Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat December 10th, 2010

moderatorWelcome to the 2010 Nafa Candidate Chat #3. This evening’s chat is one venue for voters to get to know our candidates a little more. If you have any questions for our candidates, please send them to the moderator to be queued. You can do this by double clicking “moderator” and sending a private chat (or selecting “moderator,” right clicking, and selecting “private Chat”). Questions that are queued will be placed into the main window one at a time. I will let you know when your question is on the floor. The person that posted the question is welcome to follow up with the candidates as they answer. Any other Directly Related inquiries can also go into the main window as the candidates are answering. If you're in doubt if it is Directly Related, please ask me.
moderatorChris Vanwert sends her regrets tonight. She got called in to work and is sorry to have to miss this chat.
moderatorAt this time I'll let the candidates send an opening remark if they'd like.
moderatorYour moderator tonight is Leerie Jenkins.
moderatorDana has a reminder for everyone.
Dana.NicholsWhile the candidates are typing, I thought I'd remind everyone about our process this year for the election.
Ally-SternHi- I'm glad I can be here tonight. Sorry for missing the last chat. I had difficulties with my computer.
Dana.NicholsWe are trying to get as many folks as possible to opt-in to receive their ballots electronically.
Dana.NicholsThe last date to do so is Tuesday, 12/14/10
Dana.NicholsYou'll get your ballots sooner & will get an automatic confirmation of how many delegate votes you have.
Alisa.RomaineGood evening. Thank you all for taking time out of your busy holiday schedules to chat with the candidates. I missed you all last chat due to a conflict with one of my son's after school activities.
Dana.NicholsInformation is available on the nafa site -
Ally-SternI opted in. Once I remembered which e-mail address and name to use it was easy to opt in.
Curtis_SmithHello everyone! I'm here for my third chat (also the final chat) of this election to continue building my case as to why I should be elected to Nafa's Board of Directors. In addition to what I've mentioned in previous chats, I believe I would do an excellent job representing Nafa competitors because I've had many opportunities to meet and talk with flyball folks from very diverse backgrounds--especially at prominent events such as Cynosport 2007, Canam 2009, and Canam 2010. I've judged (and often competed) in tournaments hosted by clubs in five regions spanning from one seaboard to the other. Also, over the years at our annual Alaska Summer Solstice Tourneys, I've spent a significant amount of time discussing flyball and Nafa-related issues with people from 14 different clubs spread out among 10 regions. Meeting more and more flyballers has simply reinforced my opinion that Nafa is truly an awesome organization, which is one of the many reasons why I would be extremely proud to serve on its Board of Directors.
moderatorThere are no questions in the queue presently.
Alisa.RomaineI believe this election will truly be exciting. We have so many very qualified candidates running. I love seeing more candidates running than there are spots to fill. What a great year for Nafa!
moderatorIf you would like to ask a question or suggest a topic, send it to the moderator by clicking moderator in the list in the side bar and sending a private message.
Dave.WaltGood evening and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedules to get to know us a bit better before you vote in the upcomming weeks. I want to applogize for not attending the previous two chats, I had just gotten married the day before the first chat and had to work during the second. I tried to get into it from work but there was just too many fire walls preventing me from getting on. Guess i got a bit of catching up to do since i was not apart of the first two. who am i and what do i bring to the table? Well i have played this great sport for 9 years and have been judging it for 8 years. last year Nafa gave me the great honour of accepting my supervising application and i have tried my best to uphold their standards and work with our new judges so they are set off on the right path. I will not lie, I do not have the impressive resume of some of our candidates and current Bod members, I am just your average flyball person who loves to see his dogs have fun and hang out with my fellow flyball people. What i do bring is an unbelievable passion and commitment for the sport and a clean understanding of the rules and procedures Nafa employs. I am extremely approachable and always willing to talk flyball and help others understand what is going on. i honestly believe there are no stupid questions/requests and treat every one with respect they deserve.
moderatorOur first question: Dirk__elber: for each of you .. what is it that makes Nafa the flyball organization that you are willing to help run?
moderatorThere are no questions in the queue at this time.
Ally-SternI owe a lot to Nafa flyball and the people that race in the organization. Nafa has been there when Ontario banned the bully breeds from the province and from dogsports. Nafa cared enough and worked very hard to get an exemption for our beloved bully breeds. No other flyball organization did that. Even the agility organization didn't do it. I am very proud of Nafa!! Also, when our region was new Nafa came and hosted the Agm here in Montreal. It is that kind of support that has helped our region grow. And it is growing!!!
Curtis_SmithWith Nafa, l feel a sense of "ownership" regarding how things are run because it has an elected Board of Directors and Executive Director, and because competitors have opportunities to vote on various proposals. In general, I think Nafa does a great job of making people feel like they are part of a bigger team. I also like supporting a nonprofit organization.
Dave.WaltIt is the only organization I am willing to work for. Anybody that knows my clubs knows we are leading the pro Nafa charge and love the path they are headed on. I just want to be able to contribute and be a voice for the Nafa community while continuing on the foundation the previous board has laid. I feel I owe it to the Nafa community as a sign of respect for all their support these past 9 years.
Curtis_SmithNafa was also *very* supportive of our efforts to establish flyball in Alaska.
Alisa.RomaineI started racing back in 1995 - no Ejs - in the region then there were hardly any teams running under 20 seconds. I remember seeing Hfa (now disbanded) run in the 19s and it was so exciting. Watching the sport grow and become better and better for the participants has been truly exciting. I have been honored to help move Nafa along as a sport. In the past three years serving on the Board of Directors, I have learned so much. I truly had no idea how much work and emotional energy go into pushing this great sport along. I can't think of a place I would rather be --whether racing as a competitor, or helping with the daily functioning of the entity as a whole. I enjoy hearing from the competitors and have attempted to ensure that their thoughts and ideas are heard on the Board level. I can't imagine anything more exciting than continuing to enjoy Nafa as it continues to evolve.
Ally-SternIf elected it would be my pleasure to give back to the organization that has gaven me so much.
moderatorOur next question: sarah.collins: How do you plan to market Nafa flyball to players whom have never competed in Nafa events? How do you reach these people and present Nafa as an attractive addition to their dog sport or flyball activities?
Ally-SternIf elected I would like to move the Canam event around North America. Seeing flyball is really the best way to promote it.
Dave.WaltAs I said earlier, I do not come here with degress in this and that, obviously marketing is not something I specialize in but we do our best in our region by doing many demos and handing out the Nafa brochures and answering many questions. We also offer classes and convince almost 100% of our puppy owner obedience clients to give it a shot. Any time we see a "spectator" at one of our 6 tournaments a year, we are all over them and explaining what is going on and how to get involved.
Alisa.RomaineOn a large scale, I think Can Am has been a huge benefit. Marketing Nafa on the Guinness World Book level, live streaming entire days of racing, all the sponsors who joined in to help that gigantic event come about. It has truly become something that all clubs can be excited about attending. On a local level my club mentors people in Az who are interested in the sport. Heat Wave and now the other clubs who have started up, attend numerous events during the year, bringing flyball to the general public. I can honestly say that I doubt there are many organizations who host events in the Phoenix area who do not have a flyball demo and flyball information at the event. The "new club letter" that the Board has been working on will help bring pertinent information into the hands of the new club owner so that they have resources at their fingertips to educate and assist them in their growth. I can honestly say that with Nancy Garcia at the helm, the Marketing Committee has done more this last year to get the flyball word out than in the two years previous of my Board term. I believe we are really heading in the right direction with that committee now.
Ally-SternLocally I promote the sport by hosting a tournament in front of 1000s at a pet show. We hand out brochures, and teach classes year round. We also teach seminars to clubs that are just starting out. Since we live in a mostly french province most of our efforts are in french. Hopefully Nafa will someday soon translate some of its website. There is a very large market here that can't read english
Curtis_SmithI think we need to continue producing high quality informational pamphlets like the one that already provided on the Nafa website. At each of our events in Region 18, we distribute quite a few of these pamphlets with our club's contact info and website on them. I think it would also help if Nafa put together some promotional videos much like the one that the folks with Santa Barbara Supersonics (?) put together for their tournament. The Santa Barbara video is set to some great music and it's a lot of fun to watch. Very creative!
moderatorOur next question: Dana.nichols: if elected, what committees would you want to serve on, and why?
Ally-SternThe brouchure is excellent! We have english and french copies at the pet show
sarah.collinsThere are flyball players that do not attend Nafa events. What I am asking is how do we give them "incentive" to enter Nafa Tournaments?
Ally-SternBecause of my work experience marketing/awards and/or finance
Alisa.RomaineI have enjoyed being on the judges' committee and would like to do so again. Maketing has been a bit above my head but I would enjoy being on rules committee again. While it is labor intensive, that is also an interesting committee to serve on.
Dave.WaltBeing a judge i am sure it is no surprise that I would prefer to be all over the judges and rules commitee seeing as this is what I know best. Think the disiplinary committee would something I would be a good asset to as well. I honestly am willing to fill whatever position the Bod decides on and will do my best to learn the job. Anybody that questions my work ethic really does not know me very well, I am a workaholic so will take on what ever is necessary to help the sport move forward
Dana.NicholsAlly - what background do you have in finance? We'd certainly love someone with some training/experience in that area.
Ally-SternBefore my kids were born I was the bookeeper for a medium size company.
Curtis_SmithI would like to serve on the Rules Committee and the Judges Committee, both of which I believe would benefit from my experience as a Head Judge. I also think I would be a good addition to the technology committee if extra work needed to be done.
Ally-SternI handled all the basic accounting and tax payments
moderatorThere are no questions in the queue at this time.
Dana.NicholsCurtis, what technology background do you have>
moderatorOur next question: sarah.collins: Over a period of approximately 30 months, Nafa posted over $51,000 in losses according to financial statements posted on Nafa's website. Recently, they passed a "balanced" budget which is based on financial performance assumptions. Can you describe your position on Nafa's finances and talk in terms of what is acceptable "deficit" spending for a non-profit? Would you support Spending cut-backs vs raising fees? What would you vote for to balance Nafa's budget?
Curtis_SmithI'm very familiar many software packages and I have some programming experience mostly in C.
Ally-SternBut I am not an accountant "by trade". My degree is in political science and history. But i did that for a few years.
Ally-SternI think a combination of both is probably necessary. I do not believe that a large deficit is acceptable for a non-profit organization. I run my business at a break even or profit at all times and if elected I would like to see Nafa do the same.
Ally-SternI support a reduction in shipping costs of the Ejs- I think whenever possible the Ejs should be hand carried to tournaments. I try to lead through example- we have often transported the Ejs for our tournaments and we also plan to transport them for others.
Curtis_SmithI'm very pleased that Nafa has produced a budget which I believe will go a long way to countering the losses experienced during the last fiscal year. As for deficit spending, I think the adage "you have to spend money to make money" certainly makes sense sometimes, in which case a deficit might be necessary occasionally for the short-run, but it definitely doesn't make sense to plan on long-term deficits. Without taking a close look at the most recent profit-loss spreadsheets, I can't say whether I would necessarily support spending cut-backs as opposed to raising fees. The best scenario, of course, would be to increase Nafa's already high-quality services without increasing fees.
Alisa.RomaineThere have been some big changes in the last two years which have brought more expense with them than was anticipated - the start up of the Can Am tournament not in conjunction with any other entity; purchasing more Ejs to alleviate the Ejs issues; and various tech expenses associated with the website. To compound the issues, Nafa has not raised fees in line with what various items should be costing. By looking over the expenses and the items bringing in money, the Board has now come up with a balanced budget. I honestly believe that the Board is well on line with keeping the budget as balanced as they can. I believe we should be operating as close as possible to a balanced budget.
moderatorThere are no questions in the queue at this time.
Dave.WaltObvioulsy we should always try to avoid a large deficit at all cost but raising fees in my opinion is not the best way to go since we do have a direct competitor and raising fees may drive them away. I honestly would need to see everything to see where money could possibly be saved before I could properly comment on the rest of the question.
moderatorOur next question: sarah.collins: If you win election to the Nafa Board, you will represent the interests of all Nafa players, including those with whom you disagree. How do you plan to represent the interests of those whom disagree with you?
moderatorThere is one question in the queue.
moderatorI'm going to make a last call for questions.
Dave.WaltAs a board member, we are here to serve all of Nafa weather we agree with their idea or not and need to address everyones concern in an appropiate and respectfull manner. I would bring forward any request to the Bod and as a group we would decided weather it was in the best interest of the organization or not.
Dave.WaltI feel there can be No personal agenda while being a board member and you have to treat everyone with respect despite any history that may be there
Ally-SternRepresenting all interests is part of a board member's job. I always treat everyone with respect, fairness and an open mind.
Alisa.RomaineI don't believe that having differing opinions makes it difficult to "represent" someone. No matter what comes before the Board, I listen with an open mind and a view to what is best for all involved in the sport. I have sometimes had a differing opinion on items that came before the Board. After all the discussion was in, however, I could at least see the point the proffering party was attempting to make and I actually found myself voting for, or arguing for, things I would not have thought possible. Also, just because a proposal comes before the Board, does not mean it will "pass" even if I agree with it. The bottom line for me is whether something will benefit the majority of players. I try to base my vote on that point of view.
moderatorTwo final questions.
moderatorOur next question: Dave.collett: There has been some video traninig produced by Nafa. What additional videos or other methods of training do the candidates suggest?
sarah.collinsDoes respect include putting forth a "motion" and a second to allow a topic to be discussed?
sarah.collinsThere have been items presented to the board that were not allowed to be discussed.
Curtis_SmithAs a member of the Board of Directors, I would always work with the best interests of Nafa in mind. I have no hidden agenda and I know what it's like to work as part of a team. I've learned that it's always important to listen to and respect what others have to say because I have been known to be wrong on at least a few occasions ;)
Alisa.RomaineSome items that come before the Board are not in the best interest of the majority. I believe that in those cases, Board members were not inclined to bring the item to a motion. If the person proposing the item so desires, they can send the proposal again.
Curtis_SmithFuture training videos could include how to box judge and line judge.
Alisa.RomaineAs to training videos. There are several more videos in the works. I believe that a line/box judging video is near final production as we speak. I think that is likely one of the most important videos from a "training a newbie" standpoint. I believe there are also some more judge training videos coming out once this last one it produced.
Alisa.Romaineoops "is" produced...
Dave.WaltEducation is what drives the sport and makes it safe for everyone. The more people know, the smoother everything will run.
Ally-SternI can't easily comment on that Sarah. I am running because I am passionate about Nafa flyball and I'm committed to the organziation and Nafa flyballers.
moderatorOur last question: Dirk__elber: since this is the last chat .. I would like to thank all of you for running for the board and offering your services. My last question is if there were one hot button issue that you would like to champion during your time on the board.. .what is it?
Curtis_SmithIt might also help to put a video together that includes pointers on what to do when hosting a tournament, including how to work the head table, produce seed charts, poster boards for results, etc.
Ally-SternMy hot button issues are a balanced budget and promoting the sport to newbies
Alisa.Romainewell, I spent a lot of emotional energy on a regional issue this last year. I do not want the distance issues that those flyballers in the west face to be pushed under the rug. Those clubs in the eastern half of the Us have it easy as far as distance traveled to tournaments. ;-). If I am re-elected I will have to see what comes up that needs my enthusiasm!
Dave.WaltI would love to help clear up some of the rules that people are still not seeing clearly. As a judge I get to travel around a bit and am shocked at how some of the rules are viewed. I know the Bod has alot of trust in us judges and leaves alot for us to use our own judgment but some of it is still being, in some cases, called very differently in one place compared to another. I would like to see it all come together and called pretty similar across the board no matter what region you are in.
moderatorIf any of the candidates have any closing remarks, please feel free to make them.
Curtis_SmithThanks for the kind words Dirk! I would like to help with the efforts toward keeping Nafa's budget balanced, while continuing the present efforts to improve communication between the Board and the rest of Nafa's participants.
Ally-SternAnd translating some of the website into French. It's important. There is a large market of french speakers and they are very interested in flyball. It's time to show them that Nafa is the organization that will welcome them.
Alisa.RomaineThank you again everyone for participating in the candidate chats. I look forward eagerly to the coming year, whether again as a Board member or simply as a competitor. Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy your holiday season.
Ally-SternI enjoyed chatting chatting with you all tonight. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me
Curtis_SmithThank you to everyone who has participated during this year's series of candidate chats. I've enjoyed sharing some of my ideas, comments, and beliefs with other members of the Nafa community. Thanks also to Kim Davis for organizing all three chats and to Dale Smith and Leerie Jenkins for moderating them. If you missed the other chats, please be sure to get informed and read the transcripts on Nafa's website. The nomination letters for all the candidates are also available on Nafa's website. Then most importantly, please vote. Exercise your right to help shape the future of Nafa. Thanks again, and if anyone would like to contact me, please send a message to
Dana.NicholsI just wanted to remind everyone again that the deadline to complete the opt-in to receive ballots electronically is December 14 - Tuesday. You'll receive your ballots much more quickly. Be sure to not only sign in at the Nafa site, but also complete the verification you receive in the confirmation email. Any questions or problems, send an email to
Dave.Walti want to thank everyone for taking the time to spend with us tonight. i hope you got a better understanding of what i am all about. i take great pride in everything i do and should you all think i am the right person for the board, this will be no different. i do understand that i will be working for the Nafa community adn would love the opportunity to be you voice "in the board room". do not ever hesitate to approach or contact me, like i said, i am very easy going and approachable and will treat your request with the respect it deserves. should you want to chat some more, feel free to email me at . I would love to have the opportunity to work with the Bod and continue the course they have set to keep Nafa as the best place to play flyball. have a good night
moderatorThank you Alisa, Ally, Curtis, and Dave; to all the participants who attended; to those reading the transcripts; and to Kim and Dana…good night all!
moderator<chat Transcript Stops Here>