I feel very honored to be running for President of the American Tan Rabbit Specialty Club; I have been a member of the club for 10 years now and am excited for this opportunity to take my position within the club to the next level. In the past I have held several leadership positions within the club including District Director (7 and 9) and merchandise coordinator. I am currently the Vice President of ATRSC.
I have been raising rabbits since I was in 4th grade; I got my start through my involvement in 4-H and have always kept those same principles in my attitude towards raising rabbits today. I believe in raising my animals as if I was still raising them for Showmanship, Costume classes and other such hands on competitions; my experiences as a 4Her and raising animals for 4H are largely what have shaped my ARBA career. I believe in presenting my animals and myself in adherence with the same code of ethics that was expected when I was showing and now working with 4Hers.
I currently reside in Goshen, NY, having just relocated back to my “hometown” from Chesapeake, VA with my husband this past winter. I am a speech language pathologist and augmentative communication specialist and I currently split my week working for an Easter Seals preschool facility and working at my private practice.
My family and I are the owners of Full Arch Acres Rabbitry in conjunction with TanDandy Rabbitry. My mother and I have been raising and showing Tans since 2003 when I fell in love with Tans during the Royalty judging competition at the ARBA convention. We have since been raising all four varieties of tans and have seen each year yield greater levels of success within our lines including most recently a Best of Breed win at the 2014 Tan Nationals and previously winning Best of Breed at the 2012 ARBA convention following Best Opposite of Breed win in 2011. Our sweepstakes standings, especially over the last four years indicate the consistency in the quality of our animals but also our dedication to the hobby and being active in the local and national show scene. We are at a point were I am very pleased with each animal we produce and I love talking with new breeders and helping to insure that these individuals are set-up with the type of stock with which I was blessed enough to get my start. Marketing and promotion of our breed is certainly one of my greatest passions and I have been lucky enough to see this club grow and expand to new areas of the country over the past several years.
In addition to Tans we have recently begun working with English Spots and Belgian Hares so our barns are certainly hopping! In the upcoming years I hope to work on a collaboration of full-arch specialty clubs to unify these clubs and breeds into hosting Full-Arch specialties and educating judges and show committees on the needs of these running breeds as a whole.
One of the reasons why I have found such passion and joy in this hobby is because while I love my animals and especially the Tan breeds, I especially enjoy the opportunity to spend time with my family. My mom and brother have long been involved in this hobby alongside me and the time we’ve spent together traveling and attending shows as well as the adventures we’ve had across the country are irreplaceable! I truly feel one of the biggest responsibilities of someone in a leadership position within the ATRSC is to insure that this is a club and a breed that families can feel comfortable getting involved in so that they can reflect back a decade from now and share similar experiences and fond memories with their families.
Over the years my love of Tans has not waned and I have been passionate about our breed since the very start. I am honored to have this opportunity to share some of my stances and views on what is needed in order to allow our club to grow and thrive. As President these are the areas I would largely focus:
1. Advocate for the Membership: As a director for the past several years I have had a small roll in advocating for the members of my district. I think the biggest thing we need to keep in mind when holding a leadership role in this organization is that we are truly for the people. We shouldn’t come to leadership with a personal agenda but rather an open mind to listen to the needs of our districts and our club as a whole and advocate for those changes.
As a member of the board one of the things that have truly irked me is that the board has the ability to make decisions that directly affect an entire district without an inclusion of that district in the decision making process, such as when filling a vacant director position. As President, I would like to explore some of the protocols that are in place and make suggested changes that would allow the districts to have more say and more interaction with their directors so that the representation at the board level is more indicative of the districts wants/needs/ideas rather than that of one person.
2. Education: One of the things I truly enjoy most about going to shows and working with new breeders/exhibitors is educating them on our beautiful breed. In addition to working directly with exhibitors I have also had the opportunity to speak at several judges conferences and other education events on the Tan. I would love to see these conferences and events highlight Tans more frequently as I have witnessed and heard concerns from members that there does not seem to be unified standards or judging practices from coast to coast. As President I would love to work with our committees and board members to reach out to larger shows about hosting educational events for exhibitors and judges alike to help promote our breed.
I think the move towards President is a logical progression for me at this time given my involvement in the ATRSC over the past 10 years. As previously mentioned I have held the position of Vice President (current), I was a District Director across two districts for 5 years, I was the merchandise chairperson/coordinator and I have held positions on several committees including the Standards Committee. In addition to these positions I coordinated the ATRSC booth at the National Convention in 2011 where we brought in record sales on our raffle table.
I have attended all but one ATRSC meeting since becoming a director which in years past meant missing additional days of college and graduate school but I’ve always taken my role importantly and my obligations as a director or officer of the club is obviously to be present when the group is meeting so that I can continue to voice the opinions of my district or our members. Additionally, I have attended all National Conventions and all but one Tan National events since taking on a leadership position within ATRSC as well because I feel like it is vital that your leaders be available in person for discussion, even if it is only twice a year when we all are gathered together.
In addition to my activity within ATRSC I am also an ARBA licensed judge and have been judging for the past 6 years. As many of your may know, I had suspended my license back in October 2013 until ARBA took forward action to develop a more appropriate Code of Ethics for which to hold it’s members and it’s judges/registrars. This was something I felt extremely strongly about and I feel that this decision was the best decision for me and my personal beliefs regarding the treatment and protection of the members who form ARBA. I am currently in the process of being reinstated as a judge secondary to seeing the positive changes that ARBA is working diligently to make. I truly love judging as it has allowed me to bring my love for our breed to all areas of the country and beyond so I am thrilled to be able to feel comfortable in reinstating my license. I have loved being offered the chance to travel throughout the country and beyond; it is always a pleasure to judge Tans and meet new tan breeders along the way!
It is for these reasons that I feel that I am a strong candidate for President of the American Tan Rabbit Specialty Club. I am passionate about our breed and about advocating for the membership to insure that the leadership and board continue to enforce fair practices and that the membership voice is given equal weight and consideration when making important decisions within the club. I am excited for the opportunity to work with members across the country to bring our club together in a more unified manner and to bridge the gaps that may exist within the club.
It is important that all members execute their right to vote in these upcoming elections; this is truly an opportunity for the members voice to be heard and the result a direct reflection of what the needs and desires of the membership may be for the upcoming term.
Please vote Morgan Schutz Hendricks for President of the American Tan Rabbit Specialty Club!