dog. Through finding a common ground (the dogs) and combining it with being part of a club, the Young Kennel Club really helped my confidence to grow meaning I knew it was going to be fine to step into a ring and show my dog, when previously I couldn’t bear the thought of it. That is something I will always be eternally grateful for.

Have you ever volunteered for the Young Kennel Club?

As well as volunteering as a Crufts commentator across all four days, I have also previously been a team leader at Young Kennel Club camp (Go Squirrels – Young Kennel Club camp runners up 2014), trained handlers at both the Newark and Wales Young Kennel Club weekends and now myself and my fellow Young Kennel Club handling trainer James Moore are lucky enough to have an annual training class before Crufts.

If you could offer any advice to someone wanting to join the Young Kennel Club, what would you say?

Give it all you’ve got. You honestly get out what you put in. The Young Kennel Club has so many amazing opportunities that can shape you as a person, contribute vital skills to your future career and build lifelong friendships. However, you have got to jump in head first.

From someone who had absolutely no confidence at the beginning of my Young Kennel Club journey to now, I can promise you it’s worth it.