North American Flyball Association

dgsmithJust so you all know how this will flow, we'll give each candidate a chance to say a little something to open. No long speeches ;-) You might see something that will spark a question - who knows. Once you see your question in the main window, you're free to chime in. Please refrain from addressing questions/comments to non-candidates. This is a candidate chat - we want to know what they think. You candidates can go ahead and key and send your openings - we'll skip the alphabet this time.
Lee_HeightonI want to thank everyone for joining in the chat this evening and look forward to your questions. I apologize that I wasn't able to make it last time due to traveling to the Cynosports championship.
Glenn.HamiltonGood evening all. I hope that we can continue to build on all the positive notes that we began in the last chat.
Zachary_ChernikGood evening everyone. And a special thank you for being part of the second candidate chat session. We need more membership interaction within NAFA and this format along with future leadership chats will certainly help.
Dana.NicholsGood evening everyone. I'm looking forward to another great chat. It was really nice to get to visit with folks from so many places. I met a few of you in person in Arizona & I look forward to meeting more people in this chat.
LisaPGuess it's down to me. :) Hi all, my name is Lisa Peckham, and I am presently the NAFA webmaster. I have really enjoyed working with the Executive Director and members of the BoD on the NAFA website this year, and getting the word out about site updates and other NAFA news to all of you. I have gotten to know a lot of you thanks to the website -- I get emails almost daily with questions, website submissions, ideas, pictures of dogs, etc. I have enjoyed it so much that I would like to get involved at a higher level -- that is why I am running for the BoD.
dgsmithOur first question this evening comes from Chris - "topic: Promoting NAFA. What have you done in your Home Region to grow and promote NAFA?"
Lee_HeightonI believe that it is important for the members of the BoD to lead by example. With this in mind, my team has hosted multiple NAFA tournaments and assisted other local clubs in hosting tournaments
LisaPMy club just put on a NAFA tournament on Halloween weekend, co-hosting with Go Dog Go since we are both small clubs. I am also pretty much the lone flyball ranger in Charlotte, North Carolina, and have started offering classes and open practices to try and build up flyball here.
Zachary_ChernikWe have started something new. Flyball Clinics. We found that this has created greater interest in our area than just flyball classes. This allows the potential new member to try and see for themselves what flyball can be like without the longer term commitment like a 10-12 week class.
Glenn.HamiltonFor many years, my club has brought Flyball to the Ontario region in a large way. The annual Sharkfebst event is one of the largest events in NAFA and this year, we followed it up by securing an ongoing relationship with a very large pet expo that puts flyball in front of several thousand pet people per day. It became a real eye opener for them to see what their own dogs could be doing. In recent years, I have lobbied very hard for NAFA and flyball to fight the draconian Breed Specific Legislation in Ontario. These presentations resulted in NAFA flyball gaining an exemption from the muzzling provisions of the BSL allowing restricted breeds to train and enjoy Flyball unrestricted.
Dana.NicholsI'm probably from the area that needed the most growing. Colorado has only had flyball for about 5 years. During that time, we've done a tremendous amount to promote NAFA and flyball. We started with no tournaments at all and this year our region had 10 weekends of NAFA flyball. We had several members of our club (including me) go through the judging program so we could eventually host tournaments more cost effectively. We've helped get flyball going in our surrounding states as well. New Mexico just hosted its first tournament & we now have a team competing in Wyoming. I've worked closely with our RD to help new clubs and encourage flyball growth in areas that have never had flyball.
Glenn.HamiltonI think that as a board member it is important to be accessible to the members. You need to be able to discuss the issues with fellow competitors at events and not be challenged by their questions or suggestions. Many of our improvements to the sport start out at the grass roots with simple discussions.
Chris_WooferinesDana, I noticed that your Region 19 more than doubled events and teams entered from FY 2005 to FY 2006. What is your secret? How was this accomplished?
Dana.NicholsWe worked really hard to get local judges. Danny Fitts and I traveled quite a bit to out of state tournaments that had supervising judges so we could get approved. Once we were approved, Danny and I have been really willing to judge for clubs at a low cost to get flyball going. Additionally, we have done quite a bit of media contact to promote the tournaments we have. That got all of the clubs lots of interest in flyball. Most of the local clubs have offered classes for beginners. Our club also went to offering a 4 week foundation class to develop core skills like tug & ball drive, drag racing,etc. It was more accessible for folks interested in flyball to try things out. Our biggest key was having quite a few smaller, no frills tournaments where clubs could hold racing and still be able to afford it even when we knew we wouldn't get lots of out of state teams.
dgsmithNext question comes from Jen " I would like to know who is going to help different regions get supervising judges, like Region 2"
Glenn.HamiltonJen, how would you define the help that you request? From a board perspective, a rules perspective or making other supervising judges available?
JenUnleashedTo get more people interested in judging I feel Region 2 needs a supervising judge. Yes people can travel, and yes teams can pay $s to get a supervising judge. Not all teams have the extra $s to do so.
Zachary_ChernikThe BoD members need to travel and visit regions outside there own. Our team traveled to 16 events outside our region last season. Talking over e-mail or the phone is one thing, but seeing the region up close is much better and understanding the unique issues that each region faces. Working with the judges in that region and trying to raise their expertise to a higher level.
Glenn.HamiltonThe Judges Committee reviews all of the applications and then presents them to the board for approval. In 2006, the JC created an expanded program for certifying judges using the existing Supervising Judge base as the mentor/tutors. In Ontario, there were several events this year that brought in SJs for that very reason.
LisaPI think we have to look at the issue from the angle of the judges or the prospective judges -- how do we get people interested in becoming judges in the first place, and how do we then encourage them to stick with it and apply for supervisory judge status when they qualify
Glenn.HamiltonCurrently there are at least 5 head judges in Ontario with several novices starting the program.
LisaPwell how come nobody is applying for supervisory status? are they too new to qualify? is there some other reason why they don't want to?
JenUnleashedI believe they were turned down previously
Glenn.HamiltonMany applicants for all judging positions are turned down when their credentials are reviewed by the Judges Committee, which is at present is composed of mostly other Supervising Judges.
LisaPwhy are they turned down? is it something that could be remedied with better training or something?
Dana.NicholsI don't know what the situation was in your region, but supervising judges are the cornerstone of NAFA's training program. So, it is important that supervising judges meet the absolute highest standards to be approved. They are, after all, training new judges. If Supervising Judges are approved prematurely, it might not really be doing a service.
Zachary_ChernikSince I'm not privy to the judges committee, does the judge's committee do surveys from their judge’s pool? What kind of feedback is discussed between committee and all the judges? If we were to pole all the judges today, I wonder what would be their response.
Lee_HeightonZac, while a poll might be beneficial you have to keep in mind that being "promoted" to Supervising status is not a popularity contest. As Dana stated, they are responsible for instructing new judges and just because someone is well liked doesn't guarantee that they will be a good teacher
Glenn.HamiltonThe JC has stringent guidelines, outlined very clearly in the rule book that they follow. We should be looking at advancement of the talent not merely an election or an appointment.
Zachary_ChernikI would agree to a point Lee. I've talked to many judges, and I really wonder how good the interaction is between them. The group of judges needs to work as a whole. Not always top down.
dgsmithNext question comes from another Chris - "OK, different question. How would you as a candidate promote the sport of flyball to the general public? Media, Newspaper, brochures and how to help regions that are small get more people interested?"
Lee_HeightonWe are currently working on a plan to promote flyball through local trainers. Information provided to them can then be passed on to students in order to generate more long term interest in the sport
Chris_THTHHi Glenn, Are the local trainers flyball people?
Dana.NicholsIn Region 19, we've promoted flyball in all those ways - TV news, newspaper, brochures. We've found that pointing out that any type of dog, including mixed breeds, can compete in flyball really helps generate interest from the general public. The clubs in our region have also worked extensively with humane societies and other organizations to do demonstrations at dog events. We usually try to have flyers with information about local classes & links to web pages. We've also generated quite a bit of interest through our web page. In our area there are still a lot of people who have never heard about flyball.
Glenn.HamiltonThe major problem that I see in introducing the sport to the public, is bringing the sport to the public. That's tough to do in many areas. My club fostered a relationship with one of the Television Production companies that broadcasts on the Outdoor Life Network in Canada - our version of Animal Planet - and had them develop a one hour TV show of the Sharkfebst in 2005. We worked with them to help channel the script and the message so that it would appear to be fun and exciting but still within reach of JQ Public. The video has been aired many times and continues to generate interest. The next problem is getting a well thought training plan in place - perhaps developed by NAFA or not, but one that can be used by non-flyball people to effectively train new comers. Let's face it, many of us spend most of time training our own teams.
Zachary_ChernikAfter working with the region and see which media gets the "best bang for the buck". Maybe it's radio, local TV...again each region will be different. But it would have to be researched.
LisaPThere are lots of things we could do from a media standpoint. We need to make it easy for clubs to "sell" flyball -- provide them with nice NAFA brochures to hand out, with a space on the brochure for their own club name/sticker; create a media kit for newspaper and radio and make it available on the website; start actively going after half-time shows for football, basketball, soccer, whatever is going on in your area. There are lots of promotions folks in sports that are looking for half-time entertainment. Any opportunity to get flyball on TV or in the paper is a good thing. Half the people who contact me about flyball have seen something on TV (usually some 5-year-old thing from Great Outdoor Games or Animal Planet). Invite the general public to your tournaments -- use the local message boards to get the word out. Amanda Brown on DGF in our area got hundreds of spectators to come to her tournament in January, and had a sign up board on the wall for people interested. I think she had 25 names or so of people to contact.
Zachary_ChernikI've talked to some western regions of Canada, and once a month they televise 30 minutes of flyball highlights from NAFA events. Pretty cool to be on monthly.
Zachary_ChernikWhat does NAFA currently have on hand to send out to requesting parties about flyball?
LisaPThere's a lot NAFA could do to promote NAFA flyball as well -- we need to start a branding campaign and getting the NAFA name out there.
Zachary_ChernikI've done DVDs for France TV and South Africa to show how we (NAFA) have different tugging and runback techniques for our dogs.
Dana.NicholsDeveloping a curriculum that works well with dogs & handlers who come in with no flyball (or dog sport) experience can be challenging. We have shared our training information with lots of other clubs, but not everything is going to work for everyone. This seems to be a place where RD's can really have a big impact. If you have an RD who is actively helping out clubs and encouraging information sharing, seminars, etc. it can really make a difference. From what I've seen Sam has really worked to put pro-active RD's in place.
Glenn.HamiltonAn updated brochure has been in development this past year but what is currently being distributed is somewhat dated. That is one reason NAFA contracted to produce an improved web site because effectively, the site become the brochure.
LisaPActually I've had several people recently ask me about a hard copy brochure. That was supposed to have been in the works for years now - media kit, etc
Zachary_ChernikGlenn, who has been working on the brochure?
Dana.NicholsWe also need to help promote flyball amongst those that don't know anything about the sport. Getting this information out there pro-actively, rather than just responding to requests is key to publicity.
Lee_HeightonActually, I should answer that one. Jeff Kinsley has been working on the brochure that is basically complete. The last item was working on the section where local clubs could put their information. The most recent idea has been to put it on the website so that local teams can just print it off directly.
Glenn.HamiltonJeff Kinsley and Dede Crough have been working up a new brochure.
LisaPDid we hand anything out at Cynosports?
Zachary_ChernikWhen was the request/task started and what was the time table to accomplish this task?
Chris_THTHWhat is the status of it and when will it be available for us to print out??? I think if we got slick brochures it would be better then just printing on old white paper?
Lee_HeightonYes, we did have a brochure available at Cynosports. Not the final versions that Jeff and Dede have been working on.
LisaPIs there a copy of it I can put up on the website? or does it need to be finalized first
Glenn.HamiltonOnce the final brochure is approved, it would be wise to have them produced on good paper as suggested in addition to the self print from the web site.
Zachary_ChernikWasn't that a missed Opportunity to not have one ready at Cyno?
Chris_THTHWhich is going to cost teams money, why not have NAFA print them and send them to the host clubs???
PJStaffy_HWAs a member of the local Phoenix team, I can say that we also talked personally to a lot of people and have people interested in getting going in flyball.
Glenn.HamiltonAs an aside, the Cynosport event actually became a great sharing/blending of ideas for training and handling by the many different region's participants.
Lee_HeightonZac, we did have a brochure along with NAFA contact cards. We also had information promoting the NAFA website address.
kris_pickeringI think we were in a real sense the living, breathing, walking brochures -- Sam got every competitor and some who weren't out there in NAFA shirts, they were everywhere, as was their enthusiasm for a splendid event
Zachary_ChernikI still did not get a start date for this brochure? When was it started? I understood that it was old information, correct?
LisaPLee, who do I contact to get what was handed out at Cyno - it's better than nothing for right now until final version is available.
Dana.NicholsYes, I had several people ask me about flyball when I was walking through the shopping area in my Cynosport flyball shirts.
Lee_HeightonLisa, we don't want anything premature on the website. It would be better to post the final brochure than to throw something up with a new brochure due shortly
Glenn.HamiltonZac, I can't tell you when it was started but a draft copy was presented in August.
LisaPOkey doke, when is it due?
Lee_HeightonWe are expecting a report on the status of the brochure at the AGM
Zachary_ChernikWould I be able to get the information from past Meeting Minutes, Glenn?
dgsmithWe all know the main reason to serve on the BoD is fame and big $$$ ;-) - A delegate asks "I would like to know how much time each of you think a person serving on the BoD donates to the cause of the BoD. Not practice, not running but BoD issues?"
Glenn.HamiltonOver the past 3 years, I have spent an average of 10 hours per week on NAFA board business. Phone calls, emails, board meetings, writing reports, committee work - it all adds up.
LisaPAnd I would imagine that it's up to the individual too -- some put in more time than others. Dale, I imagine you put in a gazillion hours a year.
dgsmithI'm not counting - and I'd be killed by my wife if she knew the total anyway ;-)
Dana.NicholsWell, from the work I saw the Board members doing at Cynosports, it is definitely a hefty amount. Board business itself takes quite a bit of time. Following up on issues after Board meeting, drafting language, contacting people - that takes a lot of time. Besides working on Board issues, all the Board members that I have met also spend a great deal of time listening to delegates, either in person or via phone or email. Hearing concerns, comments, complaints, and other issues is also a big part of the job.
LisaPIf you're really addicted to flyball though, like a lot of us are, a lot of that stuff is fun.
Zachary_ChernikI agree with Dana and Lisa. You need to find a balance with home life and work too.
LisaPOK, drafting language - not so fun
scottNETJust to give people an idea, I'm currently at 12-15 hours a week depending on the week
Lee_HeightonI would say that I average at least 10 hours a week. Quite a bit more during the planning of Cynosports and the upcoming AGM and I would agree with Dale. My wife has to sacrifice a lot of our evenings to teleconferences and chats.
Glenn.HamiltonCommittees, new developments, disciplinary issues, etc. can all increase the amount of time that a board member voluntarily offers to NAFA and its constituents.
dgsmithWhat would the candidates due to stop the current problem of people giving the wrong breed information to NAFA in order to win the multibreed championship?
LisaPIf you can prove the dog is not what they say it is, I'd want to see charges of misconduct against that team
Lee_HeightonNAFA has never required "proof" of a breed. With so many rescues in our sport how would that be possible. If there is actual evidence of a dog being registered incorrectly, the BoD can look at it on a case by case basis.
Zachary_ChernikI would agree with Lee on this one. A case by case review.
Glenn.HamiltonNAFA is founded on a trust system. We must always keep that in mind when reviewing issues such as this. We require no paperwork from the applicants and until recently, not even a birth date. At least that has changed. Each case is considered when challenged but the onus is on the competitor to make the challenge.
Chris_THTHOK, same question, what would you as a candidate if you knew that a team, was incorrectly listing dog's as a different breed in order to win the multibreed championship?
Lee_HeightonChris, what evidence of this do you have
Dana.NicholsThe Board needs to have a complaint presented to them in order to act. But, if a team has a complaint, then that can be addressed.
Lee_HeightonThe type of evidence involved would factor into my answer
LisaPDoes someone need to pay the fee for charges in order to get a questionable dog looked at by the BoD - or how would someone go about it?
Glenn.HamiltonChris, are you asking as a board member removed from the racing and reacting to filed charges or as a competitor in the lanes beside them?
Chris_THTHAs a current BoD member and what the candidates think about it. It's not being honest to the region or the teams and clubs racing in multibreed. Has this issue ever come up in the past?
Lee_HeightonLisa, a fee is only necessary for charges that are filed. Anyone can write a letter to the BoD and request that a dog be reviewed. Again, evidence would need to be submitted with this letter.
Chris_THTHAnd then what happens once a letter is received?
Glenn.HamiltonChris, there have been discussions about this issue as far back as the early 90's. It's an ongoing problem.
LisaPIt does sort of cheapen multibreed though
Chris_THTHWhat is being done about it? Since it goes back that far?
Lee_HeightonThe evidence would be reviewed and a decision would be made.
Chris_THTHOK, I guess my question is again, if it goes back that far, what have we done to correct it. I have clubs that don't want to enter multibreed because they know they are being cheated..
Glenn.HamiltonAgain, as charges are filed, they are acted upon. Much of the time, it is handled at the local level with reasonable people coming to a mutual understanding.
LisaPBut it's cheating
Zachary_ChernikIt is cheating....i agree with Lisa
Chris_THTHHow do we fix it?
Dana.NicholsAnd there is a mechanism in place to deal with it. Make a complaint.
Glenn.HamiltonHow to fix Multi? You would need to become the AKC, receiving breed registrations and validating the breed. Then we would need a plan for mixes and ILP'd dogs. I believe that it is impossible to manage such an undertaking on a volunteer operation of NAFA's magnitude. When the breed is correct, 99.99% of the time why go overboard? File charges to get a hearing.
dgsmithNext question - Shannon asks "It seems to me that the board rarely agrees on a particular motion 100%, since we are not privy to all the discussions behind certain motions, would you be in favor of the board meeting minutes stating the reason a board member was "against" a certain motion if the majority were in favor? "
Zachary_ChernikYes...the more open the BoD is the better for Nafa.
Lee_HeightonShannon, we can't make a BoD member state why they are against something if they choose not to answer. Robert's Rules doesn't allow for that. We can include that information if they choose to express it.
Dana.NicholsIn the minutes I've seen there is usually a summary of the discussion on issues that appear to have been more heavily debated.
dgsmithAnd there are times when a Board member asks to have their specific objection noted in the minutes.
dgsmithNext question - "The BoD is the sum of its parts. What can you add to the BoD to make it better?" At least one answer from each candidate this time please
LisaPMarketing and Communication skills. Technology skills. I'm open-minded and fair, and I'm easily approachable. I would enjoy talking issues through with delegates, and I would always make decisions based on what is best for NAFA and the sport of flyball, not what is best for me or my team. I would also bring a fresh perspective - I am from the southeast U.S., I am not a judge, I am not on a 15-sec team, I am a woman. :)
Dana.NicholsI've worked in many committee situations, which can sometimes be an acquired skill : ) My day job is to analyze rules & statutes and figure out how they can be interpreted. I'm also used to dealing with disciplinary type issues. Plus, in flyball, I've done a great deal to grow flyball in the community. I've been involved in other dog & horse sports organizations that have faced similar challenges to NAFA. I think all of these skills will be helpful on the board.
Glenn.HamiltonIntegrity. A focus on managing NAFA as a business in a competitive world. Competitive with all dogsports and leisure choices that people have today. Promoting the sport to our constituency through the likes of the Cynosport and GOG types of opportunities. Keeping an open dialog on the racing issues, the business issues and making NAFA prosper.
Zachary_ChernikTechnology and very creative thinking. Always looking to include more of the membership even if you're a 24 second team. I too bring a fresh perspective, I like to be challenged and also challenge people. But most of all being honest goes a long way.
Lee_HeightonI will continue to be as committed in the future as I have been over the past three years. Communication with our delegates has been greatly improved, the financial activities of our organization have been brought into order. New technology has been introduced. I will continue to listen to input from our players on ways to improve our sport.
dgsmithNext question - "In your opinion does a BoD member represent the people that voted for them, the region they play in or every flyballer?" And I would add - how will you balance representing your region - where you play quite often with representing the others - many of whom you've never met?
Glenn.HamiltonRepresentation has to be for every NAFA region. Who knows where the votes from? The candidates don't.
LisaPA board member represents all of those things, as well as NAFA the corporation
Zachary_ChernikBoD represents question.
Glenn.HamiltonRemember too that the board represents the dogs as well. We must remember that!
Dana.NicholsUltimately, I think each Board member represents all of the NAFA community. But, I think having Board members with experiences in different areas and different levels of racing contributes to their ability to think about all aspects of an issue. An issue might be very different to different areas. Being able to bring all of this experience to the Board only helps NAFA.
Lee_HeightonThe BoD represents everyone that participates in NAFA, regardless of what region they play in, how fast they run or their gender.
Glenn.HamiltonBoard members need to consider that a primary goal is to unify the sport of NAFA flyball throughout all of the regions. Again, Cynosports saw 9 different regions competing against one another. While each BoD member spends more time usually within their region, they must be equally open to ideas from throughout NA. Heck, I'm even learning to like racing on grass!
dgsmithNext question - "To the candidates, at next years championship, do you feel that all of the dog's that are listed as height dogs should be measured in?"
Dana.NicholsI think that the basic rules of racing, including measuring of height dogs, should be the same for the championships as it is for all other tournaments.
Lee_HeightonI believe that all NAFA rules should be followed, including height cards
Glenn.HamiltonMeasuring dogs at any event is dependent on the rules at that time. By making exceptions, you change the playing field for a specific event.
Chris_THTHWhat was done this year?
Dana.NicholsIt was the same as regular tournaments.
Lee_HeightonNAFA rules of racing were followed
Zachary_ChernikGlenn, but the racing format was different for this event....why not have height measuring included?
Glenn.HamiltonSince 2005, I have been firm believer that NAFA needs to review its policy on Height Cards.
dgsmithI might add that in the last chat there was a discussion regarding height cards in general. Any of you Candidates are welcome to comment on height cards, measuring issues, the perception that there are "less than accurate" height cards out there or related topics if you wish.
jhhhBut other rules were changed for Cyno. So why not measuring
Zachary_ChernikWhen do you have a 22 second team racing a 15.5 second team consider it the same racing as a regular NAFA division format/seeding?
Lee_HeightonZac, while the format was changed the rules of racing, other than breakout, were all the same. The only reason that the breakout rule wasn't included is because progression in the event was dependent on best times.
jhhhBut NAFA rules of racing where changed for this. Measuring at the tourney could have also been changed. Seems like there was a vote on it - wasn't there a tie vote on the matter of measuring?
Glenn.HamiltonThe only rules that were changed were outside the scope of the actual racing - byes for regional winners. Sam was creative in his role as TD to provide an opportunity for everyone to bring their best to the lanes rather than try for divisional wins.
Lee_HeightonThere was a great deal of positive feedback from the format that Sam created
Zachary_ChernikBut progression of best times is not a normal NAFA format. The format had to be changed because of the venue. What other tournament is NAFA history had this kind of format?
Dana.NicholsThis was a unique format, but I still think it is important that the basic rules of racing remain the same.
PJStaffy_HWZac, for those of us attending, it was a thrilling and competitive format that brought out the best times in a lot of teams - and not just the really fast ones.
Glenn.HamiltonJust because Cynosport involved a format not seen before doesn't make it outside the rules.
Chris_THTHWere all the height dogs measured in or were height cards allowed to be used?
Zachary_ChernikI would like to know how other clubs feel about racing a team that is 8 seconds faster. It might be OK for some.....but I would hold back my judgment until I hear from the other clubs and clubs that did not attend Cyno.
PJStaffy_HWOur 23 second team had to race NET and it was a blast! The dogs loved the intensity.
Dana.NicholsI was racing with a club that was several seconds slower than the top teams. We had a blast! We actually won several heats & races by running clean. And, it pushed two of our dogs to beat their personal best times by quite a bit.
Stacy_C8Zach, we got Spanked at Cyno and loved every minute of it.
kris_pickeringWe too were there with two teams, four green dogs and two brand new handlers. Our 23 second team, like Alisa's, was thrilled.
BCSamZac to expand the sport and get the sport recognized we have to expand into areas where we have never gone before. That is what we did at my request. It fit into the Championship tournament at Cynosport and was a first. Breaking new ground presents challenges and courage to try new things....and that is what we did
dgsmithModerator's note - the following exchange was not a moderated question but was interspersed in the last two discussions. Since it was asked and answered civilly, I'll include it here in the transcript.
Stacy_C8I have a question for Lisa. I recently spent some time researching the candidates, and I notice that your team, Dogsmack, has a dog listed as being owned by Katy Kaylor. Isn't she one of the main owners of U-FLI? Does Katy run on your team?
LisaPyep. I am friends with Katy. what you saw on my website is true.
Stacy_C8Lisa, do you feel that having a teammate who is a U-FLI founder is a conflict?
LisaPI'll answer Dale -- Katy is not my teammate. I ran a rescue BC she used to own for a year. Katy is my friend. I would like to add that my parents are Republicans and I love them too.
dgsmithNext question - somewhat related "Zac: Does your consternation regarding the unique format for Cyno indicate that you believe NAFA should mandate what formats should be used throughout Flyball? Other candidates: Do you think that tourney formats should be "NAFA-controlled""
Zachary_ChernikI think we need to be very creative. I understand what had to be done regarding Cyno was a unique event. I would not put a hold on creative thinking....just the opposite.....
Dana.NicholsI don't think NAFA should mandate tournament formats. We have raced in many different regions. Regional differences such as racing formats are a fun part of flyball. What would work for a 60+ team tournament may not work as well for a 12 team tournament. Regional Directors work with TDs to make sure that racing is safe & reasonable. But, as long as tournament format follow NAFA rules (ie no unnecessary heats, etc) and are reasonable, they should be allowed.
LisaPI think it's fun going to different regions and racing different formats.
Glenn.HamiltonNAFA should not mandate formats but the RD's have a responsibility to approve schedules with reasonable breaks between races for the sake of the dogs, formats that are not meaningless and are approved by the ED.
dgsmithNext question - "topic: Measuring. Question: Do you as a candidate believe that the fast teams (regional Champions or World Record holders) should be held to a higher standard than the rest of NAFA?"
LisaPno, I think everybody should be held to the same standard
Dana.NicholsI think for something as important as a world record, we should ensure that all rules were followed exactly. This is the current rule regarding world records. The course is measured, etc to ensure that it was, in fact, a valid world record. But, aside from assuring that all rules are strictly followed for a world record, I think all rules should apply evenly across the divisions, including regional champions.
Zachary_ChernikI agree with Lisa....level playing field.
Glenn.HamiltonWe had touched upon this discussion in the last chat. I can see the point where a higher standard that included measuring could be required for the awarding of Regional points. After all, Div. 3 usually doesn't earn regional points. Nonetheless, the rules apply across the board for all teams.
Lee_HeightonI agree that all rules should be applied to everyone equally. Races for Division 3 teams are just as important as World Records
Glenn.HamiltonTo that end, we need to find a way to protect the balance of the competitors from height cards that don't fairly represent a dog's height.
dgsmithNext question - a more open one - "If you are elected or re-elected, what is the one specific item you would most like to accomplish or make visible progress on in the coming year?"
Lee_HeightonFor starters, I would like to see continued progress on supplying Signature gear EJS to every region
Glenn.HamiltonI would like to see the introduction of a once a year challenge to a height card. The difficulty in enacting such a policy would be to establishing a credible review of the challenge that is fair to all.
LisaPI would like to see NAFA start marketing itself like a real business. A lot of this goes back to what we talked about earlier -- brochures, media kits, better branding. We look like a kickback from the 80's sometimes.
Dana.NicholsPromoting flyball at a grassroots level. Trying to encourage more newcomers to the sport and expanding flyball into other geographic locations. Going where no flyball boxes have gone before . . . : )
Zachary_ChernikWith marketing and branding and promoting growth....the additional income would allow for greater things to happen for Nafa.
dgsmithNext question - A candidate said "we need to find a way to protect the balance of the competitors from height cards that don't fairly represent a dog's height." Do each of you believe this is an issue and what might you propose.
Lee_HeightonI would propose that we ask for guidance from our delegates to see if this is really such a critical problem for our sport.
LisaPI believe it's an issue, yes. In 2004, after the NAFA Rulebook changed to include new text around measuring (more in-depth description of the stand & the way handler could touch dog), NAFA essentially started holding height dog measurements to a different standard. The height cards pre-2004-rulebook were obtained under one set of rules, and post-2004-rulebook under a different set. That alone is a good enough reason to throw out the height cards, at least the ones obtained before those rule changes were made.
Lee_HeightonI would suggest a delegate vote to ask if all height cards should be voided. I don't believe that this is an issue that should be decided by the BoD. If the delegates want to throw out height cards then I am in full support. If they don't, we can move on with ways to improve the process.
Zachary_ChernikLet's look at the numbers for HC's per year. 2006 only 16 down from 32 the year before. The past 3 years have seen a major decline. I would also ask the delegates to vote.
dgsmithOn a related topic, if the candidates would also like to address "On the height card issue, I would like to point out that if dogs got the measurements, we need to look at Judges Education since they are the one measuring and signing the height cards. I would like to see the candidates address this issue."
Lee_HeightonThat is already in process and we have already had several cases where judges were reviewed. A new judges training program has also been implemented to help with this process
Glenn.HamiltonThe subject of measuring dogs has been addressed numerous times by the delegates in charges and complaints. When the board tightened the rules on measuring in 2005, there was no action taken to repeal height cards obtained under the prior standard. ...
Dana.NicholsI think measuring is being addressed quite heavily by the judges' committee & the BoD. Measuring skills are a key component of the judging program. From the minutes, many apprentice & provisional judges who have otherwise met the requirements to advance are asked to do additional measuring assignments. The measuring stance approved by NAFA is pretty clear. And, it is the exact same stance used in conformation (many breeds are measured in conformation) & agility. NAFA is working quite diligently to ensure that judges are measuring correctly.
LisaPDuring the last chat, I said I thought all height cards should be thrown out and optional measuring (with the challenge rule still in effect) should just take place at every tournament, as a way to level the playing field for everybody. Someone asked if that would not just create a more confrontational setting with challenges, etc., and I do see the point. I am not an agility competitor, but I like how they have certified measuring judges. Perhaps NAFA trains and certifies measuring judges. One measurement with one of these judges and that's it, you get a new height card. If there isn't one at the tourney you attend, the head judge measures and that's what you jump that weekend. I also noticed that in agility that USDAA and AKC offer one-time challenges to a height card, and another certified judge (chosen by USDAA or AKC, I believe, not by the competitor) is brought in to measure the dog and then that measurement stands as the final measure. These are practices we could leverage. If I got anything wrong, agility competitors, please let me know.
LisaPHow is NAFA working diligently to ensure that judges are measuring correctly?
Zachary_ChernikThis all goes to education and the judges training program. Maybe NAFA needs to be more aggressive and get the modules done. Also, lets look for new creative ways to measure. Maybe the wicket should be history.
Glenn.Hamilton... While most cards accurately represent the dog's height, there are cards that may be questionable. By enacting a method to validate a questionable height card, we allow the competitor base to monitor the exceptions rather than removing all height cards. The key to success is defining a proper method of challenge.
danIn response to the judges education issue I would like to point out that not all judges are clear on the rules, I would like you to consider some type of annual testing (which could be done on-line) for all judges to keep up to date on the rules.
jhhhWe have been told for years that NAFA is doing a tape for training judges. Where is this tape? I understand that there was taping done in Binbrook. That measuring was taped at Binbrook. So if measuring is an issue then maybe that tape can be gotten out to show proper measuring techniques.
Lee_HeightonJudy, the Judges Committee is working on the outline for a measuring video that can be presented to both judges and competitors. I just checked with Brian Fay two weeks ago and he stated they are trying to finalize the outline to be presented to the video company so that the tape can be completed. Also, we attempted to get a copy of the measuring from Binbrook but the person that took the video accidentally taped over it
Zachary_ChernikLee, who was responsible for the Binbrook tape?
Lee_HeightonIt was an individual who was there to make tapes for paying customers. He was not employed by NAFA for this event.
dgsmithOK, this came up last chat and several people have asked what its all about. Would someone care to summarize what occurred at Binbrook in as factual a way as possible so we'll stop getting emails?
Lee_HeightonI knew that this company was going to Binbrook in order to make tapes for teams that were at the event. I contacted Sam and asked him if we should have the measuring taped so that it could be part of the footage used on the upcoming training tape and he agreed that it was a good idea. This person agreed to do this free of charge. On Sunday I contacted the person and asked for the video tape and he told me that he had accidentally taped over it while taking footage for paying customers.
jhhhLee hasn't this person been hired to do the judges video for NAFA?
Lee_HeightonYes Judy, they were hired to do the tapes but were not acting in that capacity due to the fact that they didn't have the outline from the Judges Committee
Lee_HeightonAs soon as the outline is complete, they will begin taping for the training tape. Would you like to be in the video :-)
jhhhBut if you had them tape measuring then that would be part of the job they were hired for. Why would you need an outline to tape measuring?
danOK, I'm not interested in "incidents" of measuring issues. I don't think this solves anything for this sport. What I am interested in is what candidates would propose as a way to improve the "system" within NAFA. If you can't look at the big picture and what causes issues, you won't be able to solve a problem and haven't as measuring is an on-going issue. Since measuring is in the hands of the judges and I'm aware of inconsistencies with judges measuring as well as a specific incident where a judge wasn't aware of a rule change from over a year ago as it pertains to measuring I see a need to better ensure that judges are judging consistently and aware of rules. I think this can be accomplished through "continuing education" in the form of annual testing for All judges. How would the candidates feel about making this an issue and implementing this type of system.
Lee_HeightonDan, I think that this is a great idea. We have been discussing how to implement this very idea. There was a suggestion recently to use an online seminar format which shows great promise.
Glenn.HamiltonSorry Dan, I've been heads down keying. Your annual testing request has already been discussed by the JC who are looking at ways to make it affordable, doable and consistent.
dgsmithAnd just to remain consistent with the last chat - I lost one question during the night - not from as early on this time. - Lee you stated :"communication with our delegates has been greatly improved". Can you please explain how this has been achieved? We no longer have a NAFA news or anything going out to communicate with the delegates. Others could comment on what they see for communication to delegates and competitors. This will INDEED be the LAST question of the evening.
Glenn.HamiltonCommunications? The board has realized the need for a better format on the web site. We went to an interim version after the accidental destruction of the original to keep the information flowing and then contracted to produce the current site which encompasses all of the needs of the original site, the NAFA news and is big boost at marketing NAFA flyball.
LisaPI keep hearing everybody on the current BoD say that the website has replaced NAFA News, and this confuses me. Because I am not aware of this decision, and the NAFA News editor is not aware of this either.
Glenn.HamiltonMore communication: The board has gone to great lengths to be fully transparent in all of our dealings, both financially and with the flyball community. We currently have the last 2 years of financial data published and that will grow to 6 years shortly. Our minutes reflect much more than the bare necessities, and many of our meetings are announced in advance and open to the public. It is important that we bring genuine enthusiasm to this sport for the people playing it and the newcomers that watch and learn. In my mind, this matters as much as any branding or marketing.
Lee_HeightonThe current BoD, along with Sam, implemented the idea of using the website as the official means of communication for NAFA. Meeting agendas are posted ahead of time and delegates have even been able to attend a teleconference. Also, meeting minutes are being approved via email instead of waiting until the next face to face meeting. All of these are vast improvements in communication.
Lee_HeightonLisa, this information was in the minutes quite some time ago.
Dana.NicholsCommunication can always be improved. But, I do think that the NAFA Board has done a good job towards improving communications. The web page has minutes posted from board meetings, transcripts from leadership chats, rules changes, etc. Plus all contact information for Board members, the ED, and all the RD's is now readily accessible. Meetings have been held in locations throughout the country, allowing more delegates to attend. Plus the minutes reflect that this Board is constantly addressing issues raised by delegates.
jhhhbut with all these improvements we still didn't see the new rules until the second week of Oct. Two weeks after the year started and we had no advanced notice of changes.
LisaPReally? I asked the NAFA News editor a couple of weeks ago what the deal was, and she didn't know either. If it was in the minutes, I'm sorry I missed it.
Chris_THTHWhat about the people that don't have computers?
Zachary_ChernikI agree with is great but we need to communicate with all members. Do we know how many members go to the website? Do we know how many do not have computers. This is part of communication. Knowing your membership inside and out to better serve them.
Glenn.HamiltonJudy, the rule changes have been published in the minutes as they were approved throughout the year. The rulebook was just the final assembly of all those changes.
LisaPI'd like to point out that the NAFA News is still referenced in the 2007 Rulebook as well.
Lee_HeightonThey can contact NAFA and we would be happy to mail them a hard copy. Maybe we can include this information in an upcoming mailing.
eibMail them a hardcopy of what? The website?
danWell, while I"m sure that there are people that would like the NAFA news (I was one of them) with more and more people wired, people want quicker information and they want it yesterday. I think a printed version of the NAFA news is not what we would need (if that's what someone is suggesting).
Chris_THTHHow about sending an official copy to the RD's. I burn out my printer, printing them.
LisaPActually, Dan, when I did that survey on the website a while back, I had a question in there about NAFA news. I think half the people who responded out of approx 115 said they still wanted the hard copy NAFA news. I am telling you this from memory, I'd have to go back and dig up the numbers - maybe for next chat :)
scottNETI need to ask, what survey. I've been on the BoD two years and don't ever remember the BoD requesting such a survey?
kris_pickeringI had the same question,
LisaPThere was a survey on the website awhile back -- Sam authorized it.
Chris_THTHI answered the survey
LisaPIt was about 6 months ago probably
scottNETThen I leave this question to Sam, given he was the one who recommended we move to the current system
dgsmithOK Candidates - closing comments please
Glenn.HamiltonOnce again, I would like to thank everyone for their time this evening and their attention to detail. You kept us busy and that's why we're here tonight. It also means that you are reading what we offer. Thanks! and Cheers!
Lee_HeightonI want to thank everyone for joining in on the chat tonight. I believe that NAFA has made great strides in the last few years and would like to continue being a part of this progress. I also need to advise everyone that I will be unable to participate in the final two chats as they are both scheduled on my nights to work
LisaPI'd just like to thank all of you who came and participated -- it's a lot quicker to read the transcript later, but you stuck it out with us the hard way. If you have any questions for me feel free to follow up via email:
Dana.NicholsI just want to thank everyone for giving us an opportunity to have these chats. With candidates and clubs spread all over North America, it's tough to get to know everyone. I'd welcome the opportunity to work for NAFA and for the flyball community as a whole. My full contact information is in the judge's directory - my email is Thanks!
Zachary_ChernikOpportunity for growth for NAFA, honesty and a fairness for all NAFA members. You have my e-mail address and my cell phone, please call if you have any ideas, concerns or just questions. I'm open to all. No games - just Flyball. cell 847-951-5809 Thanks again to all that were able to make it tonight and those that will be reading on-line later.
dgsmithI want to thank everyone for coming out this evening. We covered some good ground. Its a lot faster to read the transcript than to suffer through all the typing time, but we need your participation to make this organization work. After almost 3 hours of chat - G'nite all

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