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Andrew Rainbow Ockwell
A a great ambassador for the YES! Programme who gave passionate support for the programme at the GCCF Council Meeting in June 2010


The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s Young Exhibitors’ Scheme


What is YES!?

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the Young Exhibitor Scheme (YES!). 

So, who are we, and what do we do?

The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy is the oldest cat registration body in the UK, dating back to 1910, with the first cat show in the UK taking place even earlier on Thursday 13th July 1871, so it would be fair to say we know a thing or two about our four legged, purry friend – which is not to say we’re never willing to learn more!

There are more than 150 member clubs of the GCCF currently catering for 39 recognised breeds, with several other new breeds seeking to gain preliminary recognition at the moment.  For the GCCF to officially recognise a ‘New Breed’ you can be sure that it will not only have taken the cat’s unique appearance and colour/s into consideration, but also how the health of the cat will be impacted by its appearance too.

So what is YES! Put simply, YES! is an educational programme designed to encourage youth participation in the Cat Fancy.  It is a structured programme for the growth and development of junior (8 – 16+) exhibitors within the GCCF.  We hope to encourage young people to continue to enjoy and understand their hobby as adults and so become the exhibitors, breeders, stewards, judges and show managers of the future.

What is the scope of YES!?

The scheme focuses upon responsible cat care and ownership alongside the exhibition of cats and the management structure surrounding a GCCF Licenced Show.  We aim to build a strong foundation for future development, not only in personal advancement, growth and responsibility, but also a deepening respect and recognition for all animals, felines in particular.  Young exhibitors who join the scheme will be encouraged to progress from Novice to the Advanced level through a series of structured activities, learning strategies and personal involvement.

The programme is designed to increase the candidate's knowledge of all domestic cats, whether of unknown or pedigree origin.   For the pedigree breeds, all aspects of body and head type, colours and patterns and their different coat qualities will be covered as well as basic genetics and an introduction to the work carried out by the Breed Advisory Committees (BAC’s) responsible for each breed.  For the domestic shorthair we will explain the differences between a household and pedigree pet in show terms and the conditions that need to be met for them to be shown.

Candidates will be able to develop their skills with regard to show preparation and grooming as well as the clerical aspects of entering cats into shows and recording results, running a section or special event alongside a show, and the skills necessary to become a hall or show manager.

What can candidates achieve?

We undertake a system of evidence based learning, with a strong focus on the candidates abilities and strengths.  Progress and success is measured and rewarded at every stage with a special focus on the candidate's practical knowledge of cats, cat care and cat shows.

Candidates progress from Novice to the Advanced level of the scheme by:-

  • Completing work sheets.
  • Keeping a Show Diary.
  • Practical demonstrations –
    • Presenting their cat to a judge
    • Second Stewarding
    • Undertaking table work (clerking) at a Show

Candidates may also achieve Special Certificates which are Exceptional Achievement Awards for:-

  • Outstanding work in the “My Cat” project activity.
  • Outstanding Presentations.
  • Outstanding Second Stewarding.
  • Outstanding table work at a show.
  • Or extra activities such as running a cuddly toy competition or treasure hunt within a show (with the Show Managers full support and with prior agreement).
  • Or extra activities when working with other organisations at (Schools, Guides, Brownies etc.) with photo evidence for their folder.

Progress is monitored, moderated and maintained by the Administrators of the scheme.  It is the Administrators of YES! who will judge when the candidates have met and completed the requirements for each level.  Each level of Achievement is marked by a signed certificate from the GCCF Chairman.     

What is new about this scheme?

Since the June 2017 Council Meeting, all GCCF shows are required to offer Young Exhibitor Classes in their Show Schedule.   One of the most exciting aspects of the YES! Programme is the Young Exhibitor Class at participating GCCF Shows; here the candidate presents their own cat to a judge and discusses aspects of ownership, care, diet and show preparation necessary to ensure peak condition, welfare and wellbeing.  If a Club or Society has not yet put on a YES! Class for Candidates, you can contact them and ask them to do so.  

YES! now has more content for each level.  New and exciting opportunities to learn how to read the awards boards and judging books.  How a cat in competition may progress through the different stages of a show and win Best In Show.  How to plan a cat show, the type of work involved and how to set out and manage a hall plan.

What about Health & Safety?

All parents want to keep their children safe and as risk free as possible.  The advantage of the YES! Programme is that it is a family activity where the Candidate travels to and from shows with their parent(s)/guardian/or a responsible adult chosen by the parents.  Once enrolled in the YES!, Candidates will be able to access our members only area, which gives full information about Health & Safety issues.

In common with other Cat Registration Bodies having a programme for young exhibitors, the GCCF has introduced a Parental/Medical Consent Form for parents/guardians to complete and sign before their child may participate in the scheme. This is for the benefit of the candidate, their parents/guardians and the YES! Programme.  For Safeguarding, please see our page and officer details.

Practical Requirements across ALL levels:

  • Junior membership of a GCCF recognised Cat Club/Society/Association.  The Candidate may join either an Area Club/Society/Association (covering a geographical region) or a Club/Society/Association (specific to a breed they either own or are interested in.  The candidate will be expected to maintain their membership of their chosen club throughout their time with YES!

  • All candidate will require a /folder to keep their evidence of their progress through the scheme. They can organise their folder as they wish but it should include a record of their show entries with results achieved by their cat; completed worksheets; second stewarding certificates; table work certificates; presentation critiques from the judges; evidence of attendance at a BAC Seminar and a diary of all personal research etc. completed to increase their interest in and knowledge of cats. Parents and candidates should be aware though that the downloading of quantities of information from websites and its inclusion in folders will not be recognised as of special merit; it is the candidate’s involvement with their cat; personal participation in shows; interest in cats and personal knowledge of cats that is important.

  • A white lab coat.  This is to protect the candidates regular clothing when carrying out second stewarding engagements.

  • A folder or file.  Candidates will be required to download and print off the Information and Worksheets provided for the course.  They will also need to keep evidence of the cat shows they have attended, their progress throughout the scheme, along with any breed seminars they attend and extra work they undertake.  A solo “My Cat” project runs alongside the Novice and Intermediate Level of the scheme.

Do I need to own a Cat?

In order to be able to fully participate in YES! from the Novice through to Advanced level the Candidate will need to be able to have access to a cat which will have a suitable temperament to be shown at a cat show, and handled by the Candidate, whether shown in the Pedigree or Household Pet section of a cat show.  The Candidate should also have some responsibility for the cat.

We currently have a handful of Candidates who do not own a pet cat or have one in their home, but are able to complete the YES! programme with their auntie/uncle/grandparents/friends cat/s.   Please see the link below for details of how to enter a cat show.

For Parents

YES! now issues a Parental/Carers guide to all new participants starting on the scheme or those re-joining the scheme at a higher level after completion of the Novice/Intermediate criteria.    Please note that there is a new section header on the public pages of YES! detailing participating cat shows.  Show a show you wish to attend not currently be hosting YES! classes then as a parent/carer you are able to contact the Show’s Manager and ask if they would be prepared to put on a class.

YES! programme details

YES! has three levels of participation Novice, Intermediate and Advanced.  Progression through the levels is by achievement. All candidates begin at Novice Level. There are no time constraints, and no written examinations.  Candidates are encouraged to work through the tasks in a manner that is comfortable to them, showing completed worksheets to Mentors or the Administrators as they are finished, so that the Candidates progress can be measured at every opportunity.


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