When Sydney Young got the call informing her that she had been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 AHA Youth of the Year award, she hung up the phone and cried. Then she sent a text to the caller just to be sure she wasn’t imagining it. It was an emotional achievement for the young woman from Sherwood Park, AB.
The perpetual trophy, along with a $1000.00 scholarship were presented to Sydney this past fall, at the AHA National Convention. Accepting the award, Sydney’s sentiments portrayed how much she appreciated and recognized the efforts of those who helped her get to this point. It was a long list of thank-you’s.
“I look out (there) …and I see old friends and new ones, all of who have been a part of shaping who I am today. Growing up in the Arabian horse community has been the greatest opportunity I could ever imagine and for that I thank every single person in this room… I am proud to call you my teammates and friends.” Her words give you an idea of the kind of young woman this is and precisely why she was chosen for this award.
Sydney has been a dedicated and active member of the Arabian community for several years. She served as the Region 17 Youth Vice Director from 2010 to 2013 and Youth Director since 2014. Her involvement saw the creation of a Youth Regional Show committee and the implementation of numerous fundraisers, including a Trainer Egg & Spoon Jackpot, silent auction, dunk tank and t-shirt sponsorship. The funds raised are earmarked to support future youth scholarships in the region. Sydney was most recently elected to the Treasurer’s position within the AHYA and is the Canadian Nationals Youth Committee Chair. Her role as volunteer and mentor isn’t limited to the horse world. She has also been involved with Hearts in Action where she led a group of 10-year-olds with disabilities.
Sydney adds to this numerous achievements in the show ring with her horses. She has successfully competed regionally, nationally and at Scottsdale, most recently earning a Reserve Championship in the PB Hunter JTR 14-18 and two additional Top Tens at Canadian Nationals with her gelding Texxas.
Sydney noted how fortunate she has been to not only pursue her passion for horses, but also that she has had the chance to travel the world and learn about other cultures. In her experiences abroad she has visited over 20 different countries including three months spent in Southeast Asia, traveling and studying international business, English, world issues and physical education. She also has plans her to pursue her other passion – the fashion industry. Having participated in the Western Canada Fashion Week, she intends to put on her own show this coming fall.