Edited transcript for the NAFA® Leadership Chat June 9th, 2009

dgsmithEvening folks - thanks for joining. I'm sure we'll have people coming and going as always. As always, you'll be able to review the transcript from the chat on the website in a couple days. This will be a moderated chat as usual. Double click dgsmith in the list of names and send me a private message. Once I post your question in the main window, you are welcome to type there as well to discuss your question. Please try to stick to the topic - and submit another question for a new topic. We'll start with Lee and Scott for any opening comments they may have. The rest of you can start queueing questions.
Scott_SteinI would like to thank everyone for coming. Its been too long since we've had one of these chats. Your input is vital to the organization and I look forward to hearing from all of you..
Lee_HeightonHello everyone, there have been quite a few developments over the past couple of weeks so I am sure that there will be a lot of questions.
dgsmithOur first question comes from Zac: Why did NAFA wait 18 months between leadership chats?
Scott_SteinI do not have a good answer for that. I can assure you that the next one will occur in a much more timely manner.
ZacIs the cost of the Leadership Chat per year or usage?
dgsmithper year
ZacDid NAFA have to pay for 2008 but did not use the software?
dgsmithWe used it for some internal chats, but yes, we pay monthly. We use the same chat interface for all chats - leadership, candidate, RD and others... (there was at least one 2008 leadership chat)
dgsmithOur next question comes from barbarafflash: In regards to delegates, there has been discussion on fixing the time lag between earning them and using them but nothing has been done. What is the status?
barbaraFFlashOver the years there has been BOD discussion about changing the way a club earns delegates. Nothing has changed since the times everything was done on paper -- with the 'net, why do we still have to wait a year before we get credit for working for NAFA ?? I have formed a new club, will have 3 tourney weekends this year and a number of team entries and will get nothing until 2011 -- unless you change it.
Lee_HeightonBarbara, We have discussed this and are still working on the time frames that will be fair to everyone.
barbaraFFlashWill it be discussed at the next BOD meeting ??
Scott_SteinI will ensure that it is on the agenda. I can not promise resolution at that time, but we will work on it.
dgsmithOur next question comes from Zac: Question: Judges Video....what is the current status....it's been over 2 years.
Lee_HeightonZac, the judges committee is currently looking at rewriting a significant portion of the rules pertaining to Supervising judges. This coupled with Dan's illness caused us to put these on standby for now.
ZacWhat needs to be rewritten?
Scott_SteinGiven the advances in web based training, I think the board needs to review whether judges videos are still the way to go. There may be other options that would allow us to address training in a more flexible manner
ZacSo is the whole judges thing on hold?
Scott_SteinThe judges committee is evaluating the current rules regarding how judges move to supervisory status. We would like to see an approach that gives the board more information to make an appropriate decision
ZacHow does that affect the judges training video?
Scott_SteinIf you are referring to video training, I would say that it is under review to determine if that is the best method to provide continuing training for our judges
ZacWhen did this review come about (timeframe)? I understood from the previous leadership chats that the script was written and waiting to shoot the video.
Scott_SteinA script was written and was put on hold with our videographers illness. At this point, these scripts are a year old and would need to be fully reviewed to ensure they are still current.
dgsmithOur next question comes from Zac: Question: Is the Can-am Tournament going to be a yearly event? Only three additional questions in the queue...
Lee_HeightonWe do intend for the CanAm to be an annual event. We are looking into ways for it to move periodically so that it will be easy accessible to a large number of our competitors
dgsmithOur next question comes from Jane_rnr: Lee, what are your initial goals as ED - you've accepted a large responsibility - I'm sure you have some ideas that you'd like to work on.
Jane_RNRand if no one has already said so..thank you for stepping up to fill those big shoes
Lee_HeightonJane, thanks. Right now I am trying to catch up on all of the responsibilities of the position. One idea we are working on right now is to appoint multiple RD's in our larger regions to lighten the travel demands on our RD's. Especially in this economic climate. Sam provided great leadership for many years and has guided NAFA in a very positive direction. I hope to take input from our competitors and RD's and continue taking our sport in a positive direction.
dgsmithOur next question comes from barbarafflash: how are we doing with EJS systems -- keeping them running and moving
barbaraFFlashHave shipping costs dropped -- how are the sets holding up ??
Scott_SteinShipping costs have not dropped at this point. Shipping is still our largest expense.
barbaraFFlashDo we not have enough or are too many not running ??
Scott_SteinAs a general statement, I would say the sets are holding up well given the use. We have had to do maintenance on a number of them due to wear and tear. I believe we have enough to handle our tournament load, but I will defer to Dale to confirm this
dgsmithWe still need more people to treat these EJS systems as if they owned them. Still plenty of abuse. What you send to the next event, may well come to you next time. I know everyone is in a hurry to pack up after an event, but a few extra minutes of care can make a huge difference. I think we presently have about the right number, but some breakage - mainly mechanical from rough handling - has us shipping more than I'd like.
dgsmithOur next question comes from Marge.powerpack: Recently there was a rule change involving limited tournaments and double running dogs. I would like an explanation as to how a team that breaks a rule can still end up with tournament points.
Scott_SteinI'm not sure I know what you are referring to.....can you be more specific?
Marge.PowerPackWhat the rule change said is that if the infraction is discovered during a tournament that the races already run will not be rescored.
Dana.NicholsThe team who has violated the rule forfeits all NAFA points for all dogs listed on both timesheets and cannot place at the tournament.
Scott_SteinThe issue in question is that by rescoring the tournament we run the risk of violating other NAFA rules
Marge.PowerPackBut they do get to keep their wins which may effect the outcome.
Scott_SteinIf teams did not win the race, it may mean going back and re-running a significant part of the tournament
Marge.PowerPackThat doesn't make sense at all when a simple change to the W's and L's on the time sheets would suffice
Dana.NicholsIn elimination formats, it may mean re-running an entire division in a tournament, depending on when the violation is discovered. If it is discovered during the last race, you might have to re-run the entire tournament.
Chris_WooferinesScott, if a team is not jumping the correct jump height, All wins are converted to losses no matter when the violation is discovered. The problem of re-running races still exists.
Scott_SteinChris, you are correct. I think you have just pointed out something that the rules committee needs to ponder. When you convert wins to losses, if the opposing team did not finish, you do not have a winner
Marge.PowerPackThe rule is flawed and needs to be looked at strongly.
ZacDid this actually happen at a tournament?
Dana.NicholsI think one difference between the jump height issue and the double listing issue is that there is a specific sanction for incorrectly double listing that is much harsher than a wrong jump height. For a wrong jump height the team loses that heat. For double listing, they forfeit all points and placements for the full tournament.
Scott_SteinYes, this did happen at a tournament. I would welcome your input in how to fix this without forcing a team to re-run a significant portion of a division.
dgsmithOur next question comes from Chris_wooferines: When NAFA lowered its fees for the second day of a two event weekend, part of the discussion was that NAFA would lose significant income. That has come to pass. We bought more EJS's that were supposed to save on shipping costs. Thanks to the skyrocketing price of gasoline, our shipping costs have risen significantly even though we have more EJS's available. My question is, is NAFA considering raising its fees across the board to absorb some of these rising costs and lowered income?
Lee_HeightonChris, we have not discussed this at this yet. We have raised some fees, such as height card applications, to help defray the lowered income. It would also be wise to wait and see how the economy rebounds.
Scott_SteinFlyball is a family sport that we would like to see stay affordable. In this economic climate, raising rates would negatively impact our competitors. I hope that as our economy gets stronger we will see an increase in income. If that does not occur, the organization will have to evaluate its fee structure to provide fiscal stability.
Chris_WooferinesYes but, crude oil prices have doubled in the last 90 days so that means more 3.00+ gasoline. This has impact on shipping which Scott has already admitted is one of our biggest expenses. A rebounding economy may keep people employed but doesn't help when prices rise that fast.
dgsmithOur next question comes from herocdx: Since my team's tournament sanctioning was revoked this evening because our tournament is in violation of a NAFA "practice" (not a rule or policy), why are NAFA "practices" not public record and how can a team be punished for something that is not noted in any rule, policy or even meeting minutes. Shouldn't this be a board meeting discussion and/or decision?
Lee_HeightonShannon, your RD advised you two weeks ago that Sam had established a practice two years ago that NAFA would not sanction a tournament on the same weekend, at the same venue with a competing organization. It was confirmed yesterday that the competing organization had sanctioned a tournament at the same venue, on the same date, and a notice was formally sent to your tournament director that NAFA would allow 24 hours to make a change or the NAFA sanctioning would be voided.
todd_morningstarWas that not a NAFA tourney on a Fri night and then another non-NAFA tourney Sat and Sun to hold a NAFA reserved weekend?
todd_morningstarSo this is different. A single site with 2 different tourniess going on simultaneously.
Lee_HeightonNo, the same established policy applies.
herocdxThere is no Policy in the rule book to that effect
Lee_HeightonNot all practices are in the rulebook.
todd_morningstarScott, I am requesting that this be on the agenda for the upcoming teleconference Board meeting later this month
todd_morningstarWhat policy? It is two different things - You may want to lump them together but they are different
herocdxNAFA has had two years to put this in the rulebook if indeed it was made into a practice, why did this not happen?
todd_morningstarWhy has NAFA allowed tournies at the same site as AKC where our dogs were not allowed to go see everything as we were not AKC?
Lee_HeightonNo NAFA sanctioning on the same weekend, at the same venue, as a tournament sanctioned by a competing organization. This is not in the best interest of NAFA.
todd_morningstarFriends getting together and having fun with their dogs is in the best interest of flyball
Scott_SteinThe board has a conference call later this month. I am willing to put it on the agenda for discussion. However, the Executive Director is in charge of the day to day operation of this organization. His decision to revoke sanctioning stands. The board discussion will be regarding whether to re-authorize sanctioning or not.
todd_morningstarThank you Scott that is all that I am asking.
herocdxAgility and AKC obedience have shared their sites with competing organizations for years, why does NAFA not see that times are changing? I have seen you Lee quoted several times in the board meeting minutes along with others stating that NAFA's motto is to promote the sport of flyball, how is it that revoking our sanction does that?
Alisa.RomaineHaving shown conformation for years, I have never seen an AKC conformation show held beside say a UKC conformation show. Competing organizations and not in the best interest of either. I believe that other parent organizations operate this way as well.
herocdxI do want the board to discuss it also but feel that revoking our sanction now is a little premature.
todd_morningstarLooking at all of the policies in the NAFA rule book and to Sanction a tourney and I do not see this addressed anywhere. Can you shed some light on where this situation is covered in the policy and procedure.
herocdxOne more point Lee and I will sit on it for awhile, the words I heard from my friend and RD's teammate Dennis, were taken as such. They were not taken as a warning issued by you through the Region 1 RD as you mentioned. You don't know what he said to me, you were 100+ feet away. If you were inadvertently warning me at that time as the new ED, then you should have done it in person. What Dennis told me has no bearing on this issue for your sake of argument. According to what I understand of NAFA's required responsibilities of the RD, sanctioning tournaments is not one of them.
Lee_HeightonSorry Shannon. My RD asked if he could speak with your team about this issue and I gave him permission to on my behalf. After talking with you he explained that you understood and wanted to think about it before making a decision. I trust my RD.
dgsmithOur next question comes from John_npp: As RD in region 12, I would like to thank Sam Ford for all his years of service. I take it that Lee will be my contact to approve tourney formats - eg 3 team divs, etc? Also, Is there a way to better involve RD's with current issues ? To date the only way I have gotten info is from the NAFA site?
Lee_HeightonJohn, Sam has a yahoo group for RD's to share information. Are you not on this group
John_NPPNo I am not
Lee_HeightonJohn, Sam turned this group over to me this week and I will be happy to add you.
John_NPPThank you
Lee_HeightonPlease email me privately and I will take care of it tomorrow
dgsmithOur next question comes from Zac: Question: Some clubs don't have a good understanding of the Can-am format. Will NAFA be providing some more info in the near future?
Karen.OlesonHi Zac, it would be easier for us to provide more information regarding the Can-am format if clubs who do not understand the format asked questions. Are there specific questions that need to be addressed?
ZacThe clubs that I have talked to don't fully understand the format/racing for the Can-am
Karen.OlesonAre there specific questions? What specifically is not understood?
ZacMostly, it is the racing format for each day. Maybe a mock up PDF file of racing would help them.
Karen.OlesonPlease ask these clubs to contact me directly with questions. I'm happy to answer their inquiries. It will also help add to the FAQ section.
nancy.garciaHeard through the grapevine that some clubs were thinking the CanAm was just for the top ranked teams/clubs. I don't know exactly what people don't understand, but just in case there is a question I want to make sure everyone realizes that the tournament is for all levels of competitors.
dgsmithOur next two questions are related so we'll handle them together:
dgsmithJenun: Is the distance between tournaments from different regions going to be reassessed?
dgsmithChris_wooferines: At one time, it made sense for NAFA to require a hosting club's permission to sanction another club's event held within 250 miles of the first club's tournament. Would NAFA consider loosening that restriction to be more "discretionary" when it involves crossing a border that requires a Passport?
Scott_SteinI have received a request for that to be on our August agenda. so, the answer is yes, we are going to discuss it.
dgsmithOur next question comes from barbarafflash: Speaking of the economy -- there are people here from All over. How are your entries faring with the fuel costs and the loss of jobs and incomes ??
dgsmithI'm going to open this to any other TD's and RD's that wish to comment as well.
barbaraFFlashFlorida has rarely been able to draw more than one tourney weekend a month. Hosts know this and plan accordingly, but attendance has held pretty well so far.
John_NPPRegion 12 has been pretty consistent if not growing in numbers
Scott_SteinI am not sure that I can answer that question. The end of the quarter is coming and a P&L statement will be posted at that time. Once I see that I will be better equipped to give you an answer vs. a guess
Jane_RNRMy team personally is traveling less for what it's worth
Laura_HOTAs far as club participation, we have adjusted to the economy crisis by carpooling and sharing hotel rooms. We have kept to our regular schedule of one tournament a month. Though, we are generally attending those tournaments closer to us when multiple tournaments are available.
JenUNOur winter 3, one-day tournaments went to lottery for the first time this year. Tournaments don't seem to be down in Region 2
dgsmithAnd now for our last question in the queue - from Laura_hot: Question: What constitutes "enough" interest for a new breed or new breed registry to be added to the current list of NAFA recognized breeds and breed registries? Last time I suggested a new breed registry to be added I was informed that there was not enough interest. Just wondering what "enough" interest would be so I can work on it.
Laura_HOTI have a rare breed participating in Flyball and although, as yet, not AKC recognized, I feel he deserves recognition for his accomplishments and be recognized as the breed he is instead of lumped together with the mixed breeds.
Scott_SteinInterest is a procedural term. When a proposal is presented to the board it needs to be moved and seconded by board members. If no board member moves to accept the proposal, it is not discussed due to 'lack of interest'.
Laura_HOTCan I do anything to help encourage board members to accept a proposal?
dgsmithWe try to pick registries that: are in our geography; support a studbook approach to specific breeds; fit in well with our existing registries
Laura_HOTThat helps, at least I can check again to see if the registry I requested has those things. The breed is Silken Windhound
Laura_HOTAs far as fitting in with the current registries, can you elaborate?
dgsmithThey don't recognise breeds in a way completely different from what we have. We already have some breeds that overlap. One registry may call variations a "breed" and another calls them a "variety" within a single breed - stuff like that. We try to avoid it when we can s it complicates figuring out how we blend them.
Laura_HOTIs there a certain number of new breeds that must be included with an addition of a new registry?
dgsmithWe take the whole registry - not part of it
dgsmithI'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. We've covered some great topics and we really appreciate those of you willing to take some time away from busy schedules to make your questions and opinions known - we can't run an organization in a vacuum - at least not very well. We'll try to have a transcript up in the next couple days for those who missed this or just wish to relive it ;-)
Jane_RNRThank you all for being here to answer our questions....now get back to work ;)
Lee_HeightonI know that these are difficult economic times and appreciate everyone that hosts and attends NAFA tournaments. By listening to your comments it sounds like NAFA flyball is flourishing despite these times. I value your input and will continue to try and find ways to improve our sport and protect it's best interest.
Scott_SteinThank you for coming. It has truly been an enlightening experience. I have taken copious notes for the board to discuss. I would like to see these occur 4-5 times a year, so plan on being back in August or September.
barbaraFFlashGlad to see you guys in the mainstream again -- looking forward to more...
Scott_Steinnight all. don't hesitate to email me with your suggestions
Lee_HeightonWe are very excited about the CanAm and hope to see all of you at the event this year!
Lee_Heightongood night everyone
dgsmithG'nite all