Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat December 7th, 2012

moderatorThis is Dana Nichols acting as moderator this evening. Thank you all for joining us tonight for the final candidate chat. Thank you to Nominating Committee Chair Dana Hanson for arranging the chats. Thank you to our Board of Directors Candidates: Kim Davis, Dirk Elber, Leerie Jenkins, and Karen Oleson for joining us this evening. If you have questions, please send a private message to the moderator.
moderatorOk, why don't we go ahead and get started with opening remarks from the candidates.
Karen OlesonGood Evening All. I appreciate your taking time to ask questions. Please forgive me if my answers are shorter and more to the point than usual this evening as I am not feeling 100%.
moderatorAt this point, I have 2 questions in the que.
leerie.jenkinsI’m Leerie Jenkins, and I’m running for re-election to the board. Thanks to all who are participating in the chat and in the election. I’d be honored to serve again. Thanks for your consideration.
Kim DavisGood evening all! So glad you all could join us for the candidate chat tonight. My name is Kim Davis and I’m thrilled to be running for the Board of Directors this year. I’d like to take a moment and offer a special thanks to Kris Pickering for nominating me.
Dirk_ElberGood evening to all, and I look forward to another opportunity to answer questions from the flyball community
moderatorOur first question was submitted this afternoon by Rd Amanda Brown. From Amanda Brown: fact: The Ejs and its shipping containers are falling into serious disrepair question: What is your plan on how to get these fixed and keep them in good repair?
leerie.jenkinsI believe we are getting close to be able to really park sets in regions, have them hand carried when possible, and minimize shipping damage. The insides of the cases have evolved a bit over time and we're always looking at building a better way of protecting them.
Karen OlesonYes, the shipping containers are indeed falling into disrepair. The long term goal is to have Ejs stay in a region (generally) so that they can be hand carried from tournament to tournament rather than be exposed to shipping. Please understand that the actual handling of Ejs and shipping container repair falls under the direction of the Executive Director rather than the board. The board can make suggestions and support the Ed.
Kim DavisI think the current plan to have enough Ejs so that each Region can have sets of their own, will result in the minimizing the amount of traveling the sets have to endure, which will also lessen the repairs.
Dirk_ElberI think all of our Ejs systems need to have work done to bring not only the shipping containers but the Ejs up to top shape. Not fair when units arrive on site missing parts or having known damage, and left out in the field for multiple tournaments. I know that in most cases if issues are reported with the actual Ejs they have been taken care of very quickly. However, the cases have in many cases just gotten worse. Missing wheels or broken corners. Even if we are able to eventually park units in specific regions, we need to make sure they are in top condition and remain such. If they are parked then my understanding is that we will be able to save on the wear and tear of commercial shipping. The issue then is what rules will we have for shipping and storing the Ejs systems when they may be separated from their external shipping containers.
moderatorHere's our next question: Dave.collett: Region 6 had 2 tournament weekends last year and many of the Arizona Teams have declared to Region 16. What changes would you make to help increase participation in the geographical region?
moderatorWhile our candidates are typing, I've got 3 questions in the que. If anyone else has questions, please feel free to send them to me.
Dirk_ElberI would like to know why there were only two? Is it finding clubs that have the people and know how to run tournaments? Is it a question of finding suitable facilities? Or is it other reasons . There are things that Nafa could do to help give new clubs the support to host for the first time. I heard there has been talk of another video that shows how to set up or host a tournament. In addition, I know that a lot of us that have hosted in the past are willing to help newer hosts by giving them assistance and suggestions. Maybe a more formalized guide to hosting can be made available until this proposed video is produced. However beyond this I am not sure if Nafa is in the position to create more tournaments in any specific region.
leerie.jenkinsDave, we look to the Ed for proposing regional boundaries and vote to approve his assignments. I’m certain the Ed would love to hear more ideas from region 6 and what the participants would like to do with your region. Have the tournament weekends actually declined, or is it that they count for region 16 now?
Dave.CollettThere were tournaments hosted by the Arizona clubs that in the past had been Region 6 tournaments. In order to have teams from
Karen OlesonThe board does not have the ability to promote Flyball in a specific area without the help of local clubs. As a fellow flyballer I am always willing to help a club that wants to host a tournament through the entire process. Without information directly to the board from the region in question there isn't much we can do.
Kim DavisI think looking to where most of the existing Region 6 clubs are participating in tournaments would be a start. How easy or hard is it for those clubs to hold tournaments? Do they have enough people to man a tournament on their own? Are there enough venues to hold them locally? A deeper look would have to take place to really see where people are going to play flyball.
Dave.CollettSouther California at the tournaments they needed to declare to region 16. there was not enough teams to host a tournament otherwise.
Dave.CollettThere have been 3 proposals in recent years to have the region split more reasonably. Most of the teams in region 6 and 16 travel east and west not north and south.
Dirk_ElberHave you considered an approach to Co=host the tournament with teams from the two regions, so that the tournaments would count in both regions, and thereby drawing more participation from the neighboring regions?
Karen OlesonThere are clubs in adjoining regions co-hosting tournaments such that they count for regional points in both regions. This enables the co-hosting clubs to get enough entries to make the tournament successful. Would that help your area?
Dave.Collettfinding a reasonable dividing line north and south would make for more reasonable split
moderatorAny further comments on Dave's question?
moderatorIf not, we'll move on to our next question.
leerie.jenkinsJust that hopefully we can find something that will help.
moderatorOur next question is from Dana Hanson: What issues do you believe Nafa should be spending the most time addressing in the immediate future and why?
leerie.jenkinsCustomer service. Using technology to make hosting, scoring, and running in tournaments easier.
Karen OlesonI am interested in streamlining processes. Streamline the process of submitting sanctioning requests, streamline (automate) the process of applying for height cards, new clubs, calculating Nafa fees, submitting results etc.. Nafa needs to be more automated and user-friendly.
Kim DavisThe matter of the Ejs service and care is foremost on a lot of people’s minds. Publishing more information on how to hold tourneys and making it easier for clubs to do so. Electronic versions of certain forms we have on the websites would be a great help for everyone.
Dirk_ElberIt looks like the entire group focuses on the technology behind flyball, and I do agree with that. But I would also like to see how we can continue to grow the sport. I really think the partnership with Akc was a great step. But hopefully more is to come to introduce more people to this sport.
moderatorOur next question: Dana Hanson: During a chat with another candidate last year, mention was made that work was being done to make tournament scheduling easier. I've not seen the fruits of that labor. What are your thoughts on getting that done? How would you feel about an assessment to standardize what clubs are using -- perhaps changing the fee to register a club and providing them the software automatically?
moderatorI have one question after this one in the que. If anyone has any other questions, please send them to me.
Karen OlesonScheduling is currently available by sending a seeding list to Nafa. What comes back is a schedule that is considered approved (without change), however must still be reviewed by the Rd. The software continues to be refined and tweaked as regions tend to have different preferences and requirements when it comes to breaks for clubs and teams.
Karen OlesonDid you mean to standardize how scheduling is done or something else?
leerie.jenkinsDana, I wish I was a skilled enough coder to create a brilliant scheduling program. It’s a very complex puzzle to solve. I believe we will continue to try and improve on the process. Once we get a scheduling program we are really happy with, I’d like to see that put online for all to be able to use.
Kim DavisI think it's going to vary from Region to Region as to whether they choose to use the present optimizer or stick with a 'home-grown' program.
Dana HansonKaren, my question was about standardizing the scheduling tools but still allowing choices to be made by the users based on their preferences.
Dirk_ElberThe few schedules I have tried to figure out manually, I have given up and gone with the method that comes with popular program. I think the other issue that has made the scheduling so much more difficult is the continued growth in Open, as this makes for delays due to the conflicts. And I would like to see more tournaments use the rule that is used at Canam that does not allow an Open conflict.
Karen OlesonDana, the optimizer tool continues to be refined. One path that the developer is looking at is to have it available online with options to allow the user to customize breaks for clubs and teams (the options you mention).
moderatorI have one final question: Dana Hanson: Another issue on supporting region participation and growth issues . . . Our region is becoming too large for one unlimited tournament a month. Having more than one tournament a month will leave us splitting entries and may make tournament hosting unaffordable to some. Yet we are beginning to see some multiple tournament months because one large region club feels they are unduly penalized by the current draw process. Do you have suggestions for managing this awkward period in our region's growth?
Dirk_ElberI am not clear of the issue wit hthe current draw process. How are they being penalized in unlimited tournaments as there are no draws?
leerie.jenkinsIt’s a good problem to have…growing pains. So congrats to your region! My first suggestion would be to have the region try to talk it out and figure out how to manage the growth. Some options are limiting some tourneys, finding new venues to add a ring to the tourney, and finding venues to provide additional no or less “frills” tourneys.
leerie.jenkinsAlso find out the tolerance among participants for reducing races/heats, optimizing division sizes to minimize the number of races, and/or block racing (some people like it).
Dana HansonSorry Dirk. To clarify, our own club has limited our tournament. They have responded by adding a tournament because they are unlikely to get all teams into ours.
Karen OlesonIdeally clubs in your region will work together to support each other’s tournaments, especially the new ones (tournaments). If the unlimited tournaments are truly too large, it seems reasonable to think that a 2nd tournament weekend would ease the crowding. In your case it sounds like limiting your tournament is reasonable.
Karen OlesonMy best suggestion is to make sure your tournament is well run. People will return to well run tournaments and ultimately the market decides which tournaments are successful.
moderatorWhile we're waiting on the final answers, that completes our questions for the evening, so the candidates can start working on any closing remarks.
Kim DavisIt is a growing pain ... and all the clubs, hopefully will continue to support each other as the tournaments increase. While the tourneys might be smaller and/or limited, people will still want to come to play.
moderatorI want to remind everyone that ballots must be voted by January 24, 2013 by midnight central time zone. Ballots were distributed via email on Monday, December 3, 2012. If you have not received a ballot and should have (club owner, regional director, approved and supervising judges, and board members), please send me a private email at so I can find out the issue and get your ballot resent.
Dirk_ElberThank you for the clarification. I agree with Leerie, that talking it out in the region would be the first step. I know in our region all the tournament directors are in discussion so that we can lay out a schedule where we do not have back to back weekends and risk taking entries from another region. I think that each of our tournaments offers something special (whether level of completion, number of heats, or frills) that makes some people chose one over the other. But yet we still have large enough turnout that the tournaments are economically viable. Maybe not the maximum size one would imagine, but profitable and also allowing for racing days that are not going late in the evening.
moderatorI also want to say thank you to the rest of our Election Committee this year – Dana Hanson and Emma Mak. They've both done a ton of work to help make the election run smoothly.
Dirk_ElberThank you for the clarification. I agree with Leerie, that talking it out in the region would be the first step. I know in our region all the tournament directors are in discussion so that we can lay out a schedule where we do not have back to back weekends and risk taking entries from another region. I think that each of our tournaments offers something special (whether level of completion, number of heats, or frills) that makes some people chose one over the other. But yet we still have large enough turnout that the tournaments are economically viable. Maybe not the maximum size one would imagine, but profitable and also allowing for racing days that are not going late in the evening.
Dirk_Elberoops... double clicked. sorry
moderatorSo, we're ready for closing remarks from the candidates now.
moderatorThank you all for participating.
moderatorThe chat transcript will be posted on the Nafa page in the next few days.
Kim DavisThanks again for the chance to ‘talk’ and answer all your questions. Feel free to e-mail me if anyone has any additional questions. I’m privileged to be among some great people in this election year! And I hope everyone has great holidays!
leerie.jenkinsThanks again all for participating and thanks to Dana and Dana for hosting the chat. As always, my phone and inbox are always open, please call or write me (my contact info is on the Nafa contact page) anytime if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to talk about flyball. Thanks and goodnight!
Dirk_ElberWould like to thank Amanda, Dave and Dana for their questions, and I hope all of them have been answered appropriately by all of us. Thank you again for participating. Hope everyone has a good evening.
Karen OlesonThank you for your time and questions. As always I am available to listen, or answer questions or comments you have regarding my tenure on the board and my thoughts on different Nafa related items. Thanks!
Kim DavisThank you Dana N, Dana H, & Emma