Thank you, mentors, thank you!
We don't say it often enough, but your generosity in sharing your time and experience is greatly appreciated...not only by those you mentor directly, but by this webmaster, and I'm sure others in the sport.
We want to take this opportunity to send our personal thanks and to
provide space for those who have benefited from the SDC Mentor Program to publicly send
their thanks and comments on their mentoring experience.
If you want to thank your mentor(s), email comments or stories here
Two years ago I was in desperation, seeking help for a problem that I was faced with. Living in eastern Wisconsin, I found that there were absolutely no mushers that lived near by. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to mush, but nobody thought that I was serious, so it took me until 7th grade to finally convince my parents that this was a part of me. With an Alaskan Husky, a Dalmatian mix, and a homemade sled, I finally started mushing a year later.
Just as I dreamed, I loved it, but I still felt a bit of emptiness. I live in the city, so I can't have more than 3 dogs. I had never seen another musher, and I wanted to someday compete in 2 specific races, the Jr. Yukon Quest, and the Jr. Iditarod. Much of my free time was spent browsing the internet for training tips and options for running these two races. Finally I came across the Sled Dog Central web site which had a list of mentors. I probably contacted almost everyone in Wisconsin and Alaska. Since you must be younger than 18 years old to run these two races, I was running out of time. Many mentors told me that my dreams were unrealistic...big let down.
Just because I was not born in a mushing family, or I was not born in a mushing community, doesn't mean that my dreams are unrealistic. I found that out when Zoya DeNure, Crazy Dog Kennels, replied to my plea with a job offer. She offered me a handling job for two months in Alaska. She gave me the greatest opportunity of my life. Just by working at the kennel during the summer I learned so much. We've been friends ever since, and I recently just got back from Alaska again, after training for a couple of weeks. It was my first time being on a dog sled with more than 3 dogs and the first time I saw another musher on a sled.
I'm planning on running the Jr. Yukon Quest next year after a couple more weeks of training before the race. It's a long shot, but if you don't take a step forward you're not going to go anywhere. Zoya has given me hope for racing, and that's why I want to thank her for being my mentor and my friend.
I would like to thank my mentor, Terry Quesnel of Hythe, Alberta!! He is always close at hand to check equipment, help me with dogs, you name it.
Thanks a lot, Terry! I really appreciate all your help!!!!
Jacob Fehr, Elmworth, Alberta
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