The SCAVMA Josh Challenge

American Veterinary Medical AssociationEngaging veterinary students with the community through Josh

The Josh Challenge was created as a fun and exciting way for participating Student Chapters of the AVMA (SCAVMA) in North America and the Caribbean to promote friendly competition between their respective schools.

The Josh Challenge is a competition allowing SCAVMA chapters to help children overcome many of the fears they experience when faced with a hospital visit. Participating students will also develop the interpersonal skills necessary to help them become more involved in their communities and hopefully more successful after graduation. More importantly, they will have a direct and positive impact of the lives of many of the children within their communities during and after this competition.

The Goal of the Josh Challenge

To determine which chapter can raise the most money within their local community to place Josh puppies and books in the hands of children facing a visit to the hospital. The chapter raising the most money during the calendar year will be recognized at the next year’s SCAVMA Symposium Presidents’ Luncheon and will be awarded the prestigious Josh Challenge Award. As a result, the winning chapter will have “bragging rights” for one year and they will be the top dogs for that year (every pun intended)! Remember, the Josh Challenge is an activity that benefits children in your community, and it is intended to be fun while making a positive difference in the lives of children everywhere!

How does the Josh Challenge Work?

At the start of each calendar year, participating schools are encouraged to develop fundraising tactics which will hopefully propel them to the top of the competition by the end of that same calendar year. Each school must determine what type of fundraiser will work best for them.

Examples include:

  • A letter-writing campaign to family members and friends or holding special events at their schools.
  • Go to the business community and become partners with private businesses in the fundraising by encouraging donations in collection jars in those businesses electing to join in their efforts.
  • It is also beneficial when local media resources can be recruited to assist in the efforts of the participating schools.
  • Alumni groups are another good source for donations!

At the end of the calendar year, the school raising the most money will be declared the winner of the Josh Challenge. All funds collected should be remitted to Josh and Friends by the end of the following January in order to be eligible. The next Josh Challenge begins on January 1st of each year for those schools choosing to participate.

All monies raised by each school will be used to purchase Josh puppies and books for the children in each local community.

The main focus of the Josh Project is helping children. By using the human-animal bond in such a unique and uplifting way we are also able to promote the value of pets in our families.

How did the Josh Challenge begin?

The idea for the Josh Challenge originated with a University of Florida veterinary student who desired to remain involved in local community activities after being active in similar programs during undergraduate school. The student believed it was important for future veterinarians to develop communication skills which would allow them to create networks and relationships within their communities once they embark upon their chosen veterinary careers. These relationships along with community awareness and involvement can be key components for these students later on in their professional lives.

And what better way to learn these skills than through actual participation in a program designed to help children in overcoming their fears of going into a hospital? This is what the Josh Project does for children. The book I’ll Be O.K. takes a child through Josh’s adventure in Dr. Rick’s animal hospital where Josh experiences an examination, diagnostics, surgery, and recovery. Through his adventure Josh is able to help alleviate many fears the child may have regarding unknown sights and surroundings associated with a hospital stay. The plush puppy Josh is a child’s best friend who can stay with the child at all times bringing comfort and security, especially when mom and dad can’t be there!

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