Exemplar Wave 5 Highlights – Development of Other Judges

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series of highlighted exemplar recognitions. See our introduction post for all the details, or view all the posts in this series. This article was written by Western Massachusetts Area Rep Chris Cahill.

One of the most important aspects of the judge program is the mentoring of other judges and judge candidates. As a group, one of our best tools to improve our judging skills is to pass our knowledge and observations on to each other. To that end, the following recognitions exemplify how various types of mentoring serve as models for what we can all do to help each other get better over time.

Louis, as mentioned, I really appreciated the ‘Token game’ you initiated. It gave the whole event some unity and gave me an ‘excuse’ to talk with everybody on the staff. It is definitely a team-building exercise that I’m going to ‘borrow’ for my own events in the future.

Many times, events with lots of players and several judges can end up with a sense of each judge being a ship, passing by the other judges, but not feeling like a cohesive group. Jonah Kellman recognised an excellent innovation that Louis brought to an event that both allowed for education (the point of the game was to ask policy and rules questions that encouraged thought and discussion amongst the staff) and to make those judges feel less like ships passing in the night and more like a cohesive team.

At GP DC I was the day 2 team lead for the Slips team, and Nicola was assigned to be my mentor/watcher/safety valve. Going into the day I was not sure what to expect in terms of feedback. Not only did Nicola give me a tremendous amount of valuable feedback throughout the day, he had SEVEN PAGES of it to give me at the end of the day in a marathon debrief session. To me that is far more than was expected, and I got a great amount of value from it. Thank you, Nicola, for taking so much time to help me get better!

Oftentimes when we think of “Judge Development”, we naturally think of newer judges or judge candidates. Experienced judges need development too, however, and Chris Lansdell’s recommendation of Nicola DiPasquale exemplifies this. Chris has been an active and involved judge for quite some time, and GP: DC was his second day 2 team lead. Often, the longer we’ve been in the program, the less feedback we receive, but Nicola provided not only valuable feedback, but a tremendous amount of it. He also took the time necessary to deliver this feedback in person to ensure that Chris could utilize it to the fullest.

Josh, You’ve done a great job of working to create new judges in your remote area. Running judge classes is an excellent way to train new judges, but in inviting players you’ve not only worked to create new judges but improve the player judge relationship. Keep up the good work!

Jarrod Williams brings us to another aspect of development that is sometimes overlooked: inviting players in. Josh lives in central PA, which to anyone who is familiar with the region, is a space with relatively few judges compared to the need. Even before making level 2, Josh spent significant time training judge candidates to help improve the saturation in his area, but as this rec points out, he didn’t restrict those classes only to those interested in becoming level 1, but also made sure to invite players both to increase their rules and policy knowledge, but also to foster the idea that judges and players do not need to be in conflict with one another.

Jonah, you gave me one of the most powerful pieces of feedback I’ve gotten recently, at our Newington event in February this year. Your feedback that my head-judging felt fine, but didn’t feel like Mani (I’m paraphrasing) was very real – but it is just one example of many. We went on that day to have a lengthy conversation of different styles of observing judges and providing feedback at events. That was also helpful for me, but I was more impressed by the fact that you were seriously and earnestly considering what I was saying as well – you weren’t simply teaching me: we were learning, and discussing, and working things out, together. This recognition highlights just these few examples of the value that comes from your earnest engagement with others in the program. Every time I see you on staff for an event, I always think, “Who can we put with Jonah?” Keep it up.

Mani Cavalieri’s recommendation of Jonah Kellman brings us to another important aspect of developing other judges: developing yourself at the same time. We often think of feedback as a one way street, from reviewer to subject. As Mani points out, though, a truly meaningful discussion involves communication in both directions. The ability to talk through the feedback, and take some in return, is a wonderful skill to foster, and both people come out better for it in the end.

Our ability to communicate and teach each other is the bedrock on which our organization is built. The ability to help another judge, or candidate, or player to better themselves makes all of us stronger. The above rec’s are just some of the ways in which judges in the Northeast have done that. Keep up the great work!

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