Since 1976 HHYF has dedicated our efforts and resources to projects which enable young people to learn more about harness racing. The early day camps took place at various fairgrounds in the Midwest and quickly spread to the East coast. In 1999, at the request of Harness Track of America’s Stan Bergstein, HHYF developed the curriculum used today for the intensive 5-day overnight events then known as Harness Racing Youth League.
Now renamed Summer Programs in order to better describe the variety of educational programs offered, HHYF travels extensively each spring, summer and fall sharing racing’s excitement and “love of a horse” with students across the United States. HHYF maintains a stable of Trottingbreds along with their equipment and teaching materials. Each year, staff and horses travel many miles to put smiles on young fans’ (and their families) faces.
Growing our future requires commitment from our wonderful donors, volunteers and leadership from our 15-member board of trustees. We realize that this strong support system makes it possible for HHYF to continue our important mission. We remain dedicated in our efforts to deliver the highest quality instruction, information and equine interaction as we continue to provide harness racing opportunities to the next generation.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to giving young horse lovers the opportunity to learn about driving and Standardbred horses. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976 and our programs include interactive learning experiences with race horses, equine scholarship administration, and creation and distribution of educational materials related to harness racing.
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation began as a subcommittee of the Ohio Standardbred Breeders Association in the early 1970s. In 1976, David Dolezal completed the not for profit paperwork making HHYF an independent (and national) organization. Today, more than four decades later, HHYF continues to educate young people about harness racing with our unique hands-on opportunities.
· HHYF has awarded and/or administered scholarship awards totaling nearly $725,000;
· HHYF has created new or increased awareness of harness racing to thousands of young people and conservatively has traveled more than 200,000 miles just since 1999;
· HHYF has received the American Youth Horse Council’s Partnership Award and the US Harness Writers Association Proximity Award in recognition of its efforts;
· In a recent survey, HHYF received 100% endorsement, (either “excellent” or “very good”), from parents when responding to survey questions regarding overall satisfaction with their child’s camp experience, meeting expectations of camp, positive impact of camp for child, and expectation that the camp will increase the family involvement in harness racing!
“I just wanted to thank HHYF for everything that you have done for Connor this summer. You took a chance on a kid from PA and made him the happiest he has ever been…his desire and want to continue harness racing is endless…. Please let me know what we need to do to continue his dream. He is already talking about camp next year! Your program is one of the best I have ever seen and I am glad we are now a part of it. I look forward to working with you in the future at events and future races. Again I can not express how grateful we are for everything.” (recent excerpt from note from Connor’s dad)