Entwining Experiences: Values, Mission, and Vision

[Last weekend, we had a judge conference in the USA-Northeast! It was a fantastic conference, in large part thanks to the quality and diversity of the seminars presented. One of these seminars, given by Charles Featherer, was called “Entwining Experiences.” As a writer, the highest form of praise is when someone takes my ideas and applies them to their own life. So I was incredibly happy when Charles took the idea of entwining that I wrote about in May and ran with it!

Charles’ talk focused on leadership skills that he learned through the Boy Scouts, and how they could be applied to judging. Today’s article is the first of a five-part series that presents these same concepts in written form. Successive parts will be posted on upcoming Fridays and Mondays, alongside the regular Bearz Repeating on Wednesday.

I’m very grateful that Charles took the time to write this article, as I think it hits on a number of important and helpful areas. Enjoy! — Bearz]

Charles FeathererEgg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Charles Featherer
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Being a Judge is an easy thing, right? We get dressed in black, show up at an event, make some announcements, decide some calls, hand out a few prizes and call it a day. Right?

In terms of a process or a map of steps, it can be simplified to that sequence of steps. We can get up, do an event, got to bed and wash, rinse, repeat. But why? Why do the same thing, over and over again? Why not find a way to be better?

That’s what this short series is going to be about. I’m borrowing (stealing really – but with his knowledge) the idea from Paul Baranay, who wrote an article entitled Entwining Experiences. The concept as defined by Paul is finding ways that our non-Magic lives can impact our Magic lives. I was immediately struck by the idea, and knew I wanted to write a short series based on this concept.

This series is going to focus training aids I’ve learned as a participant and trainer of an adult Boy Scout leader course called Wood Badge. Wood Badge is an intensive, 6-day course that takes ideas from the corporate world and remixes them into a training experience like none other. I know those who have taken the course and believe it changed their lives. I’m hoping that I can share some perspectives that I think apply to Judging — and perhaps you’ll find that by incorporating the ideas you’ll be able to get greater value out of your work with the Judge program.

This first article is going to talk about Values, Vision, and Mission. Future articles will explain SMART, EDGE, and other concepts and how you can apply them to your Judge experience.


Let’s start with an easy one. Values have been instilled in you throughout your life. When you start a task, you bring them with you. It’s not a conscious effort on your part. You’ll tell the truth. You’ll work hard. You’ll be compassionate, understanding, and helpful. All of these values and more have been instilled in you from your environment as you’ve grown to this moment in time.

Values are a key step to the road we are about to start down. You must be able to identify your unique values before we go further. Take a moment and write some down. Or list them mentally. I’ll wait…

…done? Great. In case you need some help though, here are some of my personal values: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Yes, they may be a little familiar. Remember how I said I was a Boy Scout Leader? Their value system laid out neatly in the Scout Law is a touchstone for me that I use to help define who I want to be. Sometimes I’m a little short on Courtesy. Once in a while, I’m not so great at Cheerful. And Reverent — well let’s just say it’s an area that I struggle with frequently. But personal shortcomings aside, the Scout Law is always a good starting point for me. If you need a few prompts, you could do worse than to start here.

Values are our core beliefs. They come in the form of principles, standards, personal qualities, character traits, and ethical codes. They define who you are and to a greater extent, who you will be.


Here is where we get into the detail work. If your Vision (which we’ll talk about in a moment) is a picture of future success, your Mission is a statement that defines how you will fulfill it. In other words, it is a way to describe “Why we exist.” From the Wood Badge training book, “A mission is a calling to pursue long-term objectives that typically reflect or support the core values of an individual or an organization…”

My personal expression of the Judge Program’s mission is something like this:

The purpose of the Magic: the Gathering Judge Program is to educate, train, and elevate Judges so they may offer the best possible player experience for a collectible card game.

Meanwhile, former Judge Manager Andy Heckt defined the mission of the Judge Program this way:

Our Mission: “A vibrant inclusive community of recognized tournament experts who lead welcoming, fun, and fair events for Magic Players.”

Our Vision: “To be the valued bridge between players, organizers, stores and Wizards of the Coast.”

Our Strategy: “Create exceptional leaders, experts, and diplomats who have a passion for Magic the Gathering.”

Simple, right? As a Judge, your personal Mission might end up looking like this, but more focused on either your current level or judging experiences.

Your mission should be one that recognizes your Values. It doesn’t have to be unique. It simply needs to express who you are and what you want to accomplish.


Now that we have values and a mission, what are we going to do with them? Sure, they can just tag along as we get into one mess after another. Or, perhaps, we can put them to work.

A Vision is a picture of future success. It’s what we see we can achieve. It doesn’t have to be limited by we can do as individuals. Some of the best Visions incorporate teams of people working towards a common goal. Your Judge Vision will be an individual declaration or one that defines a group – depending on who you are and almost more importantly where you are in the program.

I can’t tell you what your Vision should look like as a Judge. I can tell you it should be short, simple, and precise. Perhaps sharing my current Vision though will be a good starting point for you. Mine current Judge Vision is, “I want to be a Judge who is trusted to be honest, knowledgeable and helpful.”

Going Forward

The next step in our journey is to look at the use of SMART. In the Wood Badge Course, something called the Ticket is normally discussed next. I want to turn that on its head a little — because I think a proper foundation in what makes a Goal SMART helps us significantly when we get to the Ticket. So until next time, work on you your Mission and Vision until you have something that you feel you can share with your RC, Project Lead, or Head Judge. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the thought you put into them.

Make sure to check back for the next article in this series on Friday!