Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat September 12th, 2010

moderatorOk, we'll go ahead and get started. Our chat this evening is to allow our voters to get a chance to "get to know" our candidates a bit more. There are many ways to do that and our chats leading up to the election are just one venue. Questions that are queued will be placed into the mian window one at a time. The person that posted the question is welcome to follow up with the candidates as they asnwer. Any other Directly Related inquiries can also go into the main window as the candidates are answering. If you're in doubt if its Directly Related - ask me.
moderatorAt this time I'll let the candidates send an opening remark if they'd like.
moderatorAlso a reminder that the transcript from this chat will be posted on the Nafa website within a day or two.
moderatorI have two questions queued at this time.
Alisa.RomaineHello everyone. Thank you all for taking some time out of your weekend to join us tonight. I am happy to see so many great candidates this year.
Curtis_SmithHello and thank you to everyone, including the other candidates, for joining the first chat of the election season. I'm hoping this will provide an opportunity for Nafa's flyball community to learn more about me, and for me to hear more about the issues that are important to the folks in attendance. In the eight years I've been involved with Nafa, I've had the good fortune to meet a wide variety of flyballers from nearly every Region at all levels of competition. I've experienced flyball as a competitor, Team Captain, and a Head Judge, all of which will help me serve Nafa well should I get elected to the Board of Directors.
Christine.VanWertHello everyone. Thank you for joining us in chat tonight. I hope you all are as happy to be here as I am. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Nafa Board members for all the hard work they do in order for us to get together and have this chat. I would particularly like to thank Dana Nichols for all the extra effort she put in to make sure the minutes from the latest Board meeting in Las Vegas was approved and posted on the website in time for this chat. I appreciate all the hard work of the Nafa Board and I hope that everyone understands that when I offer critism of Nafa policies and actions it is Not that I don't appreciate all the hard work that Nafa volunteers do. Rather, it is that I think there is a better way to do things and that is the reason I am a candidate for the Nafa Board. Nafa has a bright future ahead and I look forward to your questions. Good luck to my fellow candidates as well as to Nafa players in attendance tonight. The best part of the election process is that we get the opportunity to ask questions and voice our opinions. During an election, people are more willing to speak up. Regardless of how I answer your questions and whether you decide to vote for me, this chat and the input it provides is hugely important for Nafa.
Eric_FosterI just to first say hello and thanks for spending your time here tonight. Also thanks for taking such an interest in the future Nafa leadership. I will do my best to answer any questions you may have about me, my experience, and my desire to bigger part of the future of Nafa.
Ally-SternHi. Sorry for the delay in introducing myself but there was a bug on keyboard- a real bug! Lol! I am looking forward to chatting with you all tonight and I am also very eager to volunteer my time to Nafa.
moderatorOur first question for this evening: Dave.collett: My first question is about Canam. Are the candidates in favor of continuing it and why?
Ally-SternI am certainly in favour of a Canam event. It's an excellent opportunity to market Nafa flyball to the public and gather as many teams as possible at one tournament. I would be in favour of changing the location and date of the event. For some flyballers the beginning of the school year is difficult for travel. Also, I would rather showcase Canam flyball to the public in other locations. It's part of my "vision" for Nafa. Market flyball to new flyballers- the Canam can help do that.
Alisa.RomaineI think that Can Am is an important and exciting event for all clubs. Some of us who race in the wider reaches where we are lucky to have 6 or 7 tournaments a year, have planned for this event with great anticipation. However, because of the massive scope of the event, I would prefer to see it be held on an every other year basis. The planning and preparation and hosting of this event is in massive proportions compared to regular Nafa events and the planning for the next Can Am begins immediately upon the completion of the current Can Am. The Board spends an enormous amount of time working on this one event. I can easily see how the planners, Board and otherwise, would eventually get burned out if we continue to hold this event every year. I am proud to be involved with the Board in seeing that the budget for this year's Can Am is balanced and continues to stay balanced. I also would like to say that we could not hold this event without many, many, many volunteers from our racing clubs. Without the efforts of each and every one of you, this event simply would not be able to happen.
Eric_FosterI do feel that Canam is great opportunity for many flyballers to interact, learn from each other and celebrate the sport. I have yet to attend the event due to outside circumstances but my team does travel to many tournaments outside of our region and one of the greatest things we experience is the many different people and their racing companions. I see Canam as the superbowl of this great sport and with my background in large event production I would want to push it out into the open and let the public see how amazing the culture and the racing really is.
Dave.CollettAlly, one of the difficulties of a Canam style event if the distance travelled to get to it. When it was Cynosports mostly only teams in the west went. Indianopolis is a fairly central location. Where else would you want to see it held?
Curtis_SmithI am all for the continuation of Canam. I think it's an incredible opportunity for flyball folks from all over the continent to meet one another, compete against, and watch teams they don't normally see. Last year's Canam had news spots from coast to coast, which surely piqued some interest among those unfamiliar with the sport. Alaska Dogs Gone Wild can't wait to participate again this year!
Ally-SternIf elected I would support a every second year Can Am tournament. My team has hosted 27 tournaments and I know how much planning goes into an event.
Christine.VanWertI am Absolutely in favor of continuing a "national Championship Event" no matter what we name it (cynosports/canam). it gives us the opportunity to showcase our sport in front of the world as well as give our competitors a platform from which they can challenge their skills in flyball. However, I am not in favor of jeopardizing Nafa's future financially in order to have this event. I also am not in favor of the Board committing so much of their time and resources in planning this event that there is little room for anything else. i think we could make good use of a special planning committee made up primarily of non-board members to make phone calls, send emails and line-up volunteers for setup/teardown, hospitality and whatever else we need. we need to work Smarter planning the Canam. Not harder. We Would need at least two Board members on this planning committee to act as laisons between it and the Board.
Ally-SternNiagara Falls comes to mind
Ally-SternIt's somewhat central
Ally-SternThere is no ideal location but I would like to focus on locations that are close to teams that teach classes. If the public comes to watch the event there should be a way for interested people to join a class.
moderatorOur next question: Dave.collett: Are the candidates in favor or opposed to "parking" the Ejs in the regions and purchasing enough additional sets to make this possible?
Ally-SternI am in favour but I would like to see it done on a trial basis. Park Ejs in some regions and do a cost analysis after 1 year.
Alisa.RomaineThis is a great question and one that the Board has already been working on. If the region has enough tournaments (whatever that number may be) to warrant an Ejs staying, then parking an Ejs there would save on the shipping it back and forth. Regions who may not have enough tournaments to qualify, may end up next to a region that does - and therefore shipping would be minimal. I believe that the number of Ejs that we have, along with new ones being ordered, may, in fact, enable us to give this idea a test drive. If it works, it should save Nafa a Lot on shipping the Ejs around for every tournament.
Ally-SternAfter a year we would know if it's worthwhile or not.
Alisa.RomaineDefinitely, Ally. This is something that we don't want to jump into with both feet and then find it isn't helping the budget.
Ally-SternWe have a set here in Montreal. We hope it's "parked" here until the spring. It makes so much sense since we're hosting 6 tournaments between Sept and April!
Christine.VanWertIt doesn't matter if we "park" Ejs's or not. We need to find a way to track damages to the Ejs, come up with a system to minimize damages and also save money in shipping. We have already made several Ejs purchases over the years with the goal of "saving" money and every time we purchase sets, increased demand for Ejs (through growth) has eaten through the savings. I think in the end, we will be working with a combination of parking sets and shipping others but, we need to fins a way to Project our growth and make plans for additional purchases up to 5 years in advance.
Ally-SternWe also drove our set back from our last tournament. We saved Nafa hundreds of dollars. Parking on a trial basis makes so much sense.
Dave.CollettI thought parking the Ejs was considered to be a system to minimize the damage to the systems. Also making someone responsible for taking care of it. Do you have any other ideas Christine?
Eric_FosterI am in favor of "parking" Ejs in individual regions.i have spent many years traveling the country in my line of work and I have parts, tools and gear all ove the world. One of the biggest challenges to cover is the cost of shipping. I would guess with the amount of travel these systems have seen as well as exstensive damage they receive on the road.... the investment for the extra Ejss would be gained back in in shear traveling costs alone....not to mention wondering if the system will arrive on time for your tournament and not know its condition when it arrives.....less stress and cost effective
Curtis_SmithBased on the information I have thus far, I'm certainly open to the option. However, I would first like to see some more analysis conducted as to whether the initiative would make sense financially. I believe the minutes from the Bod meeting on August 7 stated that more statistics and proposals are forthcoming. Intuitively, parking an Ejs in each Region should save on some wear and tear, but I think it's unclear how many Ejs units would be needed to accommodate all the tournaments on any given weekend if some Ejses are parked and not in use.
Ally-SternI think it's possible that most damage occurse because the sets are shipped. Ups leaves them in the rain, they drop them from the truck and no one feels a sense of ownership over the set. My husband will be looking after our set. He's serviced other sets and this set will also get the same treatment.
Eric_FosterI would also take the time to make sure the Regional directors are well versed on the use of the systems including troubleshooting any issues.
Alisa.RomaineWe also have to realize that not every region will host enough tournaments to be able to have a parked set. However, rather than shipping across the country, perhaps the parked set in an adjacent region could be put into service as long as it is not already used that particular weekend. This would also cut the shipping further.
Christine.VanWertIf you read the minutes from several different Bod meetings, you will see that there is no "agreement" as to what exactly causes damages to the Ejs. Some of it happens during shipping. Some of it happens from improper handling at tournaments. I don't believe that Nafa has come up with any conclusions yet.
moderatorDamage to the exterior case is caused by shipping, but we have little or no damage to the internal components from shipping. That damage comes from the way they're treated when they're setup, used and torn down...
Christine.VanWertparking Ejs would cut down on the possible shipping damages but, I think we will still be shipping some lights even if we do park some in busy Regions.
Dave.CollettEric, do you think it should be the regional director? I do not think some of them have the expertise to do that. I would prefer to see someone that has the expertise trained in each region.
Eric_FosterAlthough I agree with moderator, I would add that the cases themselves are not designed for heavy shipping use...and they cost money too.
Alisa.RomaineI know that out in the regions I race in the Rd is rarely involved with he Ejs. The judges and tournament directors are usually the ones setting up and repacking the Ejs. The Board is working on having the judges report to the Ejs coordinators any issues they had with the lights that weekend. This will keep the coordinators up to date with who needs new parts and what sets have what issues. Until now, issues have not been reported until the lights didn't work at the next tournament.
moderatorFive more minutes max and then we'll move to the next question - we have three in queue
Ally-SternIf the set is parked the person responsible will help us all avoid problems with the lights. He/she will have a "sense of ownership" and look after the set. I am in favour of trying this in some regions.
moderatorI should also add for the record that your moderator tonight is Dale Smith
Eric_FosterI agree Dave, I would at least take the time to explain the system to the Rds and strive to find volunteers within each region that would help out if there was any issues
moderatorOur next question: Dirk_elber: Question for all of the candidates.. as much of the work that is done by the Board of Directors is in the various committees such as finance, rules, awards and judges - if elected which of these committee(s) would your background provide the skills for you to be a major contributor? What are these skills?
Alisa.RomaineHaving been on the Board the past three years, I have been on quite a few of the committees. I have to say that my 11 years paralegal experience did help. I am used to multi-tasking and being able to get bits and pieces of things done in a chaotic environment. This experience from being a mom, wife, captain and head trainer of Heat Wave Flyball. While I personally, don't feel that I am experienced enough to lead any specific committee, I am very good at doing legwork, research, and getting anything done that the committee chair may not have time for themselves. The past year I have been on the Judges' Committee and I have found that very educational. hopefully my views as a non-judge helped the judges with the layman's view on some of the issues that came to us. If elected, I look forward to participating in whatever committees the Board Chair feels I would be beneficial in.
Christine.VanWertWell, I have an Associate's degree in communications so I think the Rules Committee where the ability to suggest language would be a good fit. Also, Disciplinary because of my extracurricular involvement in debate and parlimentary procedures. Marketing would be good, too because I edit and produce Flyball Today (livestream broadcasting flyball) and i-flyball, an informational website about flyball. Since I started Flyball Today in March, I have over 580 fans on its Facebook page. That's from starting it with a zero (0) and i-flyball increased it's memebership on Facebook by 75%. All through my promotion of these sites.
Ally-SternI am a stay at home mom to 2 children and 6 dogs. I teach and organize the Dogzworth dog training classes at our 50,000 square foot training facility. I also Dogzworth's webmaster, treasurer and one of our marketing experts. Before I had children I worked for many years in the high tech industry- my career focused on administraion, customer service and accounting. In 1995 I earned a Ba in Political Science and History from Mcgill University. If elected I would use the skills I learned in my pre-children career as well as the skills I am learning today as a part owner/manager of Dogzworth
Curtis_SmithI would be a good addition to the Rules and/or Judges Committees. I began my training as a Head Judge in 2005, and I've read every message posted to Nafa's judges' list including those in the archives. So, I'm quite familiar with the Rules of Racing and the Corporate Policies and By-laws. I've also experienced, read about, or heard about many of the atypical situations that can happen during a flyball tournament, which would help me evaluate proposed rule changes.
Eric_FosterI currently work for a 2000+ seat theatre and have been involved in large event production all my life. One of my main roles in my current job is the safety of the theatre, its patrons and employees. I have worked in marketing, technical support, graphic design,...and play in a jazz band on the weekends I'm not running dogs. I strive for excellence in my work and my passion is for my planned events to be "seamless". People depend on me and my word and that means alot to me. I have run crews of two - twenty persons at a time and I want to know each of them personally. Knowing them allows mw to knows their skills and abilities better so I can put them in a "winning" situation for them. When I lead....i strive to lead not only by my word....but my actions as well.
moderatorOur next question: Dave.collett: Which rules do the candidates think need to be changed or clarified?
Curtis_SmithI also have some experience marketing flyball in Alaska. We've had Tv coverage at every one of our five Alaska Summer Solstice Tournaments, and several newspaper articles about flyball. I also convinced the media to cover a flyball demo we conducted in Fairbanks.
Christine.VanWertThe rules I think that need to be clarified are the ones which our competitors write to the Board and ask for clarification. It's hard to answer a question with such a wide lattitude. Dave, is there a specific rule or situation in which you would like to listen to my opinion? What's imp[ortant to me is what is important to You.
Ally-SternI can't think of any at this moment. If there was a rule that I thought needed to be changed or clarified I would have already made the proposal to Nafa. In the past I was the person that proposed that a fair, unbiased lottery system be used to determine who got into limited tournaments. I also proposed that the wording of "runback" or "runoff" needed clarification. Now it's much clearer.
Alisa.RomaineThe only way to know which rules may need clarification or change comes from the input of the racing clubs and our judges who are out there every weekend. When situations arise and the rules are unclear, then perhaps that rule needs to be looked at for clarification. When we realize that all of the rules in the rulebook have come about because of situations during racing, it seems obvious to me that one can't just read the rulebook and make a blanket statement about what may or may not need tweaking. I think it is also important for those thinking a rule needs to be changed to really think about what you may be asking the Rules Committee to do. First consider if this rule change would really benefit the majority of the racers in Nafa. It isn't a good rule change if it only benefits one or two clubs but makes racing more difficult for the majority. Over the past three years, I have really learned to think "globally" when it comes to flyball.
Curtis_SmithThe rulebook is, of course, a constantly evolving document. As more people read it, more clarifications or changes are usually needed. Personally, I don't have think any major changes or clarification are needed at the moment. However, I have a file that I've maintained over the years with notes/questions that have come up since I started working as a Head Judge.
Curtis_SmithOops...i mistyped. I meant to say that I'm *unaware* of any major changes or clarifications that are needed.
Dave.CollettI have no specific questions about rules, Christine.
moderatorOur next question: Zac_chernik: Would the candidates think that with such a big venue as the Canam and being broadcast via livestrream to everyone else who can not attend, this would be a good time to take the top 16 clubs and measure their height dogs for all to see, no matter if they have a height card or not?
moderatorThree questions in the queue at this time
Ally-SternThe rules don't require the measuring of the height dog. Why should it be different for these 16 teams at the Can Am?
Ally-SternI'm not sure I understand
Eric_FosterInetersting question Zac. Waht would be the purpose of this?
Alisa.RomaineZac, that would be patently unfair to those teams. If measuring height dogs is going to go on at Can Am, then it needs to follow the rules - teams do Not have to measure height dogs. To require height dogs be measured would go against our current rules. In the unlikely event that measuring height dogs would be mandated, then each and every team there should have to measure their height dogs. That is the only fair way. Note that I am against that as it goes against our rules currently and Can Am Is being run with Nafa rules.
Curtis_SmithAlso, the file I have with notes/questions that have come up over the years contains relatively minor points of clarification that I intend to bring up soon on the Judges list and/or to the Board of Directors.
moderatorWith four questions in the queue at this time I'm going to close the question queue and see how we are on time
Christine.VanWertWhen you say the top 16 clubs, I think you mean the top 16 teams that actually qualify for the "canam Class". No, I am not in favor of departing from our rules which say that measuring is optional just for one Class of competition at one tournament.
Zac_ChernikYes...that is correct. What event in Nafa is by Invite Only? There are special rules already put in place for the top 16 teams and the single Elim racing format.
Curtis_SmithIf anyone wants to challenge the declared height of a dog, there is a process for doing so clearly specified in the rulebook.
Christine.VanWertInteresting point but, I think that would act as a deterrent for participating, even if by "invite".
Ally-SternI think if a world record is set the height dog should be measured. Otherwise measuring of these 16 height dogs should not be required
Alisa.RomaineThere are no special rules. The "top 16" get "invited" by using fastest times from clubs racing on Fri/sat. They can definitely choose to decline that "invitation".
Zac_ChernikSo...what not show case the measuring of the fastest for all the 76 different clubs that will be in attendance?
Christine.VanWertAlly, do you think if a Wr is set that the Hd should be measured even if it has a Height Card? For the Canam?
Alisa.RomaineTo what end, Zac?
Ally-SternIf he/she has a height card then no. But as Curtis said height can be challenged
Zac_Chernikit's only 16 teams Alisa.
Eric_FosterZac, are suggesting foul play? Curtis is right by saying if there is a issue with a specific height the rules state specifically how to handle it
Alisa.RomaineMeaning what? That those teams should have to measure when nobody else does? How is that fair?
moderatorI think we've got each candidate's view on this question - which is the point of tonight.
moderatorOur next question: leerie.jenkins: If you were to serve on the board, and were to become an officer (i.e. Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, or Treasurer), which one would you be best suited for, and why?
Alisa.RomaineIf I was to be an officer, I would probably do best in the secretarial position. That is a major time intensive position, which is a big scare, but the fact that I've had years of typing and was used to having bosses who liked to dictate while I typed, I could probably handle that if really pressed upon to do so. (If I'm elected I fear I have just signed my death warrant. Lol)
Christine.VanWertChairman of the Board because I have already served in that capacity in high school and later in college.
Ally-SternI would be happy to take on any role. As for best suited probably secretary or treasurer as my work experience was in accounting and administration.
Eric_FosterMy first thought would be what ever role needs filled to jump in with everything I have. I have been a 'captain' many times but I work just as well as a 'sargent' to a captain. Truthfully, I just want to make a difference and make the sport the best it can be.
moderatorOur next question: Linda_bullard: Hi, I'm late joining in and don't know if the following has been discussed.several candidate nominations mention growth in flyball, specifically regions 6, 18, & 20. Looking at limited growth and/or stagnation demonstrated in 1 or 2 of these regions, what would each candidate recommend Nafa do that has not already been done to create or improve growth specifically in these regions? thank you.
Curtis_SmithI would be best suited for the Vice Chairperson position. My mathematical and finance background would benefit the Finance Comittee, of which the Vice Chair is a member. Someday, I would also welcome the opportunity to be Chairperson, and some preliminary experience as Vice Chair would be an obvious first step in that direction.
moderatorIn the interest of having all candidates respond, you could comment on growth of Nafa flyball if you have nothing specific to the regions which Linda asked about.
Ally-SternI am not really sure I understand Linda's question. Region 2 has 16 weekend of tournaments and if I remember correctly region 1 has 13 weekends of Nafa flyball. Perhaps those regions are saturated with Nafa flyball already?
Christine.VanWertNafa is "in flux" right now meaning that some Regions are growing robustly, some have had their growth slow down and some are in decline. There are many reasons for this. the bad economy has had a terrible effect and nobody knows that more than myself since I live in Michigan. I think we need to explore cost-effective ways of encouraging growth.
Eric_FosterLinda, I'm not in your region but I do have a suggestion. I would ask you what you feel is the 'future' of Nafa. I belive its the kids. These junior handlers are awesome and need to be encouraged. At a recent 15 tourney we had two full teams of junior handlers....boxloaders....racers....even pass callers....all kids. Get them excited about the sport and instill in them we you love it so much.
Alisa.RomaineSpeaking with experience in region 6, I would say that the main issue with growth in this region is the vast distances involved in the region. Those from back east or the midwest may not realize that from one side of the region to the other is over 13 hours of driving time. Clubs try to stay fairly local but it is important to support the other clubs in the region so driving becomes a real issue. With the economy the way it is, driving more than 6 hours for a tournament becomes a Huge deal. In Region 6 flyball clubs continue to grow and we have quite a nice number in Phoenix. However, most are really young clubs and they are not equipped yet to host tournaments. Again, even if we host in Phoenix, realize that Utah and Nevada are also currently in our region - those are long drives for clubs in those areas to come to Phoenix. The small number of clubs who can actually attend any tournament fields us tournaments with 10-15 teams. It is difficult for clubs to break even, much less make money. I am not sure that the "nafa" can help us. We have to help ourselves and currently have a proposal before the Board in an attempt to do so.
Christine.VanWertAlly-region 1 had only 12 weekends of Nafa flyball in Fy2010 which is down from a high of 18 tournaments 5 years ago.
Curtis_SmithI believe growth in many Regions would occur if more clubs hosted tournaments. In addition to providing more opportunities for teams to compete, I believe it can be a very rewarding and bonding experience for club members whenever they host a tournament together. Of course, many clubs are understandably a bit anxious about taking the plunge because they have more than a few questions about how to host their first tournament. According to the Board meeting minutes posted yesterday, there is already an effort underway to put together a packet for clubs that want to host tournaments, which is an excellent idea. Before hosting our club's first tournament in 2006, I crafted a number of documents that would be great additions to such a packet--e.g., description of head table duties; line/box judge duties for volunteers; to do list of tasks/items that augment the checklist already found on Nafa's C.4 form.
Alisa.RomaineRegion 6 is happy if we get 6 - 8 weekends of flyball.
Ally-Sternsince I have not raced in region 1 since the early 2000s I find it hard to comment. Perhaps the recession hit that area hard?
Christine.VanWertSo, cost-effective means low cost or free. Flyball grows when people see it. Demos and tournaments mostly but, that means "in-person" attendence. Another ways is to broadcast a tournament where anybody from any location in the world can view it. That is why I started Flyball Today which is Free to watch, and Free for me to use as a broadcasting platform. Free. I like that price.
Linda_BullardWhat about new, start-up regions, such as Alaska where there are actually only 2 clubs? What would you recomment Nafa could do to better help these type areas?
Curtis_SmithI would also suggest surveying the Nafa community to help determine what is slowing growth in some regions or perhaps fostering growth in other. Darcey Sare of Good2go in Region 8 recently put together an excellent survey to help assess the opinions that people have regarding tournaments in their Region.
Alisa.RomaineLinda, I started flyball from nothing here in Phoenix in 2001. There are now five active clubs and several others trying to get started. I have to say that Heat Wave demos ourselves to death. We take every opportunity to demo at any dog related public event and get the flyball bug out to the public. We also have a web site so people surfing can find us. It seriously will take years but there is nothing that Nafa can do to help the local clubs if they local clubs are not willing to bust their collective butts to get flyball rolling. Never give up. You can do it.
Christine.VanWertFor Alaska, you need flyball classes. most big teams in my area offered flyball in addition to other dog obedience training. Once people see how much fun it is, they want to see if their dog can do it.
Linda_BullardWe've already done all of those things; I'm thinking what has "not" been done as ideas.
Christine.VanWertI'll admit that the prblem offering flyball classes is finding the person(s) willing to take on the role of instructor. Perservere. It's worth it.
Ally-SternBefore I moved to Montreal there were no tournaments here and only 1 team approx 1 hour west of our city. I started teaching classes and started hosting events. 5 years later we host 6 tournaments in our city and teach weekly classes
Ally-SternI agree with Alisa- don't give up!
Eric_FosterI would also suggest recruiting a bit....there are other dogsports other than flyball that have some great people and great dogs. It can't hurt to see to see who else is out there.
Linda_Bullardall been done already
Curtis_SmithUnfortunately, the biggest obstacle to growing flyball in Alaska is the lack of indoor training facilities. Until recently, there was only *one* option in all of Southcentral Alaska.
Linda_Bullardthanks, everyone
moderatorOur next question: Linda_bullard: Regarding the Bod decision to ban all tourneys within 1,000 miles of the Canam which at the same time turns away revenue, do you believe this is in the best interests of Nafa flyball. If yes, why; if no, why not? thank you
Alisa.RomaineLinda, then keep at it. You are on the right track. Keep offering classes and get out to demo whenever possible. Our first few classes had 10+ people sign up and then none get past week 4. We kept going and kept going. Know that every other club that has been where you are is pulling for you!
leerie.jenkinsJust to clarify, for those that haven't had a chance to read the minutes, there is no 1,000 mile rule. The Ed made a decision and used that as his break point initially. When the board next met, we were asked to look at this decision. There was some interest in banning all tournaments regardless of mileage, for that weekend. In the end, the board just found that the Ed was within his discretion, and appropriately exercised it.
moderatorOne more question and then closing comments for those who like to start composing...
Christine.VanWertWhat is in the best interests of Nafa is treating everybody "fairly". 1,000 mile blackout is not fair because if you happen to live outside of the 1,000 mile circle, you can have a tournament. The written and published rule concerning blackouts with other tournaments says 200 miles, not 1,000. so, if Nafa is going to suspend the 200 mile rule and prevent clubs within a 1,000 miles from hosting, it should be everybody, everytwhere. I requested to host a tournament that was outside the 200 miles and was denied. But if someone wanted to host in say Houston, Tx, that would be approved. That's Not fair.
Curtis_SmithI definitely agree with the Ed's decision to disallow the request to sanction a tournament within Region 1 for the same weekend as Canam. The dates for Canam were announced well in advance (late 2009?), and it would not be in Nafa's best interests to have "competing" tournaments in such close proximity to one another. Also, those teams vying for Regional Championships should not need to choose between Canam and an in-region tournament.
Alisa.RomaineWe are talking about one weekend out of 52 weekends. A club attempting to host on that same weekend I would imagine would not have much of a turnout. Can Am is supposed to be a signature, none-other-like-it event and I would imagine that any club within driving distance would want to be at Can Am. In addition, the Can Am weekend was published many months ago so all clubs knew when Can Am was being held and where Can Am was being held. To attempt to sanction a tournament within driving distance of Can Am shows, in my opinion, non support of Nafa.
Christine.VanWertCurtis, why not? All teams are vying for Regional Points, in theory. so, ther is always that dilemma. Again, the fairthing is not to allow competing tournaments anywhere in North america.
Ally-SternI have a lot of respect for the board and the Ed. They all work tirelessly for Nafa. I support the decision to not allow another tournament so close to the Can Am.
Linda_BullardAlisa, some clubs cannot afford to drive & pay lodging/food a distance over 200 miles but they can afford to play flyball in their own neighborhood
Alisa.RomaineThere are no other tournaments currently sanctioned on that weekend. I just checked the tournaments for 2011.
Christine.VanWertAlisa, there are many clubs that cannot afford the Canam and decided not to go. The Canam was not in competition with my request. The teams that approached me and asked for a tournament simply did not want to wait 2 1/2 months for the next tournament.
Eric_FosterI feel that having a tournament the same weekend as Canam doesn't support Nafa. I would think that this would be confusing to the public or to someone who may be interested in the sport. As stated, Canam dates are defined very clearly, and I think finding another weekend to race would be the better option
Ally-SternThen why not host in Nov or Dec?
Curtis_SmithChris: But Canam is not just any tournament. Such a special event requires special circumstances. The Bod went to great lengths to avoid any conflicts when scheduling this year's event.
Alisa.RomaineExpense may be true, but there are 51 other weekends to choose from.
Ally-SternCurrently there are no tournaments sanctioned in region 1in Nov or Dec
moderatorTry to answer Linda's question and refrain from responding to each other please.
Linda_BullardI don't understand the confusion Eric mentions nor Curtis' comment about the Can Am being a special event. Both Sam Ford and Lee Heighton previously mentioned the Canam is like any other tournament.
Eric_Fosterand to add a conflict in the direct path of Canam seems to challenge the Bod choices
Linda_BullardAlso, why would Nafa want to purposefully turn away revenue and prevent some folks from enjoying playing flyball.
Christine.VanWertAbsolutely. I was not "in conflict" with the Canam. These clubs were not going. Our tournament as proposed would not even Accept any entry until After the Canam Closed..... So, now the Canam is closed, what about the clubs who are not competing there? What happens to them?
moderatorIf someone wants to ask tis question of "nafa", we have a leadership chat in a couple days. For now I think the candidates have responded.
moderatorOur last question of the evening: Linda_bullard: The Canam typically draws 15-20% participation and leaves out 80-85% of Nafa community. Do you believe such an event is in the best interests of Nafa flyball? If yes, why; if no, why not? thank you
Eric_FosterI have to agree with Alisa in that there are 51 other weekends to plan a tourney.
Christine.VanWertSo, does anybody here support the concept that there should be No tourbaments sanctioned by Nafa anywhere on the Canam dates? Is that fair?
Ally-SternProfessional sports such as hockey don't have another game on the same evening as the Stanley Cup. It makes sense- all eyes should be focused on "the big event"
Christine.VanWertThank you. Ally. You understand.
Alisa.RomaineEvery tournament will, in and of itself, exclude some clubs. I refuse to use anymore of my energy on questions which are specifically targeted to cause dissention and division within the flyball community.
Ally-Sternbut that doesn't stop you from hosting in Nov or Dec!!! Go for it!!
leerie.jenkinsAgain, to avoid confusion, it's worth saying again....there is No 1,000 mile rule.
Ally-SternI think the Can Am is in the best interested of flyball. It's an excellent marketing tool for Nafa flyball.
Christine.VanWertA National Event is in the best interests of Nafa. It is not dependent on the percentage of participation but, needs to be viewed as valueable by all who participate.
Eric_FosterI feel the Bod makes decisions based on the good of the "whole"...not just the few. These are the leaders that we voted in. They are the ones who the flyball community has seen fit to lead. Canam is a celebration of the sport we all enjoy. I fully support Canam and I want to make it the best it can be.
Christine.VanWertNafa wouls serve the best interests of the Canam if it was planned to provide a "championship experience" for all participants irregardless of their level of play. Someone recently remarked to me as they were expressing their excitemnet at taking a "first Place" in Division 3. She said, "we compete where we are." Meaning they put their whole heart and soul in their efforts to compete. That win meant just as much to them as to any club competing for Regional Champion. I think that is what we need to instill in the canam.that snense of "accomplishment.'
Nancy_GarciaChris, Canam Will have a "championship experience" for all participants. The 1st and 2nd teams in each division will enter the championship ring on Sunday evening for a race to determine that division's "champion" and "reserve Champion"
moderatorAs we wind things down this evening, I'd invite each candidate to post a closing remark.
Ally-SternI really enjoyed chatting with you all and I am looking forward to chatting again at the next chat. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions-
Curtis_SmithI fully support Nafa's Canam event. As I mentioned earlier, it's a great opportunity to meet with, compete with, and watch teams from so many different clubs. Last year, dogs from our club competed with teams from more than 20 different clubs based in 10 different Regions! Even those of our members who didn't attend last year were glued to their computers watching Dan Phillips' livestreaming channel, and all the excitement helped some of them decide to come this year.
Christine.VanWertThank you, Nancy. Can you provide the name of the person who made that suggestion or gave that idea to Nafa so that it could be incorporated into this year's Nationals?
Curtis_SmithThank you to everyone who attended!...and a special thank you to Dale for moderating the chat. For any follow-up questions or requests for clarification, please email me at If you're going to Canam, I would love to talk in person.
Eric_FosterFlyball..... the word itself sounds crazy and is usually coupled witha confused look by someone who doesn't know what the sport is. I think sometimes we miss the mark when the 'business' part of this sport comes in. I am constanly reminded...(mostly by my wife) that its called 'playing' flyball for a reason. The real truth of the matter is that the dogs know nothing of points or ribbons....those are for us. Our dogs just want to be with with us.....its their favorite thing to do. I want to work hard on providing an atmosphere that allows your dog to smile. If you have any questions for me....need help or an idea....or want to share your favorite recipe (i like to cook) just know that I'm here Thanks for your time tonight
Christine.VanWertAgain, this was a Great experience. I'm happy to chat with you all. I hope this level of interest in Nafa will continue two nights from now when we have Leadership Chat. Thank you, Dale, Scott, Leerie, Alisa, Nancy, Karen, Greg, Dana, & Kris for everything you, all the hard work you put in for Nafa. I think I speak for all when I say we really appreciate everything you do!
Alisa.RomaineI want to thank all of you who have taken valuable time out of your busy weekend to join us tonight. Thank you also to those of you who posed questions for all of us candidates to give our heartfelt answers to. I try to remember in my flyball efforts that a house divided against itself will surely fall. If you all see fit to relect me, know that you will have my passion, zeal, and hard work on behalf of you, the racers. This is your sport. You bring to the Board issues which are important to you. I have enjoyed the past three years acting as a conduit for your proposals to the board. I have enjoyed answering your questions, when I was able, and I was disappointed on those times when I was unable to give you answers that you sought. I enjoy being a sounding board for your exciting ideas as you strive also to make this sport better, not only for you, but for everyone who races. We have truly, by our passion, become family. I look forward to serving flyball as I can, whether on the Board, or as a leader in my region helping flyball to grow. Feel free to drop me a line at
moderatorWrapping up this evening, I'd like to thank the Nominating committee, which Kim Davis chairs, for organizing this chat and several others to come. As they work out dates, its not always possible to make everyone's schedule work every time - hopefully each candidate gets to make some of the chats. Tonight Lee Heighton was unable to join us due to a work commitment and I understand Dave Walt was married yesterday so it may have been unwise for him to try to join this evening.
moderatorMore importantly I'd like to thank all of you for joining us this evening, candidates, questioners, listeners and also those who are reading this transcript. Your willingness to be involved and informed is very valuable to Nafa. Thank you for taking the time.
moderatorAnd another reminder - and in case you're not tired of chatting (or reading) - we have our quarterly Leadership Chat coming up this Tuesday evening, the 14th - more details at
Christine.VanWertAnd, I am willing to take anybody's questions at Good Luck and Good Racing!
moderatorGoodnight everyone and thanks for coming
moderatorChat Transcript ends here