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Running for the Board PDF Print E-mail

I was elected!

Thanks everyone!


I've decided to take the plunge and run for a position on the Ultimate Players Association Board of Directors. I will be using this page as a central repository for information about my candidacy. Over the next month I plan on engaging as many Ultimate communities as I can in conversations about what I can do for them and I will be posting summaries of my discussions on this page.


- Josh Seamon


What is the UPA's BOD?
What the UPA's Nominating Committee has to say
How to vote and voting rules
My Candidate Statement
More information about me
Questions and Answers


Here's what the UPA says about its BOD:


 

A board of directors (BOD) is one requirement for non-profit status and is mandated by the UPA bylaws. The board of directors consists of 12 member-elected representatives, who each serve three-year terms. Six of the 12 positions are for regional representatives and six are at-large positions. Four board positions (two of each) open each year. Current UPA members in good standing may vote in the fall election each year.

The BOD meets each January to conduct required business, typically on the 3-day MLK weekend. Members are invited to RSVP to attend the member's meeting held then. In addition, the Executive Committee holds conference calls throughout the year and there is a full board conference call each summer. A strategic planning meeting is held in every three years.

Some of board's main activities include setting UPA policy by officially adopting visionary proposals; hiring and oversight of an executive director to be responsible for headquarters, staff, and UPA operations; fiscal responsibility including passing an annual budget; nominating responsible future board members; and representing the membership's desires for the future of the sport.

You can read more about the UPA's Board of Directors right here.



Here's what the UPA Nominating Committee has to say:

The UPA Board of Directors oversees the UPA by setting policy and defining strategy. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the organization achieves its mission.

The board is responsible for ensuring that the organization is working in the best interests of all our members. The most effective tool the board has to protect the interests of the members is our ability to set policy on issues facing the organization. The board’s other tool for protecting members’ interests is the long-term strategy for organization.

With that in mind, the Nominating Committee presents to you the candidates for the 2007 election (2008-2010 term). You, the members, have the important opportunity and responsibility of electing the board members who will oversee the operation and steer the course of direction for the Ultimate Players Association. It is important that you read the candidates’ statements. They include the expertise each candidate would bring to your Board of Directors and the directions they would push for.

Sincerely,
The UPA Nominating Committee

All of the candidate statement can be found right here.



How to vote and voting rules:

Only current UPA members may vote. To vote, log in to your online account and click the voting link on your member account page. If you are already logged in, click here to vote. Please note that only those members whose UPA address is within that region may vote for candidates within that region.

Results of the election are scheduled for announcement in mid November, with time to count mailed-in ballots, screen for duplicate votes, and verify results. Voting Rules: You may change your online vote any time between now and midnight October 31st, 2007. Online ballot changes simply overwrite your previous ballot. Changes through other means are not available due to resource constraints and will not be considered. If both a paper and online vote are received for any member, the online vote will be counted and the paper ballot discarded.

You DO NOT have to be 18 to vote.



My Candidate Statement:

Josh SeamonIn the past five years I've gone from founding the first St. Johnsbury Academy Ultimate team in St. Johnsbury, VT, to coaching and coordinating an SJA Ultimate program consisting of varsity and JV girls' and boys' teams. Next spring, we plan to host 32 high school teams at our 4th annual home tournament. Two years ago, I founded the Vermont Youth Ultimate League. In the summer I keep busy by coordinating and coaching teams at the YCCs, and working at several Ultimate camps (SJA ad NUTC). I am actively involved in the Ultimate world 10 months out of the year.

For the past two years, I have traveled around New England running UPA level I coaching clinics, and for the last year I have been a member of the UPA's Women's Outreach Committee. I am the UPA's State Youth Coordinator for Vermont and the New England Youth Commissioner for the Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance.

Before diving head first into the role of Ultimate coach and coordinator, I spent 5 years playing Mixed Club Ultimate in New England. In college I captained the Claremont Braineaters and in high school I played for the Amherst Hurricanes.

Over the past 14 years I have spent time in the Ultimate world as a player, captain, coach, coordinator, web master, league manager, fund raiser, recruiter, and spectator. I am a social person who loves meeting new people, and through each of these different functions I have come to feel as though I have a deep connection with the US Ultimate community. It is this connection that I would leverage in my time on the UPA's Board of Directors by voicing the opinions of the many people I have worked with in the Ultimate community.

I absolutely adore the work I do in the Ultimate world and would like to expand my work to the national level. I passionately believe in the positive role Ultimate plays in so many people's lives. I feel that as a member of the Board of Directors of the UPA, I would be able to help introduce that positive role to more people than I have been able to reach in New England. As a member of the UPA's BOD, I would work towards three immediate goals. First, I would like to see youth Ultimate continue to grow as fast as it has been for the past 5 years. I believe that a vibrant youth Ultimate community is the key to the growth of college and club Ultimate. Second, I would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of women playing Ultimate, ideally so that there is an equal number of men and women playing the sport. Third, I would like the UPA to work towards a more powerful online presence that integrates seamlessly into the lives of players and the functionality of leagues. These are just three of the many things I would work towards.

If you'd like to ask me any questions, feel free to contact me at .




More information about me:

You can read all about my life as a teacher right here and my life in the ultimate world right here.



Questions and Answers

Can you describe your vision for the UPA's online presense?
What are your feelings about aligning the collegiate competition with the NCAA?
What are your thoughts on the structure of competition from a tournament style competition to individual game structure?
What's it like having Seamon as last name?
What's your opinion on the overlap between local leagues and the UPA?
What is your opinion on the UPA requiring shorts to have numbers at championship-level events?
How would you reach out to get the best/most accurate needs and wants assessment of the upa membership at large in the most efficient, effective and cost effective manner?

 

Pittsburgh Ultimate forum thread (right here)

 


Q: Can you desribe your vision for the UPA's online presence?

A: When people think of the UPA website I want them to feel impressed. Right now the site does not have much of a welcoming feel, many things are hard to find, and there is not much to regularly bring visitors back to the site. Even though there is a wealth of information and functionality on the site, the experience of using the site isn't very smooth.

In designing a new online presence I would first focus on fixing what's already there. First, there has to be a better way of presenting the massive amount of information that upa.org contains. Even though I visit the site all the time, I still find it hard to find certain items. I do not know exactly what the breakdown would be, but I would like to work with a group of people to come up with something new.

Second, as the UPA is already doing, I would like to examine the online rostering system. Don't get me wrong, I actually really like the existing system, but there are lots of people out there that have problems with it all the time. I think a big part of those problems have to do with people not being familiar with how the system works, but there may be a way to smooth the whole system out some more.

Third, I would like UPA.org to be a forge that brings together all of the various sources of Ultimate information. For example there is the tournament list right here and the RRI tournament list right here. Then there are the tournaments that are just listed on RSD. I want the UPA.org to host the be all end all tournament/event list that is actively populated by many people.

Fourth, I want there to be more of a reason for people to come back to the site. I want to see a massive media gallery built in to upa.org -- Something like a free version of UltiVillage along with a spectacularly huge image gallery. Along the lines of having a reason to come back, I want the UPA to host it's own forums. I love how each ultimate community has its own forum, but I want the upa to host the most active one, or at least one that can replace the need for my favorite (sarcasm) all-time repository of Ultimate knowledge -- RSD. Right now upa.org is mainly just a basic information site -- it has deep info, but nothing interactive. I want fresh content. I want the UPA magazine published online.

Lastly -- and this relates to many of the points above -- I want the site to look nice. I want clean, simply, and utilitarian.

These are not easy things to change -- They will require money, and that's one thing Ultimate players have a weird view on. How many times have yo heard something like, "I want the UPA to do this, and this, or this, or this." right along with, "Why they heck are they charging me $40!".

Note: I do realize that people have very legitimate reasons for not liking the membership fees, but that's another issue that I'd be happy to address if someone would like me to.

All I'm talking about is... a better web presence is going to required a solid amount of cold hard cash. It cannot be another volunteer project. What's online now, while functional, is undocumented, unscalable, and unstable. A system needs to be designed that can handle the continued growth of the sport.


 

Q: What are your feelings about aligning the collegiate competition with the NCAA?

A: I think aligning collegiate competition with the NCAA is absolutely something that should be explored in depth. At the moment I really don't know enough of the specifics to be able to come to any serious conclusions, but I certainly think it's something that should be explored. Reading over the criteria on that page, it is clear that womens college Ultimate could certainly make a run for 'emergent status'.

I've heard lots of heated debate about this topic -- Lots of people absolutely do not want an organization like the NCAA telling Ultimate players what to do. I'm really not sure how much that worries me since if Ultimate becomes an NCAA sport, there can always also be club teams. This is similar to the idea of refs in Ultimate -- Just because they are used on one level doesn't mean that have to be used on all levels.

Honestly I would be really interested in finding out what it would be like to have Ultimate be an NCAA sport. I wonder if any serious discussion has been had between the UPA and the NCAA on the issue?

I think Ultimate players are conditioned to feel like they have to build a system every time they want to do something new, or grow to a new level. Seeing what the NCAA might be able to do for the sport of Ultimate is a new way of approaching growth and one that could potentially be a huge boost to the sport.


 

Q: What are your thoughts on the structure of competition from a tournament style competition to individual game structure?

A: Way up here in Northern Vermont we're pretty far away from... well, everything. What this means is that while we do have a couple teams within 1.5 hours that we can go play, the majority of our travel times are 3 hours in each direction. With those kinds of numbers, single games are particularly feasible, especially when we can travel the same amount and play 5-6 games in a weekend. What this has translated into is that 95% of our games over the past 5 years have been at tournaments. This also means we play a huge number of games -- Last season my girls played 39 games and my boys played 37.

After being so conditioned for tournament play at SJA, I've taken that to every team I have coached since then.... and I have come to LOVE tournament style competitions... BUT I think that is almost entirely because of my geographic isolation and my burning desire to have my teams play as many games as possible.

If I lived down in MA I am sure I would be taking my teams to as many single games as we could manage... AND... as many tournaments as well. If I was in an area with enough teams close enough together to run regular games, that would mean we could also run regular tournaments.

So, I guess what I am getting at is that I don't see the two styles of competition being mutually exclusive. If I could design my dream schedule it would be a weekday single game every Wednesday, a single day tournament every other Saturday, and a weekend long tournament every other weekend.

I know that there are many very successful and happy leagues that play lots of single games and a few tournaments. I guess I just wouldn't be able to give up the efficiency of weekend tournaments. I live for them. I love them. I actually spend too much time at them I think icon_wink.gif

At this point in my life every time I see a field of any kind I mentally map out Ultimate fields and calculate what kind of tournament I could run on the site. icon_wink.gif

Bottom line: I think each league/team needs to do what suits each league/team.

 

 

 

Maine Youth Ultimate mailing list thread (right here)

Portmouth, NH mailing list thread (right here)

 

Burlington, VT mailing list thread (right here)

 

DiscNW forum thread (right here)

 



Q: For most of us in the Seattle, the UPA is a little bit of an afterthought. I've played about 30 tournaments the last 3 years, and never would have had to join the UPA except for sectionals. The Washington/BC section only had 6 teams at co-ed sectionals this year. A huge part of the reason is the $40 UPA dues. Having to pay the $40 dues for one tournament really sucks.

A: That is certainly a very reasonable concern. You're touching on two things really: 1) How should the UPA interact with large disc organization that provide many of the same services to their local constituents that the UPA would like to provide and 2) (very related to 1) Different people get a different 'value' to joining the UPA. For some people the membership fee seems like a small amount to pay for all the UPA tournaments they attend, and then there are a bunch of people just like you that play in one or two a year and it seems like way too much. I have not been a part of any board meetings, but would imagine this issue is one that is discussed all the time. The UPA does do its best to try and have variable rates for joining, and there are now discount rates ($11 and $22) for new members, for the rest of the year, if it's the first time the join. I know this doesn't apply to you since you've played before, but there is some effort to have a variable join rate. Also, for some events there is the option of the one-time-event fee ($5).

I think one possible solution is exactly what frisbeejohnson brought up -- "It seems to me that local orgs like discnw could work with the UPA to make membership in their org cover UPA as well." I think that is definitely something that should be explored. It certainly covers several locations with large leagues. I'm involved with BUDA out here on the east coast and on top of reducing the cost, some kind of combined insurance coverage would reduce paperwork, something I know LOTS of people would LOVE smile


 

RSD post (right here)

Q: What is your opinion on the UPA requiring shorts to have numbers at championship-level events?

A: I think the UPA requiring numbers on shorts at championship level events is perfectly reasonable. As they say in their FAQ:

Q. Why do we have to get numbers on our shorts as well as our jerseys (College Championships and Club Championships only)?
A. It is important to be able to identify players from the front as well as the back. For example, many of the best Ultimate pictures are from the front, where you can't see jersey numbers.

Along those lines:

Q. Why does the UPA have uniform requirements?
A. The UPA Championships have importance beyond just the competing teams. These events present an opportunity to promote the sport, which is one of the missions of the UPA. Towards that end, non-players (including observers, photographers, journalists, fans, and stat-keepers) need to be able to identify and distinguish between teams and players. The tournament is also one of the UPA's showcase events, and it is important that the sport be presented in its best light

I agree with everything stated above.

It’s championship level events only – Events where teams have already invested a huge amount of time, energy, and money. Is $2-4 per player more really that big of a deal?


Q: How would you reach out to get the best/most accurate needs and wants assessment of the upa membership at large in the most efficient, effective and cost effective manner? (From the RSD thread located right here.)

A: On my own I would just flat out talk to as many people as possible. I do love to play more than just about anything, but pushing the sport further has started taking over as my primary Ultimate-related drive. At the moment about 95% of what I do in the Ultimate world is geared towards getting other people to play, and the other 5% is related to me getting on the field. So, as simple as it sounds, my first move towards achieving a more accurate pictures of the needs and wants of the UPA membership would be to talk up a storm. I'm already attending 25-30 Ultimate related events a year, so I already have ample opportunity to connect with the US Ultimate community at large. I'm one of those people that likes to strike up conversations with random people I'm sitting next to on airplanes -- and those conversations aren't usually about Ultimate. You should see how excited I get when I talk about Ultimate in person with another Ultimate person. ;)

I like the before mentioned idea of polling the UPA membership as people join the UPA or renew their membership.

I would like to see polling stations set up at large events. I think setting up events and asking people to come is great, but I'd like to see the UPA take a more aggressive stance on gathering data. Have a central polling tent at every Regional event and at Nationals. Have people with clipboards moving around at the events. I guess it sounds overly simplistic, but I think it could really work -- If someone came up to me at an event and asked me some good questions about what my opinions were about a slew of topics surrounding Ultimate, I'd be thrilled.

Because the UPA serves such a diverse constituency I don't think one method for gathering information is going to be THE way. I think the UPA is going to need to continue gathering information in as many ways as possible.

Another thing I've brought up before is the creation of a slick, well maintained and moderated 'official' UPA forum. Yes, it's very nice to have RSD, many various Ultimate news sites, and lots of great local forums, but I want to see well formatted, public threads populated by posts from people that work at the UPA and people on the Board. The UPA already relies heavily on email so I don't think it would be too much of a transition to moving some of the conversations they must have every day to a robust online forum. Get several thousand active posters into a UPA forum along with lots of other UPA members reading what's going on... and viola!... you have a fantastic conduit for collecting and disseminating (isn't it neat when I can use that word? ;) ) information. Right now the UPA comunity, when online, is fractured into many pieces. There are people that obsess over RSD. There are people that read the blogs and nothing else. There are people that kinda use their league's online forum. There are people that don't know what a forum is. There are people that only use their league's email list. I will like to see the UPA create a focal point for every member's online attention. Once that's established I think the UPA will be better connected to its constituency and therefore much more in-tune with the needs and wants of the community.

 

PlayUltimate post (right here)

 

AFDC (Atlanta) forum post (right here)


Q: What's it like having Seamon as a last name?

A: The best answer I can give is a speech I gave at the beginning of last year in front of the whole freshmen class (~250 students) at the school where I teach math.

Here it is:

Good morning everyone.

My name is Mr. Seamon and there are two things you should know about me.

First of all, yes, my name is Mr. Seamon and yes, parts of my junior high experience were rather traumatic. You think you have it bad? I was terrified of the public address system. We didn’t have a note system like we do here at the Academy – when you were needed in the office you were paged over the school-wide public address system. Let’s just say that I never missed class and became very, very good at getting paper work into the school on time.

Second, I am absolutely and utterly obsessed with Ultimate. I have over 175 Frisbees hanging on the walls of my apartment. Over the past 2 years I have traveled well over 21,000 miles to play and coach in various Ultimate tournaments and events. I find it fun to wake up at 4am to drive to an Ultimate tournament in another state that ends up being held in freezing rain. I once played in 17 games of Ultimate in 8 days – 10 of them in Seattle, Washington and 7 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I’ve played a full game of Ultimate in an honest to god Hurricane. One of my life goals is to play in the Ultimate game that breaks the world record for longest game – the current record stands at 73 hours.

When people start finding out these things about me, I’m usually asked two questions. The first one is usually something along the lines of: “How do you survive having Seamon as a last name?” My immediate answer is that I survive quite well, and that having the last name that I do is actually a huge plus. For example: no one ever forgets my name. I never have to think very hard to come up with interesting ways to meet new people – all I have to do is introduce myself and BAM, the conversation has started. On my high school Ultimate team we called plays by shouting the play number and then the last name of the key person in the play – a frequent call was “93 SEAMON!!” which would usually give me a head start of about 3 seconds while the other team froze trying to process what they just heard. My name also lends itself to fantastic slogans – one that my sister’s friends came up with when she was running for senior class president was, “Vote for Katie Seamon, because a little Seamon goes a long way.” She ended up winning the election. And the nicknames are just endless – For example, I have an uncle who went to Top Gun and flew in the Blue Angles. His first call sign was Squirt. The Navy thought it would be a good idea if he thought up a new nick name – so he changed it to Sperm. Imagine that, the man was in Top Gun and his nickname wasn’t Iceman or Maverick or Viper or Jester, it was Sperm. How’s that for hardcore?

The second question I am usually asked is some form of: “Why are you so insane about Ultimate?” For the full answer to that question stop by my room (Severance 21) any time after school when you have a solid couple hours of free time. The short answer to why I love Ultimate so much lies in one sentence in the official rules of the game. This sentence is:

“In Ultimate players call their own fouls and are governed by “Spirit of the Game” which states that “highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.”

Everything I have learned, experienced, and gained from Ultimate is rooted in this statement. And what exactly has Ultimate given me? For the long answer, again, see me in person when you have a good several hours of free time. The summarized answer is that Ultimate has given me a game I will play for the rest of my life, something I can pour all of my energy into, and most importantly Ultimate has given me an enormous extended family.

I think all of you should play Ultimate. Why?

It will change your life.

What exactly does that mean? Play Ultimate and find out.

There are two great opportunities for you to play Ultimate at St. Johnsbury Academy. First, there is Intramural Ultimate which starts this Thursday. Games will be played on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the fall and anyone is welcome to participate. In the spring, the Academy will be ushering in its first ever Varsity Ultimate season. Both a girl’s team and a boy’s team will be traveling all across New England, playing as much Ultimate as there is time in the day for, and then some. New players absolutely have a chance to make the team – last year out of the 36 players that traveled on the spring team, 10 were freshmen.

If you’re interested in participating in Ultimate Intramurals, come out to Stowe Green this Thursday at 3:30 ready to play.

If you’re interested in playing on one of the Varsity teams this spring, my advice to you is to stay active. Play another sport, design your own fitness routine, play Intramurals, learn as much as you can about the game – all of these things will help you once March rolls around.

All of this being said I would like to leave you two things: First, in case you missed it, my name is Mr. Seamon. Second, a small warning. If you decide to play Ultimate…. You might end up liking it as much as I do.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 


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