Transcript for NAFA Leadership Chat February 17, 2005

Lee_HeightonI would like to welcome everyone to the NAFA chat. If Dale is ready, let's go ahead and begin.
dgsmithAll set, please send a private msg if oyu have a question this evening
dgsmithWhile we wait for questions, would Lee or Sam care to comment on the work preparing comments for the BSL hearing in Ontario?
dgsmithCould be a short chat if there are no questions ;-)
Bill_KAOSCongrats on NAFA's representation to the Ontario hearings. However, now that a breed ban there seems likely what options might the Board consider?
dgsmithJust a reminder that questions should be sent to me in a private message first, but with no others pending, the floor is yours Bill
Sam.FordWe were notified on Monday that we had 15 minutes to present our information and ideas before the representatives in Ontario. Lee, Glenn and I got together on a conference call and prepared remarks to be delivered by Glenn. As many already know these hearing are more for the record than changing minds but we attempted to present a proper view of this. Thanks go to Glenn for delivering those remarks and being the person on the ground.
keltykaiHave any Board members actually read the proposed legislation?
Sam.FordCan't speak of the whole board but I have read a draft of the proposal
Lee_HeightonThere are several options that are being considered. We are currently discussing changing the wording on the sanctioning rule that discusses the necessity for all breeds to be eligible.
dgsmithThe floor currently belongs to Bill with the question "So what other options is the Board the likelihood this horrible legislation will be enacted?"
Lee_HeightonThere is also an agenda item requesting that affected dogs be given an exemption to the 90 day rule. That will be discussed at our meeting in Los Angeles.
dgsmithBill_KAOS> Do Board members think NAFA should be more proactive because of the possibility of breed bans popping in other places in both Canada and the U.
scottNETI believe that the best statement to make is that we have been monitoring the legislation closely. While we are working proactively to try and keep the legislation from passing, the rules committee it also evaluating changes to the current rules that would allow tournaments in canada to still occur.
Bill_KAOSShould we coordinate our approach with other dog sports bodies? Should we provide tool kits for flyball rections, etc?
Bill_KAOSSorry, that's flyball regions?
scottNETwhat do you mean by 'tool kits'?
Bill_KAOSStrategies, informations kits on Breed ban legis?
dgsmithI'll also open the floor to keltykai who has some related thoughts
Lee_HeightonNot a bad idea. One problem is making the "tool kits" specific enough to each situation.
Lee_HeightonThe tactics may change if it is a local governmental body, like a city, or a larger effected area such as an entire state.
scottNETI would agree that coordinating our approach with other dog sport bodies is necissary. If a large enough group opposes the legislation, the odds of it passing decrease dramatically
keltykaii don't see anything in the Act which precludes pit bulls from participating in Flyball
scottNETYou are correct, provided that a waver is enacted for the event. I believe,however, the issue concerning training that was posted to the flyball list is valid.
Bill_KAOSIt seems to me if we wait in the weeds for things to happen we'll be swallowed up by ignorant public opinion. Witness what has happened in Ontario!
keltykaiwhy do you need an exemption?
Lee_HeightonGood point. The Act discusses dogs "in public". While NAFA events are open to the public, they may not count as the dogs being "in public". This carries over to training, which is not required to be open to the public.
keltykaiThe Act does not require leashing and muzzling yet either
Lee_HeightonBill, the problem isn't ignorant public opinion. It is politicians trying to gain attention for their party and ignoring overwhelming public opinion and information.
Bill_KAOSPoliticians are manipulating the situation but also there is much ignorance on this issue. Where do I start?
scottNETFrom a public perspective, it appears that the largest concept we need to address is education of the public regarding dog and breeds and it is not the breed per say that causes the problem
Bill_KAOSThat's why I believe NAFA must be proactive in educating the public in jurisdictions where there aren't breed bans yet.
scottNETI would agree, but have to ask how would you propose this occur?
Bill_KAOSOne place to start is within a region...amongst flyball clubs and other dog sports associations. Get common agreements on goals and strategies. There is strength in numbers.
Bill_KAOSI've said enough on this issue so I'll give the floor to someone else.
scottNETI agree, and am not trying to put you on the spot. But I also realize that educating the majority of the public is difficult at best. Developing a strategy that works is tough, yet necissary
dgsmithAny other new thoughts on the BSL topic at this point? We only have one other question pending at this time.
Lee_HeightonGood idea. It sounds like your idea will work better at the Club level. Local clubs can work in conjuction with other local dog sports to educate the public in their area. NAFA could provide educational assistance to these Clubs.
Bill_KAOSThat would work and maybe even some dollars if required to support initiatives. :^)
dgsmithAny other questions, please send a private message to dgsmith and we'll get you in the queue
dgsmith1flyball> Is there a reason for the upcoming bod meeting in Los Angeles? And why out there?
dgsmith1flyball - the floor is oyurs
1flyballI guess you asked my question
1flyballam wondering about the upcoming meeting?
Lee_HeightonThe meeting is being held in Los Angeles for several reasons. We have a Disciplinayr hearing scheduled that effects this area. The location was picked to make it easier for the witnesses to attend the meeting. It was originally scheduled for Las Vegas, but due to spring break, the cost was too high. The decision was made to move it to Los Angeles at that time.
scottNETI agree with Lee's reasoning behind the meeting, but I would also like to add that BOD meetings are open to the public (with the exception of items that are discussed in exedutive session), so moving the meeting around the country makes it possible for people to attend if they so wish
dgsmithI think that covers it - any other questions out there - send them in private message to dgsmith
dgsmithLee or Sam - any topics you'd like to bring out at this time - no pending questions right now...
Lee_HeightonAt the AGM there was quite a bit of concern about equal representation for the Western part of our sport. We are trying to move the meetings around so that everyone has an equal oportunity to attend a meeting. In the January meeting you will see that Sam has discussed splitting Region 16. This location will allow the affected people to offer their input to the BoD.
Sam.FordWe continue to work with Signature Gear to accomplish new sets of lights. We are looking to have five new sets by the end March and we are working on reducing the number of failures we are currently seeing.
dgsmithBill_KAOS> I've seen reference to upgrading the skills of Judges. What specifically is happening on that front?
dgsmithThe floor is Bill's once again
Lee_HeightonThe Judges Committee is currently working on a training curriculam for both new and existing judges. Scott Stein and Todd Morningstar are working on a program where short video segments are produced and posted on the website to assist in educating judges. These segments can be easily upgraded without the need to produce an entire VCD or tape.
Bill_KAOSGood idea! So, would we all be able to see those tapes?
scottNETMy background is in training, we are also discussing how to create a training program that is useful and available to all the judges
scottNETcurrently, we are taking bids regarding the production of the tapes. We already have an outline of a number of segments we wish to create, with the goal of making a number of additions each year
Lee_HeightonBill, I believe that it will be beneficial to the sport for the segments to be accessible to anyone that would like to take the time to view them.
Lee_HeightonBetter education of competitors is just as important as education of our judges.
Bill_KAOSAgreed. There should be transparency in whatever form of training.
Lee_HeightonThere has been quite a bit of discussion about uniformity in judging. This will be a great step towards accomplishing that.
dgsmithAny other questions at this time? Send them in a private message to dgsmith
Bill_KAOSIs there one particular area that is troublesome for judges and competitors alike?
Lee_HeightonWe receive questions all of the time. There are a number of areas that can be addressed. As Scott stated, we have already outlined several segments to address these concerns.
dgsmithbcsrule> Would this training "standardize" the way they judge, ie..some judges wear bright gloves some give different hand signals for flags
scottNETour hope is to create a more standardized approach to judging.
dgsmithAny other questions at this time? Send them in a private message to dgsmith.
Bill_KAOSDo you feel it's possible to provide clearer direction for judges on what constitutes "interference?"
scottNETfrom the same standpoint, our current training program is a mentorship program and not a program that ensures consistency among all regions. We are working at creating a program that ensures all judges are trained in the "same way"
Lee_HeightonYes, that is one of the questions that we are addressing. There appears to be a wide variation in the way this rule is currently called.
dgsmithThere are no other questions pending at this time.
dgsmithMarge_FlyingColors> For Sam, Why do you feel 16 needs to be split?
dgsmithMarge, the floor is yours
Marge_FlyingColorsSam, Why do you feel 16 needs to be split
Sam.FordI believe the number of tournaments in REgion 16 is growing to a point where there are enough tournaments to support two regions. Two years ago you had 25 tournaments and last year you had 33. If this keeps up you will soon progress past what can be handled easily
Sam.FordIt also afford and opportunity for more team to compete for Region Championships. Having more awards for more worthy teams is a good thing for the region, competitors and for NAFA
dgsmithBarbaraFAX> but were the tourneys spread evenly over the area, or were they concentrated in just part of the Region ??
Sam.FordAs the sport grows we need to watch this in all regions and be willing to review on a regular basis regional sets ups.
Sam.FordThere were tournaments in both North and South California but I don't have the division of tournaments by location.
Sam.FordThe information is available.
Sam.FordI just don't recall it.
Marge_FlyingColorsThere are very few in No Cal by comparison
dgsmithBarbaraFAX> splitting a region might put most of the events in one area and in many regions, out-of-region tourneys are more accessible
Lee_HeightonMarge, this idea is currently under consideration. The meeting has been scheduled in Los Angeles so that competitors from this area can offer input to the BoD.
Marge_FlyingColorsGood Idea!
Marge_FlyingColorsI'll be there
dgsmithMargaret_BITP> Was that tournaments or weekends? All of our tournaments are 2 tournamnts per weekend.
Sam.FordYes that was tournaments
Marge_FlyingColorsSo that's half as many week ends
Marge_FlyingColorsIn some cases less when there is a Friday included
dgsmithMargaret_BITP> So really only 16 weekends for the whole region.
Sam.FordYes I am sure that is true.
dgsmith16 Seperate weekends last year for region 16 according to the database
dgsmithAny other questions?
Sam.FordI think that include over 900 team entries
Marge_FlyingColorsDale, do you have that figure at hand?
Marge_FlyingColorsLate again
dgsmithBarbaraFAX> what is the main consideration-factor in splitting a region ??
Sam.FordWhat first comes to the mind is number of tournaments. Then mileage involved in traveling within region.
dgsmithBarbaraFAX> is it distance ??
Sam.FordYou would also consider the numbers of teams in the area.
Sam.FordBut it would be a combination of these things that would bring it up for discussion.
dgsmithJust FYI, last year Region 16 was the 2nd largest region for team entries (behind region 3)
dgsmithAny other questions?
dgsmithBarbaraFAX> <G> how frequent a tourney schedule becomes *too many* and needs to be adjusted ?? BarbaraFAX> when they go to limited entry ??
Sam.FordThere is no set number but when a region goes beyond a certain point you must consider what it does to those teams that would like to compete for Regional awards and consider the mileage involved. We want to make Regional award more than just who can travel the furtherest during hte year, therefore we consider what options there are available.
Marge_FlyingColorsWhy would number of tournaments be a consideration vs driving distance/time
Marge_FlyingColorsOntario has more tournaments, but low drive time.
Sam.FordNo one said "vs". I said it is a combination of things that bring it to the table. number of tournaments is one issue, mileage another, number of teams in the area another. I know there to be many factor that must be consider in forming a region and in maintaining a region.
Marge_FlyingColorsIf tournaments are the only consideration, why would you not split ON, MI or TX?
Sam.FordLet me state this is NOT the only consideration.
Sam.Fordnumber of teams is one factor, mileage is another factor, teams in the area another factgor.
dgsmithMargaret_BITP> Do we set up regions so teams who don't want to travel can still be regional champions?
Sam.FordFlyball is changing all the time. We are having new tournaments every year in areas we have never touched before and somehow we have to meet these changes with responses that are thought out and considered. Regional lineups are one of the things effected as the sport grows
Marge_FlyingColors16 has far fewer tournaments that 2 so why don't we look at splitting them up too?
Margaret_BITPRegion16 has never had a limited tournament.
Sam.FordWe have set up regions for all sorts of reasons. The last time I checked Hawaii has it's region but no clubs. We jsut had a team register in Alaska and they don't have a region ...yet. So we look at regions for lots of reasons
dgsmithRegion 2 had 24 events on 22 weekends last year
Sam.FordEVer alignment needs to be reviewed. Some will be considered for a change and others won't. All of this based on the merits of the areas case.
Marge_FlyingColorsHow many teams Dale?
dgsmith952 - 3rd place behind 3 and 16
dgsmithThat's team entries
Margaret_BITPRegion 16 teams count twice for each weekend.
dgsmithkeltykai> that's with a lot of limited tournies in Reg 2
Marge_FlyingColorsThe count is skewed at best
Josh_CoolRunningsmost of the limited tournaments in region 2 did not fill last year
dgsmithWe can look at all kinds of stats - active Clubs, limited events, available facilities, mileage, ... Regional realignment comes up every few years or so. Flyball is growing in many different areas and regional alignment sthta made sense three years ago may not make sense today. We want to hear from you...
dgsmithRegion 16 is just one discussion topic (in my humble opinion)
dgsmithAny other qurstions?
Sam.FordThanks Marge_Flying Colors. I have to leave this tonight to finish a report. I appreciate the questions and the opporunity to answer. Thanks also to all those listening.
Sam.FordSorry to have to run.
keltykainite, and thanks Sam
Lee_HeightonGoodnight Sam
Marge_FlyingColorsNight Sam
dgsmithThere are no other pending items at this time.
dgsmithI'd like to thank everyone that joined this evening. Were there any issues getting into the chat tonight?
keltykainope,worked fine
Josh_CoolRunningsnot for me
Winkvery good Dale
Lee_HeightonI also have to call it a night. I would like to thank everyone for attending. We are looking forward to seeing anyone that will be able to attend the meeting in Las Angeles. See you next month.
dgsmithOK, with that I think we'll close out the transcript. Thank you everyone for participating and remember to write to us with concerns, ideas and questions.