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We are at a point at which several youth organizers are questioning whether DiscNW is the best organization to run youth ultimate in Seattle. I have been the most vocal of those organizers. After hearing from a number of people in March/April about their dissatisfaction and/or concerns with one part or another of the youth ultimate organization in Seattle , I wrote up something about the future of youth ultimate in Seattle. What came from that was a little discussion with the board and a promise of action especially a “youth summit” to discuss these issues. I don’t like “summits” but I agreed to participate as a starting point. I wrote the report in late April, it is now August and DiscNW says the youth summit will happen “sometime in the fall after classes start up.” This post is to give a place for those organizers and anyone else to post their concerns in lieu of an August youth summit.
This is also not meant as an attack on people, it is a questioning of a system and whether youth belongs in an adult sports organization. William Bartam has been very helpful to youth as ED, Frank Nam did some good things as Youth Coordinator, and Wynne Scherf is caught in the middle as the brand new Youth Coordinator. I’m not advocating pulling youth out right now, I’m advocating pulling youth out starting this summer.
The main reasons for separating out youth from DiscNW are:
1. DiscNW is primarily an adult coed recreational sports organization. The board is made up of mainly adult coed players with little to no youth sports management experience. The focus of the mission statement reinforces this bias toward adult coed. And of course non-profits are expected to live up to their mission statements.
2. DiscNW youth coordinator. We are entering our third year with a youth coordinator selected by the DiscNW board and guided by the DiscNW ED. The first two years there was very little to no change from prior operations. In fact when DiscNW took over the scheduling of the MS spring league things were so poorly organized that former youth scheduler had to do the schedules again. There certainly was not a growth in DiscNW youth programs led by the youth coordinator. Most of the growth was led as always by the coaches and teachers that lead school teams. This is not to say that the youth coordinator was not a capable person, it is a statement against the systems that DiscNW thinks will work for youth and what DiscNW expects from a youth coordinator.
3. DiscNW is not a responsive organization when it comes to dealing with youth issues. Those of us who work at schools are expected to be able to be very responsive to our communities and it is frustrating for us and makes us look unprofessional to our communities when DiscNW doesn’t have its act together.
4. The youth community has outgrown being part of an adult organization. DiscNW does not need youth for financial reasons and youth can make enough revenue to support their own organization.
All the above said, I am willing to push for compromise if DiscNW does the following:
1. Make youth the priority. That means among other things that when making field requests that youth gets priority and field requests are made separately. So if one of the youth leagues in spring decides that they want their league to happen at Magnuson on Sundays instead of Marymoor on Saturdays, so be it.
2. The youth coordinator needs to run youth much like an athletic director would. Youth ultimate needs to be organized better than other youth sports in order for parents, kids, and athletic administrators to buy into the sport. The youth coordinator needs to be able as a full time administrator to establish new leagues, run current leagues including smart scheduling, and continue to run tournaments.
3. All DiscNW events need to be run in a family friendly manner if youth is going to be part of DiscNW. An example of that would be cleaning up Potlatch. Underage drinking and drug use at a DiscNW tourney should not tolerated. For that matter, adult drinking (and of course drug use) & overtly inappropriate sexual behavior should not be tolerated either. To have an event such as Potlatch specifically mentioned in the mission statement and to have that event be so tolerant of behavior that is completely unacceptable at every level of youth sports is not acceptable.
4. DiscNW needs to decide whether or not their “tax” on events is the best way to handle finances. If it is decided that the tax is the best way then events that are not “outreach” should not be allowed to not meet their tax year in and year out.
5. All youth funds should be kept in separate accounts from adult funds.
6. There needs to be separate Seattle Public Schools leagues as well as opportunities for SPS to compete against other districts and for other districts to compete against each other. SPS should have single gender HS fall (fall of 2008), coed MS fall (already happens), and spring ES (spring 09). SPS can compete against other districts in HS spring, MS spring, and ES Spring Reign.
7. There needs to be a well run DiscNW parent organization.
8. DiscNW needs to take a leadership position with HS single gender including hosting a state championship and Western (or West Coast) championship, with or without the UPA depending on what is best for the youth of Seattle. Also DiscNW needs to bid for hosting YCC and working with the UPA to establish eligibility for Seattle youth players through Moho type programs during summer, fall, and winter.
Even if youth ends up leaving DiscNW there would hopefully still be some cross organizational work. A separate youth group would most likely be able to better get parents to help with field advocacy, which would be an issue that both groups could work very well on together. And to ensure that DiscNW still meets their mission statement of supporting youth, we could probably work out an agreement to share the web engine and to have DiscNW contribute to youth outreach.
– Mike Mullen
I'm a little troubled by the following statement:
I am willing to push for compromise if DiscNW does the following:
No one likes ultimatums, especially ultimatums issued in such a public manner - they put people on the defensive and you're far less likely to receive positive responses.
Your dedication to and passion for youth ultimate are commendable - however, as someone who has little to no involvement with youth ultimate and thus has little prior understanding of the issues you raise, your post comes across as combative and, perhaps, grand-standing.
Is this really the best forum for figuring out these issues?
First of all, I am a huge fan of DiscNW. Playing ultimate here in Seattle has been one of the great joys in my life. I have played countless league games and tournaments and have visions of maybe playing again someday. I really like the folks at DiscNW and am grateful for all of the work from administrators, league organizers, board members, etc. It is great to know that adult ultimate will continue to be run well for years to come.
While my list of bullet points may be different, I have to say that I agree with the basic premise put out there by Mike. (Disclosure statement – Mike and I work together, though colleagues will attest to the fact that we often disagree on matters and both of us are pretty clear about speaking our own mind.)
It seems clear to me that the time has come for youth ultimate around here to start envisioning bigger dreams (larger participation at all ages, socio-economic levels, geographic areas – better compensation and support for coaches many of whom are currently volunteers - stronger relationships with school administrators – significant fundraising and sponsorship – permanent field priority status for practices and games - to name but a few) and better logistics (Mike is right, we must set a goal of being the best organized youth sports organization or parents will turn away.)
The structure of living under the umbrella of DiscNW has been good for maintaining a solid structure and program but without our own board, finances, administrators, etc, it is difficult to envision youth ultimate taking that next step.
I am eager for the long overdue youth summit. My guess is that when we sit down and envision where we want youth ultimate to be in a decade we will see that what we want is so far beyond the mission and scope of DiscNW that the need for some radically different organizational structure will be obvious to all.
Let’s get rolling with the task of visioning and mission statement writing so we can move forward to get some of these things done. I think it is time for a little impatience on these matters. (Not sure where Mike’s patience is coming from but I guess he probably understands the larger issues here so if we have to wait to next summer then maybe that is necessary.) It is frustrating to know that another huge group of public school ultimate players for the Seattle Middle school league will be going off to high school in 3 weeks with nothing in place for them to continue playing this sport.
There is so much good energy in this town around youth ultimate. It was amazing to see all the kids out at camps this summer, to see all the Seattle Youth at Worlds and the results from YCC. Let’s put our collective heads together and start thinking big. Am I nuts to think that raising 50 K a year, funding all coaches, and significantly changing the demographic of youth participation (more ethnic, geographic and socio-economically diversity) are not well within our reach?
I’ll be one of the first volunteers for the board given the mandate to make things happen.
Thanks Mike for pushing this agenda forward.
I agree with you and think that your points make a lot of sense. I've thought as a youth player that DiscNW needed more opportunities in the summer for youth players, like an under 22 hat or team league (so that high schoolers can play with friends in college) and a tournament in the fall.
Your idea to create a separate youth organization makes a great deal of sense and obviously you and other committed members of the youth ultimate community have put a great deal of thought into this.
I only have a couple of questions on your proposal. The first is: how do you plan to make an SPS HS leagues work? There are currently two public programs in Seattle that are single gender (Nathan Hale and Roosevelt). Where does that leave the private schools and programs from the suburbs like Monroe and Bellevue? There is some serious growth needed to make that part of the plan work and even then you would be embarking on a league that would be more exclusive (Seattle only) than any other club/varsity sport in this state. As a former member of a team that was located outside the Seattle school district, I would be a little worried on how you plan to provide for those teams in the beginning years of the new organization. Second: Would you field teams for YCC? This event, flawed though it may be, is very important to the players.
It sounds as though you have already decided that a separate youth organization would be the best course of action. For DiscNW to adopt your compromise proposals is a fair amount of mission creep on their part and would require a rewriting of their statement. Also, the advantages of a separate organization would be substantial. I am hesitant to donate money to DiscNW because I am not whether it will be used for youth outreach or not. Also, no longer would my activities as a player in leagues subsidize Potlatch. I would rather DiscNW make money on the biggest mixed tournament in the world, considering that their loss for 2007 was a dollar amount that could have made the youth leagues for 2008 free to all participants. I think that a separate youth organization is a great idea.
Just so the conspiracy theorists don't go all a-twitter, the request to move the youth ultimate web pages onto their own menu came BEFORE this thread started.
Just 'cause you're not paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching you!
OK, back to the discussion while I adjust my tinfoil hat...
Mike Keran - The website for the future pf youth ultimate is something that concerns me a great deal. The DiscNW site is not perfect but it is darn good (looking forward to batch upload of schedules, shopping cart feature, etc). How about this: Mike Keran, Seattle Youth Ultimate Webteam Lead? I like it.
Joe - Good stuff.
Alex - Great observations and great questions. I'll answer each one here:
"how do you plan to make an SPS HS leagues work? There are currently two public programs in Seattle that are single gender (Nathan Hale and Roosevelt)"
I actually wrote up a big plan for this in late April. We tried to work with DiscNW on it but it got stalled out. A couple of us might still try to make it happen. I've posted the FAQ that I wrote up here: http://www.discnw.org/forums/viewtopic. … 4323#p4323
It will answer many of your questions. Feel free to add comments and questions there too.
"Where does that leave the private schools and programs from the suburbs like Monroe and Bellevue?" It leaves them out in the cold. However, there is absolutely no reason we can't make a fall league work for those big publics. We could base it in north Kirkland. It is essentially the same plan minus the school districts. If those big pulblics wanted to play Seattle publics they could though it wouldn't be scheduled by the league. The private schools that currently play won't allow ultimate in the fall because they need those athletes for other sports which is the nature of small schools. I would like to get something started with the Catholic schools but that will have to wait until we can get ultimate into the CYO. (Yes, I have a plan for that too - summer CYO leagues)
"Would you field teams for YCC?" Absolutely. I'm one of the people who wrote the National YCC plan in the first place. Not only do I like YCC, but I want to expand it and host it. I would take the HS teams out of the UPA but I would support the UPA through a MOHO training league. Here is a link to what I wrote up about the future of HS ultimate:
http://www.discnw.org/forums/viewtopic. … 4324#p4324
I do think separating out youth is the right thing to do and I think it will help DiscNW in the long run too.
Thanks for posting. Please feel free to look at the plans and find flaws and weaknesses.
Thanks for your post but I have to say, I'm surprised that you've taken this approach to getting things done. A long bulletin board post with a series of "I'm willing to do this if DiscNW does that" threats isn't a productive way to do things, especially when we're already working on many of these very ideas.
We're excited to have a new Director of Youth Operations who is focused full-time on growing and improving an already great youth program. The youth summit will be a key part of this growth as will a number of other initiatives including additional opportunities to play, geographic diversity, and better outreach to parents. I realize you don't like process, but an organized method for moving forward is necessary if we're going to be successful. It's getting everyone into the stack before we begin making cuts.
You're welcome to continue participating in the work already underway on a number of the activities you outline here. We're also interested in what the entire disc community has to say about youth and welcome those comments be sent to our youth director, Wynne Scherf (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I put this stuff in writing in late April. I met with the ED and the board president in June. I met with the new board member focused on youth in July. And yet very little has been done with youth. You hired a new youth coordinator. Didn't we hire a full time youth coordinator two years ago. Both the old YC and the new YC are good people with a lot of talent, but that doesn't change my arguments.
What will her focus be as new YC? Seattle or Tacoma? If it is Tacoma why is DiscNW spending money earned in Seattle youth in Tacoma when clearly there are needs for more stuff in Seattle?
You talk about plans for meetings and getting input but DiscNW has been doing that for three years with youth. There is a group of us who have founded most of the youth stuff in Seattle:
Joe B (Seattle MS spring league, Seattle HS coed league, Seattle Public MS fall league, MOHO)
Mary L (Seattle MS spring league, Seattle HS coed league, Spring Reign, MOHO)
Jeff J (Seattle MS spring league, Seattle HS coed league, Spring Reign, MOHO)
Me (HS Single Gender, HS State, HS Westerns, HS YCC, Seattle Youth Camps)
Roger Crafts (Seattle Youth Camps)
What else is there? How many things has DiscNW founded without us doing it? Tacoma Camp? Fall Hat? (No Fall Hat was Doug Baker).
Let's see who among the youth founders/builders and who among the current coaches is willing to pipe up on this transparent thread about moving youth to a new organization. That is a staring point and it is open to all.
DiscNW does a great job with adult but my argument is that they can't keep up with youth. The ED does great work (as I have said many times) but he can't be in two places at once. The board president told me that DiscNW does not need the funds from youth to run DiscNW. Why won't you let us go?
Now that you are in this argument how about addressing the 8 points that I brought up that are issues for youth being in DiscNW? All the dissenters just talk about how I'm grandstanding or being combative, yet you don't actually answer any of the points brought up. You just talk about having a meeting to talk about ideas.
This is very similar to when there was a push to go to single gender for HS with leagues, state, etc. There were only a few people willing to support that (Roger and a couple others) within and outside DiscNW. The difference here is that there are a lot more people willing to support it.
My name is Julian Hausman, I'm pretty involved with the Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League (PHUL). Pittsburgh and Seattle are in similar situations, considering re-organizing their leagues.
Please, use us as a resource for what and what not to do. We've done the same with your league (and a few of the other big youth leagues, Boston, Philly, and Minnesota).
I am here on your boards as a resource, but also to see what I can pick up for our league restructuring back in Pittsburgh.
After reading Mike's "Declaration of Independence" post (list of grievances and demands), It looks like the Youth Ultimate scene in Seattle could really benefit from a restructuring. This does not have to mean spliting from DiscNW, just not maintaining the status quo.
I ask these next questions not to be stirring trouble, but simply because I don't know the answers. I do not mean to suggestive and these are not intended to be leading questions.
And so I will ask, what does DiscNW offer to your youth scene that could not be obtained in a new youth organization?
Aside from financial reasons, what are the motives for DiscNW to hold onto the Youth division?
I like Julian's bottom line question -
"And so I will ask, what does DiscNW offer to your youth scene that could not be obtained in a new youth organization?"
From the perspective of a coach, parent and organizer, I would say that the website and especially the registration engine have been very helpful. I am sorry to say that I really don't see a lot more coming from discnw that couldn't quickly come from a new youth focused organization. If I was to ask the follow up question of "What does youth ultimate need that has not come from discnw?" , the list would be quite long. Does this mean that it couldn't? No. Am I skeptical that it will, with the focus and timeliness that I am hoping for? Definitely.
I hear Mike getting some grief for putting this argument out their on a public forum, but again, the guy delivers - just look at the success of his summer camps and the teams he has coached - and I can totally understand his frustration at the promise of talk and the lack of action.
I was one of the guys who was in the meeting when we decided to roll youth ultimate in this town into the discnw umbrella. I was hopeful of what that could mean for us as we had operated for years as a relatively loose organization relying mostly on the tireless work of Mary Lowry. I guess I am just disappointed with where we haven't come in these last years. I think it has to do with the fundamentally different, and in some cases conflicting missions of the two groups. Come on, what other "youth focused" board would put up with losing money on a tournament like Potlatch, in large part because of the cost of the party?
As far as the full time youth director, is she being paid a living wage in this town? Was she given a job description that properly reflected the real needs of youth ultimate around here? Was she told of the brewing issues between youth organizers and discnw prior to being hired (because Mike isn't saying anything that hasn't been on the table for a very long time?) (Note, my issues are not with Wynne, who I really hope can be helpful in getting us where we need to be.)
I hope I am not taking myself out of the position of being able to be part of this dialogue by going public with my comments but it didn't seem fair to leave Mike hanging out there in the wind. By the way, I was one of those who fought Mike on the single gender thing years ago and I am sure we will be on opposite sides of many arguments in the future, but on the fundamental need for an organization whose sole mission and purpose is to promote the educational and athletic needs of young ultimate players and the coaches and organizers who work with and for them, I have to say, he is dead on.
Long live open and democratic dialogue.
Dear DiscNW Community:
DiscNW's Executive Director William Bartram will be posting soon with a fact-based response to several concerns identified in this conversation. In the meantime, here is my earnest addition to this discussion.
I cannot even begin to pretend to know what's "best" for youth Ultimate in Seattle, as I am just beginning to wrap my head around the way things operate now, and the opportunities that do and don't exist for youth players.
However, what I can say is this: just last month, DiscNW made a huge and unprecedented commitment to youth Ultimate by hiring a full-time staff member whose sole responsibility is youth. For the first time, DiscNW will have someone who can focus not just on operations, but also on outreach throughout the entire region (consistent with its mission)—including outreach to many of the public schools in Seattle as well as to other areas that have been previously void of any youth opportunities, such as the South Sound and the East Side. I laud the previous youth coordinator, Frank Nam, for accomplishing all that he did while working less than half time for DiscNW. He was able to maintain operations for current youth events while also making some small but effective "tweaks" to improve the nature of those events. Furthermore, I respect and appreciate the dedication and hard work of the many volunteers on whose back the youth community has been riding. DiscNW has been and continues to be mainly a structure by which passionate volunteers can realize their goals. I am so excited to employ my managerial skills to facilitate the growth of what these dedicated people have built and maintained; this will involve coordinating volunteers' time, energy, and ideas to improve current operations and to extend these opportunities to new populations of youth players.
I would hate for divisive forces to come into play here. During this difficult period, I hope that we can rally together as people committed to our sport and to youth. Let's direct our passion toward advancing our common cause, rather than fighting against one another. Sure, there might be disagreements over specific details, but I think we all have a similar outcome in mind. I think that the Youth Summit is a crucial time for all invested parties to collaborate and establish common goals for the growth of our youth community. From there, we can define the operations and the organizational structure required to make those goals a reality.
As my training and orientation draw to a close, I have begun my first huge youth endeavor: initiating planning for the Youth Summit. If all goes as planned this weekend, we should be able to announce the date next week. In the meantime, please do continue this important dialogue, as well as feel free to email me with any questions or concerns: wynne dot scherf at discnw dot org.
BTW, did I mention that I'm working full time for youth? ; )
At Your Service,
Director of Youth Operations
Thanks Julian for chiming in. The question you close with is great. I’m happy to see Joe has responded to it. I’m excited to see what other people think.
I’ll give you three big reasons why I think creating a new youth organization is a bad idea:
1) It would lead to competition between the organizations: Reserving fields is a good example of where this could happen. We all (youth and not-youth) need fields and we’re already in competition for those fields with other user groups. DiscNW has established relationships with many cities throughout Washington as well as other entities that rent playfields such as Seattle Public Schools and King County. Many, maybe all, of those relationships begin with the transaction of purchasing fields from them. They are relationships that are largely very positive because DiscNW pays for the fields on time and even takes steps other groups do not to try to insure that fields don’t get trashed. Honestly, on this front DiscNW would make out much better as it has the established name recognition and trust than the new youth organization and the kids who would be participating in their programming.
2) Two organizations would have less clout: This hasn’t come up in any of the discussions, but it’s an increasingly important aspect of what the organization does that needs to be considered with regard to this type of change. Consider the recent grant that DiscNW applied for to get money for ultimate striping on the new fields at Magnuson. (http://www.discnw.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=1484). Consider the uproar that DiscNW created during the first ProParks levy campaign that help insure that Magnuson Park got money. In both situations, as well as in all the other meetings that DiscNW staff and field advocacy volunteers have with the people who control the allocation and development of playfields in this area, the weight of our words is directly related to our size. Bigger is definitely better! Splitting up makes us smaller and easier for decision makers to discount. Who loses here if we split? We all would.
3) A new youth organization would face significant administrative hurdles that DiscNW is already adept at dealing with: First, because it has already been pointed out, the web site and, in particular, the registration feature. (Yes, it’s not perfect. . . probably never will be. . . but isn’t a website always a “work in progress”?) Second, payroll and accounting . . . Joe B suggests paying coaches and staff but this isn’t something that comes together easily if you have to start at square 1. That leads me to one other hurdle the new organization would face in starting up: the IRS. My experience starting up a regional youth-only ultimate organization (Willamette Juniors Ultimate) in OR made me way more familiar with what the IRS expects of 501(c)3’s than I ever wanted to be and I can sum it up this way: It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. It is never ending. It is always getting harder. Could the new organization get over these hurdles? Yes, but lots of the effort in doing so will have to come from the board members, volunteers and employees. It will divert energy they would rather spend on some of the great ideas for helping kids that they have. I’d go so far as to say it would probably prevent them from achieving many of them. Who loses? The kids they are trying to serve.
So, IMHO the solution is not to split into two organizations. The solution is to continue the course toward better management of DiscNW resources. Yes! I’m contending real actions are being taken in response to Mike’s perspective that DiscNW is doing little/nothing.
Here are two I want to highlight because they have already been thrown out and need to be responded to:
1) On the financial end of things . . . big steps have been taken in the last 3 years to create an accounting system whereby the flow of revenue is clear (thanks in huge part to Chris Burke and William Bartram). Additionally, in May 2007 (http://www.discnw.org/admin/upload/96/0 … inutes.pdf ) the board created the Youth Development Fund (http://www.discnw.org/about/youthDevelopmentFund.html) in order to allow those who want to earmark donations to DiscNW for youth only purposes. I would agree with Mike that the “DiscNW tax” needs to be reexamined. I’d add that inadequate attention was given to building awareness of the Youth Development Fund .
2) DiscNW acted (I’d argue) as decisively as is possible to get a staff member for youth purposes. People may criticize decisions that were made, but . . . how do I put it. . . DiscNW now has a history of making these kinds of decisions that a new organization would not have. It’s unfortunate that these are hard learned lessons gathered as the result of two hiring decisions that did not work out. DiscNW’s board now knows about taking action when something isn’t working. It is experience that I think has paid off in getting and retaining Bunny, commiting to a FT youth person, and hiring Wynne. A new organization would have to learn these lessons on it’s own and in doing so it would probably be unnecessarily retracing steps that DiscNW has already made.
I’ve gone on way longer than I wanted to here, but I wanted to say that I agree completely with Joe B that we need to get these ideas people have out there. I don’t love the bulletin board, but it will work to create a record of those ideas as well as providing a venue to those who can not attend the Youth Summit in October.
DiscNW Board Member 2004-2008
Commitment to Youth Ultimate
There is plenty of good news to report about the growth of youth ultimate in the area. Participation in DiscNW youth leagues has increased by about 80% since 2003 (from 72 teams to 130 projected for 2008). Spring Reign was 32 teams in 2002; this year there were 87. In 2007 DiscNW started an elementary school league that had 12 teams in 2008. DiscNW has run clinics in partnership with the YMCA and Seattle Parks. This growth is thanks in big part to the work of DiscNW staff, board, and dedicated volunteers to recruit coaches, improve playing opportunites, and increase capacity.
There is a commitment to youth ultimate evidenced in the composition of the staff. DiscNW hired a part-time Youth Coordinator 1.5 years ago. At the beginnning of this year the Board decided to hire a full-time Director of Youth Operations, and Wynne started this job last month. The job description for the new Director of Youth Operations can be found online at www.discnw.org/community/jobdescription … ption.doc. There will be administrative and outreach components to the position. This description was created by me with input from the Youth Coordinator, the Youth Committee and the Board of Directors.
Plans for youth league expansion are underway. The value of partnering with Seattle Public School is recognized as is the value of more opportunities in the fall. Youth Committee meetings and the summit will be a good opportunity for stakeholders to help set priorities for our efforts. Having a parent organization would be great. Plans made to engage parents of youth players by the Youth Coordinator and the Advocacy Committee are being continued.
DiscNW hosted Westerns in 2005 and 2007, and we have hosted State Championships since 2004. I maintain ongoing discussions with the UPA and with the Youth Committee about future plans for championship events. I hope to discuss this further at the summit so that proper priorities can be set.
Moho programs currently run throughout the year. Frank, Wynne, and I have already made plans to establish eligibility for Seattle youth players through Moho type programs starting Winter/Spring 2009.
The Youth Committee has been the traditional forum for youth ultimate decision making. It has also been the way for DiscNW staff and youth ultimate stakeholders to maintain dialogue. The Board has always been responsive to and has encouraged the decisions made by the Youth Committee.
Unfortunately, participation on the Youth Committee has decreased over the last year. The summit will be a great opportunity to examine the structure and practices of the Youth Committee in order to better support youth ultimate.
Youth leagues do get priority with field reservations. I don’t remember anyone ever bringing up the idea of moving youth games to Sunday. Every season I coordinate field logistics with the League Coordinators, the Youth Coordinator, and the Youth Committee. DiscNW will always listen to new requests and consider new options.
Please note that new construction of synthetic fields at Magnuson should be completed by the end of this year. Thanks to the hard work of the DiscNW Fields Advocacy Committee and staff we might have ultimate lines on the new fields. There is no guarantee that we will get specific time on the new fields. However, more and better fields in the city benefit all players.
The mission of DiscNW is to "Serve as a regional resource, promoting growth in the sport of Ultimate and instilling the spirit of sportsmanship at all levels of play." This mission is a fair description of the work, values, and goals of DiscNW. It does accurately reflect our commitment to growing youth and adult ultimate without creeping. DiscNW is a non-profit. Financial interests are important to our organization, but they are not specifically part of our mission. Promoting growth in the sport at the youth level is a big part of our mission.
No one should hesitate to donate to DiscNW for fear of knowing where their money will go. The Youth Development Fund (http://www.discnw.org/about/youthDevelopmentFund.html) was specifically created to support specified youth-related activities.
Youth funds are specifically accounted for in the budget. Accounting for overhead costs in budgets has been discussed at the retreat and at past Board meetings. It’s scheduled to return as a subject for more review later this year. Last year was a good financial year for youth ultimate despite the fact that there were several youth events that lost money (http://www.discnw.org/about/financial.html).
Youth activities do not subsidize Potlatch. That has never been DiscNW policy. We are able to run some events at a loss because DiscNW has accumulated savings from adult and youth events. Overall, it would be more appropriate to say that profits from adult leagues ($17,850 in 2007) allow us to manage losses from other events like Potlatch.
DiscNW runs Potatch and Spring Reign because they are important to the community, not because they are important to the financial outlook of the organization. Spring Reign was not always profitable, and I am very glad that we continue to host that event.
For 2008 the approved budget included projected losses for Potlatch, however volunteers and staff made every effort to run it without losses. Not all of the invoices and receipts are in yet, but so far so good. Additionally, the Board of Directors has already conducted a review of Potlatch and has made recommendations for changes to the tournament.
Executive Director, DiscNW
I have long deliberated on this issue since I began talking with Mike probably over 2 years ago now. Anyone who doesn't know me and Mike, we don't agree on most topics, but our visions for ultimate and more specifically youth ultimate are shared as I think they are shared by everyone who has posted on this thread, except maybe that Pitt guy as I don't know him. Anyhow, I have served as the UPA representative for Youth Ultimate in our state for two years, I have volunteered on the Youth Committee for three years, I coach at NWS and at MoHo when I have the time, and this past summer I also worked one of Mike and Roger's amazing camps.
I don't think anyone on this thread really disagrees with Mike on the big issues facing Youth Ultimate, some disagree with his method as I do, but regardless of how something gets done it does NEED to get done. I've been on the inside of it all and have always tried to approach everything with an unbias perspective which as many know my passion for this sport, or my teams, it is hard to do.
No one, not even myself can see all the aspects of this. Those in favor of the new youth organization though have been the back-bone I feel of youth ultimate in Seattle for long enough that I trust them with the future of the sport I love.
I don't support two seperate organizations, I think I more favor a business partnership as it seems we are asking the UPA often for the same thing. Let youth benefit from the relationships that DiscNW has with the parks department, let them benefit from the website and financial help that an established non-profit can bring. In turn let DiscNW benefit from the youth numbers it can report and boast about, let them in turn benefit from having all those youth and parents realize what a great organization DiscNW is for Ultimate and for supporting youth in such a way as to help it grow as fast as it can maintain.
Ultimately what Mike is calling for is a large staff that is solely Youth oriented, and I support that. The hiring of a Youth Director was great step, but there needs to be more people dedicated to youth. Meeting once a month as a youth committee, will nto bring about the change needed quick enough. Yes it's harsh, but it's true. Find people who can meet once a week, they are out there, I am one of them. Get hard fast timetables down for getting stuff done. Ultimately when the dust settles Youth will be the focus and it will either be a part of DiscNW or it won't but that is not the major concern. The only true concern is benefiting Youth and I think it is indeed time for change.
I favor an expansion in staff. Like we have seen with the UPA and utlimate as a whole over the past two decades, Ultimate grew at an exponential rate whereas the support staff kept the same. Now the UPA struggles to grow Ultimate and maintain the current status quo for their events. We see the same parallel trends here in adult and in youth and DiscNW needs to expand at a rate that is comparable. By expanding into youth only, it allows people who are more adult oriented to stay that way, while still meeting the needs of kids with their own dedicated staff.
My two cents, written over the last couple hours and reread more times than I would like to admit.
Coach, Player, and Volunteer.
It may be best here to just explain the PHUL model here briefly and show why parts could work here in Seattle.
Organizationally, PHUL is independent of the Community for Pittsburgh Ultimate (CPU- equivalent of DiscNW). We have our own board (high school players) which runs the league, with guidance from a Commissioner and a Youth Director. There is also a CPU liason, which is a CPU board member (in our case, also a PHUL parent and UPA board member).
Financially, PHUL uses the CPU's 501c3 status. As far as the IRS is concerned, PHUL is a CPU league that is under the 501c3 umbrella. PHUL uses the CPU's EIN (Employer Identification Number). Our money is in a separate account from the CPU's, called "CPU doing business as PHUL." PHUL's account can be accessed by the Youth Director or by the CPU treasurer. Separate books are kept. PHUL responsibly sets it own budget as well. This system eliminates any concern about clout.
PHUL uses the CPU's bboard: http://www.pittsburgh-ultimate.org/bboard/index.php This website also archieves all of PHUL's results, yet in recent years, we have decided to create our own official webpage. It was still important to us to keep our players on the same bboard to keep our players connected to the whole community.
What this system allows for is a league that gives the players what they want (considering it is run, for the most part, by the 5 most active and passionate players we have), a financially stable system, and positive synergy with our parent organization. Our parent organization gets the clout it wants, without having to micromanage an entirely different entity. It allows both groups to focus on what they do best.
Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League
Last edited by Julian Hausman (2008-08-15 08:16 am)
I thank everyone who has taken the time to contribute here. I have had a good talk on the phone with Mike DiGioia. A couple thought/clarifications, etc:
This discussion revolves around the main them of "what is and what could be." In my discussions with Mike D, it has become clear that there is a gulf in understanding between the board and a number of the youth people concerning "what is." This thread and the summit will hopefully close that gulf of understanding. I am hopeful that other youth people will contribute to this online discussion to contrbute to the knowledge base. There is also the question of "what could be." Clearly, I and others are frustrated about the "what could be" ranging from how professionally things are run now to what programs should be added and when. That "when" for some of the events in my opinion is "it should already exist." Mike D did make the astute observation that a significant part of this discussion is revolves around customer service and the the youth people don't think they are getting the proper customer service. I agree on that.
Other thoughts about previous posts:
Julian - Thanks so much for an example of keeping separate books. This is something I have been advocating since my days on the board. It is my argument that youth does fund Potlatch because separate books are not kept nor are separate accounts. It is one thing to track revenue but it is another to actually keep monies in different accounts.
The issue of youth events losing money is an interesting one. I'm looking at the 2007 numbers. Of course the Seattle Public MS League is going to lose money because that is outrach/donation by DiscNW. Fall Hat is a DiscNW run league and I'd like more details about why it loses money but my guess is that it isn't marketed as agressively as possible and/or is using more expensive fields. The big losers are HS coed and YCC. How do these events lose money. Simple they are not on Seattle fields. I coached that YCC year and we were under the lights on the FieldTurf at Marymoor for 3 hours per week on two fields. Most of the cost overrun was because we were out there instead of Seattle on the much more affordable fileds. And there should be no tax on YCC because there is a built in GM user fee for each participant that comes out to $500 per team not to mention that a vast amount of the expense are the plane tickets which are essentially "pass throughs." Players and families sign up for tickets at a group rate, DiscNW pays with the credit card and the familes reimburse. So the accounting on the YCC is very misleading or discnw is charging a 10% fee for the pass through which would be beyond belief.
This leads to fields. Dave, I must disagree with you. DiscNW relationship with parks for renting fields is nothing special. The camps rent straight from the parks as do a number of the schools in the league. WSG rented straight from the parks. Parks does a great job with all the rental requests. The key is to have your plans made and your league registrations done before making parks requests which is standard operating procedure for school athletic directors and should be for DiscNW youth. My key point and I think the biggest sticking point for DiscNW is that youth should get first right to all fields. That is how it is in other youth sports. And the requests should be made seperately because parks gives youth preference and in Seattle youth fees are very very affordable while adult fees are closer to the fees for Shoreline and King County Parks. And MS league did not have enough fields. That I am sure of because I did the schedules and I had to bump SB and Whitman into the midweek.
Dave - You are right about the IRS stuff on running a non-profit but luckily there are a lot of youth people who work in non-profits and have a lot of connections to other non-profit boards and resources. We are no neophytes on how non-profits run and how much mundane work is needed.
Back to "what could be." In looking at the job description for youth coordinator I see an odd mix of specifics and generalities. Are the specifics benchmarks or just ideas? The generalities such as training people to run leagues is problematic because the youth coordiantor needs to be like an athletic director and actually run the leagues. That is not to say that the YC would be expected to be at every game but the YC should be the main force behind every league. We have had great onsite managers for DiscNW youth events for years (Jeff Jorgenson comes to mind for the MS leagues) and that is very trainable for volunteers if you are lucky enough to find someone to put in so many hours. But agian the YC should be on the hook for running the leagues and not just be a person who is a resource for those doing all the work. The YC should also be the TD or assistant TD for all the tournaments as well. If you look at the job description it is written more for someone doing the same thing for adult which is a very different animal. And because the job description contains large elements of what the board thinks is the future of youth based on what a YC who has never worked with any youth in Seattle or elsewhere, it is also an indication of what job the YC will be doing. I am confident that we have a good YC but if she goes by job description the same problems will exist. Hopefully the summit and this thread helps with that issue.
So finally I pose this question: Under what scenario could the board of DiscNW support youth leaving to form another organization. If budget and fields are separated out in DiscNW as they should be then we are on our way to being there. Also, as I have said before the BOD does a great job with the adult stuff inclduing several of them running adult events such as Potlatch. I propose that the board members who do participate in adult as organizers/players each adopt an area of youth (ES, MS, HS leagues, Moho, etc) and really get their hands dirty helping organize those things. The counter argument is why not just get youth people on the board? We have done that and frankly that gung-ho youth people are not interested in putting in time on adult coed though if we could get enough youth people on the board we could just vote youth or maybe adult out of DiscNW. And what benchmarks should there be to hold DiscNW to supporting and growing youth in the proper manner?
That's all for today. - Mike
As the outgoing Youth Coordinator I have admittedly been pretty quiet on this thread but feel like I should add a couple of thoughts to the discussion.
1. A very small update about Mike's latest posting about YCC 2007 going over budget.
Part of the expense is definitely the fields that were used. Lit Marymoor fields were quite expensive last year (they don't have a youth rate) and this year we fixed that by using all Seattle fields (Magnuson mainly and a couple of others).
The other part of the expense is due to the fact that some players simply cannot afford YCC and DiscNW has covered their costs (at about $750 per youth) entirely. The same thing will happen this year as well. I consider this as a use of scholarship money but don't know where it's pulled from or what other fund covers it.
The tickets are bought in bulk but airlines really don't offer much of a group rate anymore. However we did get one ticket free and that savings was passed onto the entire group.
I don't know about the tax on YCC and won't even pretend to understand the complexity that is involved in the book-keeping behind the scenes and therefore won't comment on it.
2. I do want to comment on a mistake Mike made about my job in a previous post. He stated at one point that DiscNW hired a F/T Youth Coordinator two years ago and how unfortunate it was that I didn't get much done.
The job was always a P/T position slated for 20 hrs/wk. Due to circumstances with my other job I quickly let DiscNW know that I couldn't even do that many hours and in actuality did more like 10 hours a week.
In the 1.5 years no staff member of board member approached me to complain about my time commitment and I received no unsatisfactory reviews. So it comes as a surprise to hear a bit of vitriol aimed at my direction.
I don't feel that Mike has any ill will towards me personally as I have always done as much as I could with what little time I had. Even with this knowledge I will be honest that many items in this thread feel like an attack on my performance and pains me quite a good deal.
At the end of the day I know what hours I could give and what tasks were most important to preserve the great tradition of Youth Ultimate that founders like Mary and Jeff and Joe and others created before me. I am entirely grateful for the work they have accomplished and hope that the small amount of effort I've put into this showed more than just a maintaining of the status quo.
3. I would like close by highlighting some of my favorite memories these past 1.75 years on the job:
The creation of the first ever Spring Elementary School League in 2007. We ran it again in 2008 and had 12 teams playing on fields at South Park. If you want to see the future of ultimate watch these little ones next Spring! Absolutely ridiculous!
YCC 2007 and 2008. While serving as the GM of both years I was proud to see an amazing staff of coaches and a spirited and talented crop of players bring home gold medals. It was especially endearing to see players on the Open and Girls teams this year win medals after playing on a strong but young Mixed team the year before. Congrats to all of you!
As much as I didn't have time for outreach I'm proud to have helped match the following coaches to existing programs these past 1.75 years: Xtehn Titcomb to Roosevelt HS, Scott Houghtaling to Garfield HS, Will Whitwell to Nova HS, John McCormack (more of a re-introduction) to Bellevue HS, and Katie Gillespie to Seattle Waldorf School. I truly hope more adults consider coaching a youth team. A lack of fields and a lack of coaches are the two biggest things holding back growth in Youth Ultimate.
Westerns 2007 and Spring Reign 2008. Westerns was my first time ever TD'ing a tournament and will always be a great memory for me. Spring Reign this year was also very rewarding and I think every participant, coach, and parent will remember the four to five inches of snow that blanketed the fields on Sunday morning this year. Cool for all the participants and a dizzying nightmare (that ended well) for us organizers! Amazing!
Asa Mercer Ultimate. How can I not end by giving a shout out to these amazing middle schoolers? Congrats on taking Fall League Champies, Fall Drizzle, Spring League Champies, Spring Reign and a Worlds showcase game. Rex and Sam - great job coaching them and giving so much of your time and energy. I will always be a Mustangs' fan!
Lastly I want to thank the countless volunteers, coaches, staff members, UPA contacts, and parents for the work and effort brought forth for Youth Ultimate in the area.
Most of all I want to thank all the players that have inspired me as a coach and as a player these past years. Your love of the game is truly contagious and I wish you all the best of luck in your future ultimate and non-ultimate endeavors!
I look forward to continuing my involvement in this area as a coach and organizer in the years to come and hope to see more of my teammates and opponents involved in this great program no matter who or what board is in charge.
Youth Coordinator - DiscNW
Props to you Frank on your accomplishments, and also for a good demonstration of tact.
My initial reaction is, I'm fully against DiscNW and a separate organization competing for field space. I think DiscNW's single biggest innovation has been having a fields coordinator who works with Parks&Rec(s) on a "single entity" basis rather than having various ultimate groups looking for fields. I guess I'd say I'm an "ultimate exceptionalist" and don't want things happening in ultimate that are commonplace in other sports, especially at the youth level. From my previous discussions with Mike, this feels like to me one of the primary sticking points on how to proceed at the youth level.
A brief look at DiscNW's finances shows that a great deal of effort goes into the youth side of things. I'd reckon that youth make up a significant portion of DiscNW participants outside of tournaments. Dunno what the exact breakdown is, but it might not be the case that the primary focus is actually adult leagues - it might just appear that way because there is an established adult community and active 'adult' bulletin board.
Also, I don't see a pressing need to separate youth and adult organizations. This has become very problematic in Portland where we have separate youth and adult orgs (in particular, PUFF does not have 501(c)3 status while PUFFY does). Mike's points about Potlatch being 'not for kids' is completely true, but as in Portland, this may lead to a situation where all DiscNW activities/leagues are 21+, leaving college-aged students in the void when it comes to DiscNW.
As someone who has played a lot of ultimate, and lived in a few different cities, I think that DiscNW has done a great job so far. I think that youth ultimate is far better organized in Seattle than in most other cities. Youth ultimate was not nearly as organized in Boston, or as high profile. Clearly DiscNW is doing something right when leagues are growing, and youth teams are competing at a high level at nationals. Something tells me that DiscNW might be becoming a victim of its own success.
As evidenced in this thread, there are clearly some differences of opinion as to how things should be run, but the idea of a split seems pretty short-sighted. Current DiscNW players are the youth coaches of the future. DiscNW is valuable advocate for everyone who plays ultimate. And the entire ultimate community is stronger if we speak with one voice, rather than pitting youth ultimate against adult leagues. DiscNW should have a voice in youth ultimate. DiscNW may never do enough to keep everybody happy, but it seems like they are trying and have done some great things.
Thanks to everyone at DiscNW for all their hard work!!!
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to contribute substantive thoughts.
A couple of comments:
Indeed youth ultimate is better organized out here than in many other places but that doesn't count for much. There are a few other well organized youth leagues/areas (Pittsburgh, Minnesota, etc), but we are not in contest with them, we are in contest with other youth sports in Seattle. Youth coordinators in all areas share some of my same concerns and we work together to a certain extent to have to keep from "reinventing the wheel" organizationally.
Keep in mind that those of us seeking a "youth first" approach have a strong vision of what can be in youth ultimate and have a specific plan how to get there. I don't see that same strong vision and clear path from those arguing against separating.
If you look at who on this thread is saying that changes need to be made you will notice that it is the people who have been doing a great deal of the founding and organizational work in youth in Seattle. It will be interesting to see what the other people on the list and who have been doing the coaching and organizng say.
Indeed current youth players are the coaches of the future. A great deal of the coaches now actually came out of our youth programs. Part of the "youth first" movement is making it so they don't have to deal with all the stuff we had to deal with as 1st generation organizers.
As far as our argument being shortsighted, I think you have it backwards. We are the ones trying to look to the future. We are the ones saying "hey if this is better organized and we have an organization that focuses solely on youth, we could have 5000 kids in our area playing. Heck, we could even have this sport in every Seattle Public School in Seattle in three years." It is the people who don't have experience as teachers, coaches, and school athletic administrators who are short sighted about all of this.
All of this said, I do think there is a middle ground as I mentioned in the inital post.
Thanks again for contributing. - Mike
It has been interesting to read all of the posts here. While I feel pretty open minded about all of this, I find myself drifting ever more adamantly towards separation as time goes on.
Great non-profits have great boards, individuals who are willing to donate time, energy and money to make something happen. When I talk to parents whose kids are engaged in this sport they are passionate about their love of the game and the role it plays in their kids lives. Let's be honest, in part because of some of the schools where programs have been strong for a long time, many of these parents have the experience, contacts and resources to get things done. Where is that representation on the DiscNW board? I want to see big thinkers and hard workers on a board whose sole mission is the development of youth ultimate. To me, in the long run, this may be the biggest need.
Second, I couldn't agree more with the others who have said the finances need to be totally separate. I am sorry, if Potlatch loses money and youth camps make money and they both go into the same account, then youth camps help pay for the Potlatch party. No accounting semantics can change that reality. Separate bank accounts is a critical issue to maintain the integrity of the youth mission, especially as it moves to include fundraising.
I also agree that fields reservations, when done in combination with adults, serves the adults at the expense of kids. I would be interested to hear of a situation where Seattle gave some extra consideration to a youth field request because of our association with adult ultimate. Vice versa?? I put on a youth tourney this summer and found the parks folks great to deal with just with the word that I was running a youth event.
Finally, I am excited to have a full time youth person on board. (No knock against Frank, but why exactly did the DiscNW board agree to lessening his hours, essentially saying at the time that youth could deal with half the time commitment? This doesn't exactly look like putting the needs of youth first at the time. And there is surprise that there is frustration out there?? Don't mean to discredit attempts to remedy this with recent hire but it is decisions like this that got this whole separation movement going.)
Youth does need that level of staffing.
So I guess my opinion would be that if youth gets its own board, its own bank account, its own field requests and its own director and can still be part of DiscNW then we should talk about staying together in partnership. If not, ??
That's is where I am at today.
Staying open minded on the path to clarity,
Great to hear the different insights about this topic. As an athletic director at a school with ultimate as part of our interscholastic offerings (and as a work colleague of Mike M and Joe B) I have long been thinking about youth ultimate from an administrative standpoint, as well as from perspectives as a player and coach. It has been great to watch ultimate grow, but it needs to be better organized on the youth level.
1. Registration and scheduling need to be done months, not days/weeks, ahead. For other school sports, fall and winter schedules are made early in the spring and spring schedules are made in the fall (if not earlier). This allows proper planning and arrangements for fields, coaches, etc. It gives lead time for players and families to plan on the home front. This is part of organizing the sport in the right way, at least at the high school level. Younger age groups do not usually need such lead time.
2. UPA process and paperwork for Westerns is cumbersome. It is a nightmare for parents and players. It is so time-consuming for AD's/schools that it is easy to see this in and of itself turning schools off to getting involved at this level. I believe schools want good competition as locally as it can be found. To me, Westerns is unnecessary. It would be great to have the season culminate with the state tournament, as most sports do, but for now a NW or even west coast tournament would be better. The more local, the more pariticipation and access may be had.
That's all for now, but I applaud the energy behind the focus on youth from you all and am looking forward to see where it goes.
Let me begin by saying that I am privileged to be a part of a conversation that is going to revolutionize Ultimate as a legitimate youth sport in the Seattle Area and hopefully elsewhere.
Before reading the posts on this message board I was for separating from DiscNW and forming a youth centered organization. After reading all these posts, I see and feel that everyone in this community has a heart for youth and believe that a compromise can be reached. However, as Mike, Joe and others have stated, some very drastic changes need to be made, and they need to be made soon.
My first concern is what is going on with youth at Potlatch. I have heard both sides of the argument on who is financing Potlatch (which won’t be an issue if youth and adult funds are kept separate) but nothing about the ethics of this tournament. I would contend that the majority of the activities at DiscNW’s flagship tournament are adult activities, targeted at people over the age of 21 and that youth players have no place in this environment.
Anyone who has been to Potlatch the past four years (the years I have attended) could corroborate the fact that nudity, explicit sexual behavior and alcohol are major themes at this “premier tournament.” I am speaking from firsthand experience. The majority of the end-of-game cheers my team (Interrobang) participated in were alcohol related. As a Seattle Youth coach going into my fifth year this created a rather awkward situation for me as many of the players I coach(ed)/coach(ed) against were playing on the field right next to me. I consequently did not participate in these cheers because I am a role model for these kids and don’t want to set a bad example. The teams that offered us alcohol offered the same drinking opportunities to the underage youth team, who gladly accepted (fortunately none of the kids still in the league partook as far as I know).
And why wouldn’t they? “Many of the best players in the world come to compete for the coveted Potlatch trophy,” (http://potlatch.discnw.org/history.php) players these kids look up to and in many ways idolize, doing adult activities in an adult environment clearly not suited for youth. Of course they are going to mimic their heroes. And yet on this issue, no one from DiscNW has said anything. The Potlatch website is vacant of any rules concerning alcohol/drugs/or lewd conduct. How can an organization that says it highly values the youth community condone such blatantly illegal activities? Is it because of embarrassment that no one is talking? Are the board members at all concerned with the legal ramifications and consequences that could result from this dangerous environment? Is “Ultimate is a counter-culture sport” the excuse? I don’t think I am out of line in asking for an explanation for such disregard for the safety and well being of the youth ultimate community. To be a credibly youth organization, DiscNW either needs to make Potlatch a 21+ only tournament OR have extremely stringent, no-tolerance rules banning alcohol, illegal substances and lewd behavior.
Moving on, I would like to echo Britt that working with the UPA has been burdensome, both monetarily and in the amount of paperwork necessary to participate. Does DiscNW see any of the UPA dues youth players have to pay in order to be eligible for YCC? Hopefully, because this would help alleviate costs for running the league and paying for field space for the YCC team. For all of the paperwork and money we send the UPA’s way, I hope the Seattle Area is receiving something in return. If not, why are we even involved outside of wanting to have a YCC team? Westerns, if not in Burlington (run well by DiscNW)... is unpractical for most players to go to because of the strain it puts on their school work and the high financial cost.
Also, the UPA’s formats for youth Ultimate are based off of adult Ultimate tournament schedules. Four or five games in a day is unsafe for youth. As a coach and a teacher, I would like to see youth ultimate run like any other high school sport, with a state tournament format that has one to two games a day, which is safer and will not have such a large time suck on players/students valuable time.
Addressing Frank's comments, I don’t believe Mike was attacking you (Frank) personally at all. I think he was stating that having ONLY ONE person in charge of running an ENTIRE Youth community (arguably the biggest youth community in the World) is unpractical and an unreasonable expectation put on you. I think you did a great job with Spring Reign and every event you ran. But running High School and Middle School League at the same time while trying to deal with the UPA and Moho and every other aspect of Youth Ultimate PART-TIME is an unfair working situation. Kudos to what you were able to accomplish under such difficult conditions. I believe that even though Wynne, a very talented and (overly) capable person, is now full time, it is going to be very difficult for her to accomplish everything that is necessary to run a successful youth ultimate organization.
Lastly, I don’t see why DiscNW couldn’t separate youth finances and organizational structures from adult while keeping it under the DiscNW name? DiscNW does a great job of organizing tournaments and could team up to continue to help run Spring Reign, a State or Northwest/West Coast Championship, and Seattle Youth Ultimate Camps… Maybe even have some youth vs. adult games? Why is this not possible? The money made from leagues/camps could be directly infused into building programs in low-income schools. I think three years is not ambitious enough to incorporate all Seattle Schools. With an aggressive marketing scheme, demo games with Riot, Viva, Shazam, Voodoo and Sockeye, and a solid organizational structure that plans 9 months, a year, two years ahead, I think we could have every Seattle School and many on the Eastside playing elementary, middle school and high school Ultimate. This is all possible if things start to change NOW. The status quo is no good. Let’s start a revolution and do something amazing that no one thinks is possible.
Ryan “Wink” Winkelmann
Last edited by Wink (2008-09-02 09:38 am)