Professional Development Program (PDP)
Sponsored by the MFHA Foundation and Hunt Staff Benefit Foundation
The MFHA Foundation is now in its 13th year of the Professional Development Program (PDP), an exciting program for hunt staff. The goal is to enhance the experience of professional hunt staff by encouraging professionalism, improving competence in the hunt field and the kennels and allowing hunt staff the opportunity to network - exposure to other hunts, other staff and their styles of hunting and kennel management.
If you are a subscribing member, employed by a member hunt and want to improve your skills; any huntsman, whipper-in, or kennelman can apply.
This year-long course runs from May 1st to May 1st, in parallel with the traditional employment year of hunt staff. Each participant receives an extensive library of hunting books, audiotapes, DVD’s and pamphlets published by the MFHA & MFHA Foundation that may be kept for future reference. Professional staff participants receive a small monetary grant to assist with their expenses during the course. This grant does not apply to honorary staff. Much of the class is conducted online through e-mail. All participants will have access to the course instructor via e-mail or phone at any time.
- Open-book tests on program material and experiences with questions focusing on the aspects of handling hounds in the hunting field and in the kennels.
- Attend the Virginia Hound Show and spend time in the ring with judges to learn what they are looking for and how they make decisions.
- Visit the MFHA Office (day after the VA Hound Show) to learn what the MFHA does and how they can assist them, review the online MFHA Stud Book Program, research potential breeding combinations and how to register hounds.
- Group kennel tour (3-4 day trip) visiting some of the premier kennels in the country and allowing the group to build their network with each other as well as with the huntsmen visited.
- Hunt with a hunt (or hunts) in a different part of the country. When possible, participants are sent to an area of the country that has several hunts, trying to get them to as many as possible.
- Day of hunting with course instructor at participant’s hunt. Participant will receive personalized guidance and opportunity to ask questions and get acquainted.
- Participant must meet all testing, task and travel requirements to graduate from the PDP. The course can be demanding, but will in no way interfere with performance of their regular duties with the hunt.
- All trips and official activities will be paid for by the MFHA Foundation and/or donors.