Growing our sport means inspiring the youth of today to become the stars of tomorrow. Perhaps no other nonprofit makes a bigger impact in that arena than the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Each year, the staff and volunteers travel from racetrack to racetrack hosting programs ranging from one to five days where kids who have demonstrated an interest in racing get to experience virtually every aspect of the sport. But the ripple effect is even more substantial because the media loves reporting on it—and this year, the PHHA-sponsored program at Pocono even made front page headlines. It's the kind of publicity that's simply priceless.
The experience for campers is priceless, too. Over the course of five days, they learn everything from what it takes to run and manage a racetrack to actually caring for and racing horses. A big shout out goes to over a dozen local volunteers too, ranging from drivers to trainers to racetrack staff, who pitch in on the final day for real races where the kids grab the lines (with an experienced driver riding along in the bike for safety) and get an authentic racetrack experience. There's even a "program" for the races, which are announced by Pocono race caller Jim Beviglia, followed by an awards ceremony.
Take a look behind the scenes of this year's camp in the video below:
Plus, check out the actual races where kids actually compete on track: