Saturday, June 25, 2011


Today might be a very cool day, agility people were asked to blog about some aspect of volunteers at agility trials.

I do not remember any subject that seems to have sparked as much discussion or controversy and to tell you the truth it surprised me.

Some people felt they pay their entry fees so they felt they did their part;-). I can sure see feeling that way.....

Unfortunately the cost of entries would not cover a trial with all paid workers unless the entry fees were raised a lot. I wish I could come up with some sort of brilliant discussion for or against volunteering or perhaps some really funny or profound thoughts on the discussion-but I have to say I am sitting here drawing a blank!

The most profound thing I can say is that I understand how intimidating it is to go out of your comfort zone, but I am just going to encourage anyone who is new to trialing or new to volunteering to try it-just jump in-they always need volunteers and it feels good to go out of your comfort zone. I was extremely nervous about volunteering because it was intimidating not knowing how hard the jobs were to do, and it is hard to feel out of your element. I have to say once you get your feet wet, most jobs are set up so you can learn them quickly, and there are just a few things to know there is usually someone around who will take you under their wing and show you what to do-you will be suprised at how easy it is.

Volunteering is great for getting to know some new people, as you are sitting at the scribe table next to the timer, you can make a new friend. Building the course can help you work on your skills for seeing the patterns in a course and memorizing a course. Scribing can help with understanding the judges calls. Working as a gate steward can help you learn more people/dogs names, and it helps with ring nerves as you see you are not the only one who feels nervous and lost before a run. Doing a job helps to pass the day ;-).

I love when clubs reward their volunteers with lunch, or trial bucks to use towards future entries.

I think we should all help when we can and understand there are times when it can be hard-if we all do what we can to help then we can all have a good time. It is disconcerting when we are about to run novice and they can not find any bar setters, and things get delayed trying to find enough help ;-(.

Some of the jobs you might want to try ;-).

Scribing-writing down the calls the judge makes-taught me a lot about the different faults and calls. The hard thing about that job for me is that there are a lot of dogs/handlers I do not know so it makes it harder to make sure I am scribing on the right dog/handlers sheet and you are not supposed to ever watch the dogs/runs you are just supposed to watch the judge for his calls. I find not watching the dogs is hard for me. If you know a lot of the dogs, or have a timer that does it is a pretty easy job. There is a little cheat sheet that shows the hand signals, it only takes a second to learn them, by the end of the class, you will know the signals well ;-).
Course building-that is a great job, you get to help build the course and see how it feels, what a great way to know the courses.
Gate Stewart-is a favorite job of just make sure people are at the gate and know when to go in, and let the scribe know if there are changes so they can keep their scribe sheets in order.
Leash runner-jump setter-tunnel/chute straightener, or runner to pick up the scribe sheets-are jobs that you might end up running around a bit if you are a chute straightener and need to straighten the chute out after each run, but they are really nice easy jobs if you want to help out without feeling a lot of pressure. You get a front row seat to the action for most of those jobs.
Timer-with the electronic timers, usually it is just a matter or pressing a button, making sure the timer starts and stops correctly and writing down the times. You can watch the dogs and the runs if you are timer unlike being the scribe, so I like that one better.

Yea one of my favorite dogs-Jive,who is Crickets brother-look how good his weaves are looking, he is on week 4!

Nari is doing week 1-Look at Nari,wow, great weaves,what a cool dog.. and a wicked running dogwalk.

Then on Sunday Nari got right back to work and did week 2. I LOVE Nari, what a cutie. I really like how they did a full set of weaves at the end, I think I am going to do that too because Cricket and I have had some popping on the tenth pole lately ;-(.


Sara said...

Well said.

I love our small DOCNA trials, because it is a "jump in and help when you can" atmosphere. Everyone helps out, but without the need for a regimented schedule.

You're right, I have met a lot of new people by being timer/scribe.

hobnoblin said...

Enjoyed your post and site!

AC said...

I like that you mention how entry fees don't cover the bill. I've learned this in the (human) sports world. While my $100+ entry fee can seem crazy, no one makes money. When you break down the cost of permits, insurance, equipment, port-o-potties =), it adds up.

Such a good idea to pay it forward through volunteering at the events we enjoy. They wouldn't happen otherwise!

Sagira said...

Helping out is a great way to get involved. We always help out at our club events. :)

Sam said...

I think a little bit of effort from a lot of people goes a long way. I hate when trial officials have to go and grab people to work because no one is stepping up. It everyone worked just one class or a half a class, it would be so helpful. It's also AWESOME when people new to agility show up to trials ready to work.. it takes the pressure of the people who have dogs with them.

I work at trials a lot of the time, but, if I have someone with me (like Louie), then I don't. Sure, I could ask him to work with me, but agility is my thing, not his, so I don't expect him to do anything extra.

Kim said...

We have a tight knit NADAC community in Montana and the surrounding area, and I've never been to a trial yet in which I haven't volunteered at least twice in a day, many times much more than that. Everyone is expected to volunteer at least once a day, and at many trials clubs will sign you up to volunteer for something whether you fill out the volunteer form with the premium or not. I like it...trials can not function if no one is willing to volunteer.

Anonymous said...

I really like volunteering at the trials. It not only helps me pass the time between runs, but I really love watching everyone run the courses, and seeing all the different running styles.

Diana said...

So right!!!

Thanks for the weave pole challenge. Im really enjoying it and enjoying watching everyone videos.

Nat said...

Good thoughts Kathy!

Cynthia said...

Well, the thing about scribing, is really you shouldn't have to even care what scribe sheet you have. It should be between the Scribe Assistant and the Gate Steward to get the order right.

It's too hard, as scribe, to watch the judge and keep track of what dogs are in what order. So... IMHO, and I scribe a lot, it's my preferred job, the Scribe Assistant really needs to do the work!