Exemplar Highlights Project

Welcome to the Exemplar Highlights Project!

Hello! My name is Nicolette Apraez, and I am a Level 2 Judge from the Atlanta Metro area in Georgia (USA-Southeast Region). A little over a year ago, I made the decision to start a temporary series called #KeepingitLit on my Facebook page. I had some experience with Exemplar prior to that, but was not particularly active and hadn’t thought much about the program and why it existed. Reading through the recognitions of judges in (and out of) my region made me proud to know and call those judges my friends, mentors, and colleagues. I wanted to share that feeling with those around me, and point out what great examples those judges were setting for the other judges in the community. However, it’s not just the USA-Southeast region that is kicking behinds and taking names! There are judges around the world doing great things, and I want to increase the visibility of those exemplary behaviors.

So, Welcome to the Exemplar Highlights Project! Before we get into this Exemplar Wave’s article, I wanted to give everyone a little more information on what you can expect from this project, and what my goals for this project are. For more information on how to help your region, or join this project, just keep reading. I’d say skip to the final section, but that would be sad and you’d miss all the fun.

I have three main goals for this series:

1. Highlight the exemplary behaviors that judges around the world are exhibiting
2. Encourage others to start their own Highlights Blog in their area/Region
3. Give readers examples of and clues to what are considered “good” recognitions

So what makes a recognition “good”?

If you haven’t read it, Bryan Prillaman put out a wonderful guideline on how to write recognitions. You can find it here. While it goes into deeper explanation of the qualities and has a ton of examples (Seriously, consider re-reading it before each wave, it’s a great resource to keep you on track), the jist of the advice is:

Be Specific
Make Sure it’s Praiseworthy
Be Relevant
Represent the Judge Community in a Positive Light

Another thing to note is that Wave 8 closes January 31st . If you haven’t done so already, submit your recognitions now. Well, go read his article, then come back and finish this article, then go submit your recognitions! 

With that in mind, let’s get started! In this article, I’m going to be paying tribute to a few of those judges who currently highlight Exemplar recognitions through blogs or posts in their own areas.

Alex Smith (L2, Michigan)
Alex Smith (L2, Michigan)

Alexander Smith runs the Exemplar Spotlight on the USA – Great Lakes Blog Page. Want to check it out? You can find his latest installment here

Ben Sturtz’s (L2, Ohio) recognition of Alexander Smith (L2, Michigan) in Wave 7:

Ben Sturtz (L2, Ohio)
Ben Sturtz (L2, Ohio)

“Alex, our discussion of my handling of our SCG Regionals deck check team was very honest and thoughtful. I appreciate your advice on differentiating simply completing required tasks versus doing so while leaving a lasting impression for a given team or event. Your honesty and advice were catalytic in my identification that I should be developing my own personal leadership style. Thank you!”

What’s great about this recognition?

  • Be Specific: Ben is recognizing Alex for a specific action that happened at an event. He doesn’t just mention Alex gave him some advice, he tells him (and us) what that advice was and why it was so impactful.
  • Be Relevant: Alex’s leadership style and focus at that event encouraged Ben to work on developing his own leadership style, which is something that every judge should strive to do.

David de la Inglesia (L3, Qatar)
David de la Inglesia (L3, Qatar)

David de la Inglesia takes his own approach to Highlighting Exemplar recognitions. On his blog Path to Exile he posts an article each wave containing the judges he decided to recognize. Let’s take a look at one of the judges he recognized from Wave 7:

David de la Inglesia’s (L3, Qatar) Wave 7 recognition of Eleonora Windler (L1, Switzerland):

Eleonora Windler (L1, Switzerland)
Eleonora Windler (L1, Switzerland)

“You showed great initiative by contacting me directly to offer your help in correcting the German translation for the DQ process page, and on top of that your responsiveness to deliver results was impressive. Thanks so much!”

What’s great about this nomination?

  • Be Relevant: DLI doesn’t waste any time or space going into a long narrative about what the email said (she already knows and it’s not relevant to why he’s recognizing her).
  • Represent: This recognition shows readers that L1s can truly make a difference in the Global Judge community. Eleonora reached out to someone outside of her Region with a plan and purpose, and then followed through to execute that plan. This proactive attitude is great to see in L1s and I hope that others look to emulate her in the future.

René Oberweger (Austria, L2)
René Oberweger (L2, Austria)

René Oberweger runs an Exemplar Highlights series on the German Speak Countries’ Blog. Not only do the articles share exemplars coming from within the region and abroad, but in instances where the nominations were not written in German, he translated them to make them more accessible to the judges in his region. Check out his last installment here!

Violet Edgar’s (L2, Germany) Wave 7 Recognition of René Oberweger (Austria, L2):

Violet Edgar (L2, Germany)
Violet Edgar (L2, Germany)

“Hi René, I appreciate how much you’ve done in the name of diversity for Magic judging. I thank you for spearheading, with Isa, the distribution of rainbow flag buttons for GP Stockholm in conjunction with Pride week, and continuing that at GP Madrid. People among the LGBT+ minority may often feel that the judges don’t have their backs, and promoting this kind of visibility is a big step towards making Magic a safe and inclusive place for everyone. Keep up the good work!”

What’s great about this recognition?

  • Praiseworthy: Violet recognized René for something that occurred at an event she attended, and for helping with a cause she feels strongly about. The personal thank you shows René that his work is very much appreciated, and explains why his actions are important.
  • Be Relevant: Violet pointed out how René’s actions affected not only herself, but the other judges and players at the event, and the MTG community as a whole.

Erik Aliff (L2, Virginia)
Erik Aliff (L2, Virginia)

Erik Aliff runs an Exemplar of the Day on his Region’s Slack, a portal used for communication and discussions between judges within the USA – Mid-Atlantic region. Let’s see what one of his peers said about him:

Bryan Henning’s (Virginia, L2) recognition of Erik Aliff (L2, Virginia) in Wave 7:

Bryan Henning (Virginia, L2)
Bryan Henning (Virginia, L2)

“Erik, I wanted to commend you for your dedication to the community of judges and efforts to improve all of us. From the simple effort of sitting down with me after SCG Regionals, to your articles for the Feedback loop and your dedication to the Exemplar of The Day on Slack, you are a consistent voice providing advice and support to the region and inspiration to me personally.”

What’s great about this recognition?

  • Be Specific: Bryan explains why he felt compelled to give the recognition. He gives details and examples of his support and dedication to the community.
  • Praiseworthy: Not only does Bryan tell Erik that he is inspired by him, but he also gives an example of a time when Erik’s dedication and efforts affected him personally.

Next, I’d like to take a moment to show why Highlight Blogs are good for the community. Eder Carvalho and Nicolau Maldonado started a series on the Magic Judge Brazil Blog. Here’s what they have to say about their new project, which can be found here:

Eder Carvalho (L2, Brazil)
Eder Carvalho (L2, Brazil)
Nicolau Maldonado (L2, Brazil)
Nicolau Maldonado (L2, Brazil)

In Portuguese:

“O intuito deste projeto é destacar alguns feitos bacanas que foram reconhecidos durante as Waves do Programa Exemplar – ações, iniciativas, comportamentos… Aquele esforço extra que foi feito por alguém, que fez o dia de alguém melhor, que ajudou uma comunidade a ser melhor, que fez um torneio ser melhor executado, que possibilitou alguém aprender algo novo, descobrir algo, e assim dar mais visibilidade a estas ações e comportamentos, buscando inspirar mais pessoas .”

Translated to English:

“The purpose of this project is to highlight some cool successes that were recognized during Waves of the Exemplar Program – actions, initiatives, behaviors. That extra effort by someone who made the day of someone better, who helped a community to be better, that made a tournament run better, or that made it possible for someone to learn or discover something new, and thus to give more visibility to these actions and behaviors, seeking to inspire more people.”

“NICOLETTE, THIS LOOKS AWESOME!” (You exclaim with excitement) “So, how can I help?!”

Nicolette Apraez (L2, Georgia) nicolettemapraez@gmail.com
Nicolette Apraez (L2, Georgia)
  • Submit awesome Exemplar Recognitions! (Don’t forget the wave closes January 31st!)
  • Ask your local blog/poster if they need any additional help! (Daily posts can be very hard to keep up on and having another person to split responsibility means they won’t have to worry about finding a way to post while they are flying to a foreign Grand Prix or chaperoning their son’s school dance.  
  • Don’t have a local project? START ONE! Many regions use FB, Slack, or have a community blog. Not sure where to start? Feel free to contact me for help. Below you can find a list of the current regional highlights projects we are aware of. Did we miss yours? Let us know so we can add you to our records! 
  • Spoiler Alert! I do not speak every language on Earth. Since my goal is to highlight judges from around the world, I could certainly use some help! This might mean picking out or helping to translate recognitions that are not in English, contacting a nominating judge for additional information about a particularly interesting or positive nomination, or simply letting me bounce ideas off you from time to time!

List of Exemplar Highlights Projects:

Area Lead Link to Blog
Europe – East Georgi Benev http://blogs.magicjudges.org/europeeast/category/recognitions/
German Speaking Countries Rene Oberweger http://blogs.magicjudges.org/deatch/herausragendes-exemplar-exemplar-highlights-welle-6/
USA – Great Lakes Alex Smith http://blogs.magicjudges.org/greatlakes/2017/01/16/exemplar-wave-7-spotlight-christopher-byrne/
USA – Southwest Vicente Davis http://blogs.magicjudges.org/southwest/2017/01/11/exemplar-highlights-ryan-koenig-and-joshua-wiitanen/
USA – Mid Atlantic Erik Aliff Available on Slack
Australia Gareth Pye  Video Blog/Podcast Chatter of Judges http://chatterof.mtgjudg.es/
USA – Central Nick Gajary Recognitions on Facebook / Slack
Brazil Eder Carvalho and Nicolau Maldonado http://blogs.magicjudges.org/brasil/2017/01/23/destaques-da-wave-7-do-exemplar/