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Forums —» General Caching —» General —» BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!!
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BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!!
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boomerangpapa



Joined: Apr 25, 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Ashcroft, BC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

To everyone who is concerned,

This is regarding the concerns people have had regarding the iPods for the BlueSky project.

From my understanding, BC parks wanted the contest for the stories and recommended iPods for the prizes (probably because its one of the most popular things going!). We did entertain the idea of Geomate Jr's instead as we thought it would suit the program a bit more but after some research we found out that at that time they were only available with U.S. caches. So we agreed that the iPod would work out well to as that is what BC Parks had recommended in the first place. The cost came out of the contract money as it was part of the contract. The whole contest/prize thing was part of the contract and had to be done.

IMO, when the BCGA takes on a contract to do a project with someone like BC Parks, it is the Directors place to get it done and present the final package to the membership. Every single detail about everything that is done does NOT have to be advertised to the membership all the time (not to say that it can't be requested but just saying what really is the use of having an executive if you have to explain yourself to death in the forums for every detail!) Again, my opinion and not the official BCGA's position, is we have been micromanaged from the outside all year. I do not mind the occasional comment or question from the membership asking what is happening but when we are constantly hounded like we are always in the wrong it really starts to weigh down on us, well...at least me (I'm sure there are some of you with the "man up" comments ready to go, easy to bark from your back row seats) Haven't the many resignations this year given anyone a clue? Keep in mind this is VOLUNTEER!. I know I decided to do this because I thought this would be a great experience to meet new people and work with the BCGA to bring on great things to caching in BC. We have made a beautiful coin this year (yes it was late but with all the scrutiny and not to mention the fact that most of us were new to the whole process the outcome was great anyway!), the Bluesky project with BC Parks (never a bad idea), the Blitz (which turned out well too!) and I have met tons of really great people along the way which I am so happy about!

To address some of the other recent concerns:

Q: I think the term of a director should be limited to 2 or 3 years. We have increased membership at least 10 fold in the last 3 years and we had many different people put their names
forward at the last AGM. I think it would be great to get new people involved with the BCGA.

A: We talked about this one in our last meeting and decided that it's hard enough to get volunteers in the first place so to limit who can run and how many times would not be in the best
of the BCGA. Besides, that's what the elections are for, if you want someone new, then vote for them!

Q: The second one is that any member who has a business interest or possible business interest with the BCGA should not allowed to be a director. I think this would go a long way to dealing
with the conflict of issue and perceived conflict of issue problems.

A: We also talked about this one at the last meeting. It was agreed that there has been a problem in the past however that most organizations have a Conflict Of Interest policy that
they follow which up to this point the BCGA did not have. We are drafting a C.O.I policy and will be recommending them shortly.


Keep in mind, these are VOLUNTEER positions and we all have our own lives as well. We do the best we can with what we have. Our saving grace for the website was that Albert picked up the knowledge pretty quick into the site (until he was driven out by the politics) and of course Canadian Bacon who...well....saved our bacon when Albert left and helped the whole time anyway! We in turn are trying to make an operations type manual to help out the next group as best as we can but with all of the resignations, that too will also be beaten down into a short form due to losing half the starting directors and their contribution.

I am quite disappointed at the whole attitude of some of the members as when something bad happens there are doggy doo loads of comments of disapproval compared to good comments when good things happen. Some constructive criticism goes a long way compared to destructive criticism!

I would like to thank the few people that do have the positive comments as those are the comments that make it good to still be on the board! This organization has a lot of learning and growing up to do when it comes to being a healthy, positive place and maybe then will people realize that you can't have a functional organization with so much negativity.

If you don't like what you see this year then I urge you to run to become an exec member. Stop just sitting from the sidelines hurling comments of disapproval. It's too easy to comment from the outside, if you really care then you'll stand up and take the opportunity to help fix it yourself!

Brian


Last edited by boomerangpapa on Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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geodug



Joined: Apr 13, 2004
Posts: 161

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

I know from experience and understand your pain. As a former Director of BCGA, I lived through what you are going through now. I called upon my experience with executive positions I enjoyed with other groups both professional and societal for guidance.

I remember two disparate groups in BCGA who didn't like each other in a very intense way. We tried to act as intermediary and keep each group from killing the other. The net effect was that each side insisted we were puppets of the other side. No serious problem, we acted as even-handedly as possible, using the constitution, by-laws, society act and most of all common sense to get through each problem.

It is important to be transparent. The Directors are elected by the membership to apply leadership skills to exercise the will of that same membership. If what you are doing cannot pass the test of the clear light of day, then you are not doing it right. That goes for secrets too. How can you have secrets from the members? Simple answer, you cannot unless there is a particular, definable reason why. For example, there may be very specific legal reasons. Sometimes, officers hide behind this to excuse their every action. It is a mistake to abuse that option.

Yes it would be nice to have more of the members compliment the Directors on decisions or policies they approve of. However, it is also the role of the members to voice their opinions when they disapprove. It does seem that you hear more bad news than good news but that comes with the territory. Sometimes the negative comments are not deserved. It's how you deal with all of this that makes the difference during your term.

One of the past presidents of BCGA asked me before running for advice. My advice was to grow a thick skin and not take anything too seriously.

An example of bad decision making is the HST controversy in BC. I have never voted NDP in BC so you can guess how I voted in the last election. Before introducing this tax change, the government properly should have consulted the public . They should have detailed exactly how it would impact every demographic group in this province and convince us why we should be happy to have it. They did none of this and deserve all the criticism they are now getting. In the final analysis, the tax may be a good thing but what they have done so far is wrong and I have yet to be convinced on the matter.

In summary, let's review what Directors should be doing to make their terms a good experience. The Directors are elected by the membership to apply leadership skills to exercise the will of that same membership.
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Doonchak



Joined: Sep 07, 2008
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:34 pm    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

What Geodug said is pretty much spot on.

Leading large groups of people, especially people that you don't always personally know, tends to suck. Finding a balance between being transparent and actually getting things done is very difficult, but it is one of the keys to getting support from the membership.

There will always be a group of folks that will never be happy...yes...you know who you are Evil or Very Mad however, for the most part, people will accept mistakes and problems, but only if you are upfront with them.

For example, the coin issues. The delay was frustrating for alot of people, however, for most, it was the lack of information that was frustrating. When stuff like that happens, the appearance to the membership is that either:
A - The directors are hiding something
or
B - They don't care about our questions and are ignoring us.

I doubt either of those is true, but that can be how it comes across.

Now, given that I have no intention at this time of stepping into the BCGA ring on the directors side (young kids and start-up businesses have a way of eating up all your time Smack ) take this suggestion for what it's worth.

My professional background is in videogames...everyone finished laughing? (other then Mr Turbos of course Beanie ). Specifically, online games that have large communities of people very passionate about their games...really, not that much different then the community we have here.

Over the last few years, it has become apparent that each game we make NEEDS a community manager. Someone who interfaces on a regular basis with the consumers/gamers who are purchasing this product. Their job is to relay information, take feedback and generally serve as a liaison between the people making the game and the folks who actually play it.

Now, I realize that this is a different situation. No one is getting paid here and we are not really 'paying' anything for this service, but having a position on the directorate that specifically focuses on community management might help to create that transparency that the members want, and provide an avenue for feedback that isn't based on board-flaming the entire BCGA directors group. This frees up most of the group to go on making the decisions and driving process/product while still allowing for the back and forth that should always be involved in any sort of democratic system. The CM could do something like a weekly update on what is going on, put out the newsletter, run website polls on future BCGA initiatives...stuff like that. Forum visibility would also be important...nothing frustrates members more then asking a question they feel is important and not getting a response for days/weeks.

Now I imagine that this is already expected to be a part of every directors job, but I do think that having one main person as the contact would help to streamline that communication.

Just my Two Cents and I will now get off my Soapbox but I hope that the idea is given some serious thought as I do think it will help to not only provide an avenue for comments back to the directorite, but also provide the membership with more information on the amount of work that directorite is actually doing.

Thoughts?
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boomerangpapa



Joined: Apr 25, 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Ashcroft, BC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

Doonchak wrote:
but having a position on the directorate that specifically focuses on community management might help to create that transparency that the members want, and provide an avenue for feedback that isn't based on board-flaming the entire BCGA directors group. This frees up most of the group to go on making the decisions and driving process/product while still allowing for the back and forth that should always be involved in any sort of democratic system. The CM could do something like a weekly update on what is going on, put out the newsletter, run website polls on future BCGA initiatives...stuff like that. Forum visibility would also be important...nothing frustrates members more then asking a question they feel is important and not getting a response for days/weeks.

I like this VERY much! Great idea! I will make sure that I recommend this to the board and that we throw it into our manual for the future exec as well! Great feedback! THanx!
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SOLONM



Joined: Apr 12, 2008
Posts: 125

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

seems to me that we are having fun (are we not??) playing a game.
there is no room for personal nor political gain is there???
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scruffster



Joined: Sep 29, 2004
Posts: 1207
Location: Burnaby

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

I don't believe there is any political gain to be won through working on the BCGA board of directors other than the networking involved with the job. As a past past director, I've seen the good and bad that comes out of a volunteer position. I got headaches galore, but I also gained friends. The good eventually outweighs the bad.

On the issue of personal gain, there is a possibility that conflict of interest may arise. Here is an example...

When I was on the board, two directors owned geocaching related stores -- the only two stores in BC at the time. It would have been very convenient to buy product from those stores for Photo Contests, Blitz prizes etc. But it really wasn't an option as it would look like we were padding certain director's pockets with the BCGA membership's money. For that reason, BCGA prizes were primarily bought at retail outlets, garnered through donations and elsewhere.

Even if there would have been no direct conflict of interest purchasing items from a director's store, there may have been the perception. And the perception of conflict of interest is just as dangerous to the BCGA as if it was an intentional act. Nothing can hurt a society more than a scandal.

It is good to hear that the BCGA is working on a COI policy. I'd suggest if a director owns a business and wishes to do business with the BCGA, all goods must be at cost. Services must be volunteer. In that way there is absolutely no profit made by a director with the membership's money. It would indeed be a sacrifice to the director's business but a small sacrifice since directors only run for one or two years anyway. The director always has the option not to do business with the BCGA if they feel it is not worth their while.

This may sound strict but I believe it is fair. There are BCGA directors and members alike who have collectively put tens of thousands of hours of their personal expertise into the BCGA through computer programming, website development, artwork, promotional activities, etc, and have asked for nothing in return. I don't think it is too much to ask that business owners do the same.
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_canadianbacon_



Joined: Jan 05, 2004
Posts: 1154
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

In regards to the iPod give-aways, I fully understood that this was driven by BC Parks & Bluesky and was their money, not the BCGA's. I hope to see more partnerships like this in the future, it's great for our community and gives our sport a wider profile, exactly what the association is supposed to do.

_________________
~~~~ _CanadianBacon_~~~~
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doingitoldschool



Joined: Jan 07, 2008
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: BlueSky/iPod concerns and then some!! Reply with quote

As a pastor, I'm well aware of what it is like to serve a diverse group of people, and how it feels when a silent majority is drowned out by a few agenda driven complainers.

There are complaints, and then there are "complaints". I myself have posted a complaint on these boards recently, and found that it was handled with class and aplomb. I would only hope that complaints, when made, are made for the common good and with a solution in mind, and not for the sake of crass disagreement and accusation.

As for terms, I would hate to see the great work of some cut short by mandatory term retirements; there is something to be said for momentum, and the networking that takes place when some good people are in place for a while.

All for now - I'm being called to help make some jelly.
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