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East Tennessee Retriever Club

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Copyright © 2005.
All rights reserved.
June 19, 2023.


ETRC Youth Program

The ETRC Kevin Luthenauer Young Handler Program


Kevin Luthenauer, a long-time ETRC Member and Past President, died in August 2015.  Kevin was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt.  He was passionate about dogs, and believed that a well-bred and well-trained dog was an asset to any family.  He also felt strongly that giving back to the sport he loved would help perpetuate the outdoorsman lifestyle, and in spite of years of chronic health problems, he did all he could to participate in the sport he loved.  To honor his commitment to the sport and the hunt test community, his family asked that donations in lieu of flowers be made to ETRC and be used for supporting and encouraging young people to pursue retriever sports.  This program was inaugurated in 2016.


This plan outlines program guidance for the Luthenauer Young Handler Program. It will remain in effect until revised or canceled by majority vote of the ETRC Board.


Any interested youth who is under the age of 23 and is enrolled full-time at a public or private school (elementary, middle or high school), or in a college or university associate or baccalaureate program is eligible to participate.

To participate in the program, the candidate must complete an application form each year. If a candidate is under the age of 18, his or her program application must be signed by a parent or guardian and the applicant will be considered an ETRC youth member. If over 18, the applicant will be a full ETRC member entitled to vote and hold office. The normal application fee for membership will be paid for by Program funds if the applicant is not otherwise part of an ETRC family membership.

The application may be submitted via email or snail mail to the Youth Program Coordinator for consideration by the ETRC Board of Directors. This program will accept applications at any time during the year.

Selected applicants will be notified of acceptance for participation following review of their application by the Board. The number of Participants accepted will depend on the amount of  money in the fund, including any amounts the ETRC Board decides to allocate to the fund and any further donations from the family or other individuals. Also, second and subsequent year participants must have completed the required 8 hours of volunteer activities during the previous year.

Sponsored Entry Fees for ETRC Club Events

Club Trials. The Fund will pay directly to ETRC all entry fees for approved program participants in all club trials, and any for-fee seminars or events held by the Club.

Sponsored Entry Fees to AKC Hunt Tests

The Fund will reimburse the entry fees of youth program participants who enter AKC hunt tests for up to a total of 6 tests a year (including ETRC tests).  To receive a refund, the participant must submit proof of entry and participation to the Youth Program Coordinator, in the form of a written copy of the Entry Express results or an email link to those results, together with the name to whom the check should be payable and a mailing address.  The ETRC Treasurer will mail a check to the provided address.  In the case of participation in an ETRC sponsored AKC Hunt Test, the refund may be disbursed by the ETRC Secretary/Treasurer at the completion of the event once the Judges’ Books have been received by the Hunt Test Secretary.  Passing the test is not required for refund.

Young Handlers Seminar

ETRC will attempt to arrange for at least one youth handling seminar during the Club Year.  This seminar will be free for all youth members whether they are program participants or not, and will be conducted by one of our club pros, semi-pros, or senior handlers.  Parents and other ETRC adult members may audit this seminar but may not bring dogs to work, in order to ensure that the focus on developing handling skills is on the young handlers.

Carpooling Assistance Provided

Youth program participants who need a ride to any ETRC or other supported event should contact the Youth Program Coordinator for assistance.  The Program Coordinator will attempt to find someone who will be willing to provide transportation for the youth handler / dog.

Volunteer Activities Expected

Volunteerism is a key aspect of retriever sports.  To that end, all youth program participants are expected to help at club events as needed, as junior marshals, runners, office assistants, equipment assistants, bird kids, etc.  A minimum of eight (8) hours work is expected during the club year, and assignments will be coordinated by the Youth Program Coordinator. 

End of the Year Awards

The Fund will provide a participation award to all program participants who participated in one or more Youth Program events during the year.  In addition, the high point Youth Participant will receive a Plaque or Trophy (TBD) at the Annual Meeting and awards banquet.  Points (to be maintained during the year by the Youth Program Coordinator) will be awarded as follows:

  1. Participation in an ETRC Organized Training Day – 1 point per session
  2. Participation in an ETRC Club Trial:  1 point
  3. Passing one or more events at each ETRC Club Trial:  1 point
  4. Participation in an ETRC AKC Hunt Test: 2 points
  5. Passing an ETRC Hunt Test: 2 points
  6. Participation in another club’s AKC hunt test: 1 point
  7. Passing another club’s AKC hunt test: 1 point
  8. Attending ETRC’s young handlers seminar: 2 points
  9. Attending ETRC’s open handling seminar: 2 points
  10. Earning an AKC hunt test title:  2 points (any level, awarded for each level)
  11. Volunteering at a Club Event: 1 point for every day volunteering

In the event of a tie in total points, the award of any Plaque or Trophy will be determined solely by Youth Program Coordinator and/or by the ETRC Board, and the essays submitted by the participants may be taken into consideration in making such final determination.

Click here for this information in printable pdf format
or here for a youth program application..