Transcript for the NAFAģ Candidate Chat December 16th, 2015


EmmaMakGood evening everyone, this is Emma Mak from the NAFA Election Committee. Iím the moderator for tonightís second, and final, candidate chat for the 2015/2016 NAFA Election. Kyle Mankes, head of the NAFA Nominating Committee is assisting. The Board of Director candidates are: Jennifer Bell, Steve Corona, Kim Davis and Dana Hanson. 


EmmaMakSteve, Dana, Kim are currently participating in this chat. Hopefully Jenn will join us soon.


EmmaMakIf you have questions for the candidates, please send them in a private message to me Ė to do this, there is a link in the Instructions section above this chat window. Iíll then queue the questions and provide them to the candidates. Weíll now take opening remarks from the candidates.


SteveCoronaGood evening everyone. Thank you for joining us tonight or reading from the transcripts at a later date. I look forward to the exchange of ideas with my fellow candidates and I'd like to thank NAFA for hosting this evenings chat.


KimSDavisSo glad you all could join us for the candidate chat tonight. My name is Kim Davis and Iím thrilled to be running for the Board of Directors again this year. Iíd like to take a moment and offer a special thanks to Julie Jenkins for forwarding my nomination for re-election.


DanaHansonGood evening and thanks to all who are present or will take time to read the transcripts of tonight's chat. This is a busy time of year for all of us, I know. I thought more about a question regarding urgent issues facing NAFA during the last chat and reminded myself that this is something people participate in largely for fun. I thought at first that things are not so urgent, but the decisions ahead will impact the future of something we all love. So I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us and learn more about all of the candidates.


EmmaMakQuestion from Leerie Jenkins: Why do you want to be on the board?


EmmaMakI have 2 questions in the queue


KimSDavisI love the sport of Flyball. I want to support, encourage and help this great organization that allows us to have fun with our dogs, compete with awesome people across the world and to contribute to this wonderful community. One of the best ways to do all that is to run for the Board of Directors.


DanaHansonThis is an opportunity to serve and share some of my past experiences with not-for-profit organizations as well as to share my thoughts and ideas and represent those of the many individuals whose paths I've crossed in roughly 13 years of playing flyball. And on the somewhat selfish side, its an opportunity for me to learn more about NAFA and work along many of the individuals who have made NAFA successful.


SteveCoronaThe passion I have for the sport makes me want to be a very active part of this community and being on the board would allow me to apply my skill set towards benefiting NAFA. The decisions the board makes impacts our sport and I feel that being alongside others dedicated to advancing our sport would be a great way to share ideas and tackle difficult issues. 


EmmaMakNext question from Leerie Jenkins - Consider this scenario: A long time NAFA flyball enthusiast has recently passed away. He bequeathed NAFA $50,000 with the following stipulations:
1. The $50,000 must all be spent during the next full fiscal year,
2. It must be spent to improve or replace an existing system/technology (not used for general operating expenses),
3. The improvement/addition should be named in honor of his long time flyball dog ďJimmy.Ē

On what do you propose to spend the endowment?


DanaHansonI'd like to see a paperless scoring system for use in the lane. While I believe there is a potential long-term for things to evolve past my starting point, I'd like to see development of handheld devices used at the line that send information back to the scoring table, an automatic comparison of recorded results and immediate reconciliation and recording as the tournament progresses. Happy to name this the "Jimmy System".


SteveCoronaI believe getting the APES system out to the regions would be a good use of this endowment; or at least a start. I'm thinking Jimmy Cam


SteveCoronaTotally coincidental Dana 


KimSDavisI would propose to use the endowmentto further the technology behind our EJS, and the expansion of the APES if possible.


EmmaMakQuestion from Dirk Elber: What do you see as the successes of the organization? Where do you see the weaknesses?


EmmaMakI have two questions in the queue.


SteveCoronaSuccesses would include all the time and effort that goes into organizing CanAm; that is a tremendous undertaking. Our judges training program produces the best judges in the world and that we allow all types and breeds of dog to participate is a feather in NAFA's cap. One area for improvement is in spreading the word about our sport and challenging ourselves to find younger participants. 


KimSDavisThe CanAm Classic has to be considered as one of the major successes for NAFA. Along with the pursuit of the existing and future technology that we now enjoy in both the EJS and the APES.

The one weakness that we've yet to conquer is the lower tournament numbers in some of the regions, where it be due to economics or lack of attendance and viable venues in which to hold tournaments.


DanaHansonI view the annual gathering known as CanAm as a kind of crown jewel. It is a huge accomplishment to pull this off, and I know that the current and past board members work incredibly hard to do that. I believe NAFA led the way in allowing mixed breeds to compete, which many other organizations followed suit. I believe it can boast one of the most supportive groups of competitors in any dog sport. On the flip side, some other organizations have rolled out new products (I'll call them that) to entice new competitors to give their organization a look. While staying true to its core of racing, I think NAFA can evaluate ideas to generate new interest in the organization.


EmmaMakI see that Jenn Bell has joined. I'm just going to give her a minute to answer this question.


EmmaMakQuestion from Mark Hartley (unable to attend chat this evening so emailed this question beforehand)
Regarding the APES feature that was used at Can-Am this year: it seemed some handlers were thinking their dogs had completed error free runs but in review of the race a ball spit was detected. In some cases no flag was raised by the line judge, but then the win or NAFA points were taken away from the dog/team. Iím all for getting the call right and want NAFA to keep advancing the use of technology in the ring, but it just didnít seem fair in some cases. What do the candidates think of this issue and do they have any possible solutions?


JennBellsorry for being late... my little guy has the stomach flu.....just catching up


EmmaMakJenn can you answer the last two questions? We'll wait for you.


EmmaMakSo they were: Question from Dirk Elber: What do you see as the successes of the organization? Where do you see the weaknesses? and the one from Mark Hartley above


SteveCoronaIt's certainly a balance of making the correct call versus the win/points issue. I do believe the context of where the APES system was used to make these calls has to be taken into consideration. This was only brought into the finals and it was used to declare a winner that had completed a clean run. These championship races have had issues in the past and the intent was to produce an undisputed champion. I believe as the technology improves we will be able to make the calls more quickly and allow for re-runs if the team so decides.


DanaHansonThis move was intended to advance the sport. I understand that in the past, bystanders filmed infractions that were not called by officials, and that, too, became a source of complaint. I believe it is important to move forward and know that transitions can at times seem bumpy, but that it is genuinely NAFA's desire to make things better. In order for that to happen, it needs to process feedback from all sources so that it can fine tune these kinds of enhancements. I would suggest attention could be devoted to speeding the delivery of information that was captured at the runback end of the lane to the competitors.


DanaHansonIll clarify that I said runback end of the lane because that is where the monitors could be seen.


JennBellI am running for the board because I think it is important for the future of our sport for the people involved to take an interest in the direction the sport is going. I have played this sport for many years and would like to have an opportunity to get more involved,


KimSDavisThe review was only used for the championship races and it was the call of the championship/head judge whether or not to use the 'output'. And it was to be sure the runs were indeed clean. I think with the furthering of the technology, it could be possible that this might become standard. And along with that improvement, the calls will be more accurate and the clubs will get the more immediate feedback on any possible infractions.


EmmaMakJenn is working on the last two questions. We'll move on to the last one for the evening.


EmmaMakQuestion from Chris VanWert via email:
I have read the discussions from the previous chat and it seems unanimous that the most urgent issue before the NAFA Board is how to continue to grow this sport. As someone who competes in a Region that has declined over 70% since 2009, I absolutely agree with this assessment. The suggestions from the previous chat all depend on LOCAL involvement to grow the sport. My question is this: In your view, what initiative would you recommend the NAFA Board adopt to facilitate the growth necessary to insure a bright future for NAFA? What does NAFA need to do that it is not already doing?


JennBellI think the organization as a whole is a success. It has grown in leaps and bounds. I think the promotion and encouragement of new involvement is important. I think we also need to look at the advancement of new technology as the sport evolves. We also need to look at ways to keep the sport fair and uniform for everyone.


SteveCoronaMy recommendation would be some sort of media campaign; either print or video if the budget allows. NAFA gained some national exposure by the segment carried on NBC Nightly News after it picked up the story from the local affiliate. I believe that we need to make a concerted effort in wide ranging exposure. While it is important at the local level to try to promote the sport, must clubs just don't have the resources to be very far reaching in their appeal. 


DanaHansonI think there is more than one thing that can be done to promote interest in the sport. I mentioned new offerings earlier. In the last chat I mentioned possibly developing seed money or a used equipment pool to get new clubs started or to encourage existing clubs to travel to help bring flyball to new areas. I also believe that creating a higher profile for its events in order to bring more spectators to our venues -- each spectator a potential player at some point -- could assist in stimulating growth.


SteveCoronaThe national news story I'm referring to was shot during CanAm 2015 and showed just how much enjoyment our handlers and their dogs were having.


KimSDavisMarketing the sport on a national level would be ideal; seeing the 2015 CanAm Flyball Classic on the NBC Nightly News was a great experience and hopefully we can expand upon that. But the local competitors would need to still get out the word to the other dog sports competitions or pet fairs, hosting demos, etc. Existing clubs might need to help new teams get started in areas around them. 

DanaHansonOn improving participation, I think it's important to capture and measure which tools are successful in bringing new participants to the sport. Perhaps this is something that can be captured when a participant registers their first dog.


JennBellI think there needs to be some sort of support to clubs to help promote our sport in their communities. Media is one way. The exsisting clubs also need to be willing to step up and get involved. Maybe NAFA could look at having support for clubs to do fair demos, sporting demos, pet expos, ect...


EmmaMakCandidates please prepare your closing remarks.


EmmaMakBallots were emailed out December 1st and polls close midnight CST January 13th, 2016. Club Owners, Regional Directors, Approved/Supervising Judges and Board Members are eligible to vote. The email will be from Big Pulse (the election company). If you didnít get the ballot email, please check your junk mail folder, and if not there please contact


DanaHansonMy first competition dog Huey's leading me to this sport is largely responsible for most of the friends that I have to day. It has been an incredible journey and one that I hope more folks will discover. I thank all of you for participating in this election and hope that I have an opportunity to give back to the flyball community.


KimSDavisI'd like to say a special thank you to the election and nominations committees for all they do! Thanks again for the chance to Ďtalkí and answer all your questions.

SteveCoronaThanks again to all who joined us this evening and provided the thought provoking questions. My intent is to serve the NAFA community to the utmost of my ability and I hope to be honored to do so. The 2 chats have been an enjoyable experience with my fellow candidates and I thank them for being a part of this exchange. Thanks again to NAFA for organizing the chats and I wish everyone a happy holiday season.


JennBellThis is my first time running and has been a great experience. It has allowed me to get to know more of my fellow flyballers from across North America and their concerns for the direction of NAFA. Thank-you.


EmmaMakThanks to the candidates, and to Kyle Mankes for assisting, and everyone that participated in this chat. Any questions or concerns about the election should be directed to Have a wonderful holiday season and please donít forget to vote!