Here at Judge Academy we have recently launched a new and improved conference sponsorship application and organization system, along with some important updates to how we handle conferences applications internally. Let’s walk through what has changed together.
Since taking over the conference system at the start of the year, I have been continually amazed and inspired by what organizers are doing around the world to bring judges together in the name of education and community. We’ve seen the return of physical conferences, while also preserving the option of digital ones, with some organizers finding ways to offer the chance for both through hybrid events. We’ve seen scheduling innovations, as people break up conferences into a series of events to allow access for those who find it hard to block off 4+ hours at a time. We’ve seen mock tournaments and role plays and other ways to get hands-on experience. We’ve seen organizers reach outside the judge pool to get presenters who can offer needed perspective and experience on everything from working with younger players to handling judge finances. Last week we approved our 400th conference, with more applications coming in every day!
The process of shepherding your applications through the process, and talking with so many of you about the events you are attending, running, or would love to see happen, along with what has worked and what has been challenging about our current way of doing things has given me and the rest of the Judge Academy team so much insight. With our continual goal to help you organize great judge conferences all over the world, here is a summary of the changes that have been implemented. For more information, check out our First Week Twitch Stream from Thursday, 8/11/22 and the Conferences menu on the Judge Academy website.
The most noticeable change is to the application form itself. We have taken what was a cumbersome and often confusing process and streamlined it, allowing you as the applicant to focus more of your time on creating great conferences.
Our application now includes a section for your shipping information, allowing us to start the process of getting promos to you as soon as your application is approved. We have also simplified the process of determining how many promos you need by allowing you to choose one of 5 preset sizes. Don’t use the full amount? Just send us back any extras!
By providing you with extra promos, we are empowering our organizers to respond directly when promos are lost or damaged. Don’t send extras back until you have confirmed all of your attendees have received them.
We re-wrote our conference sponsorship policies to make clear that you are welcome and encouraged to try new things. There will always be a place for one person presenting with a PowerPoint, and a conference consisting of four of those, but the schedule and form the conference takes is up to you!
When planning your conference, dealing with a difficult issue, or evaluating how things went so you can adjust for next time, one of the best resources you have are each other! We’ve opened a judge conferences channel on the Judge Academy Discord, but this is just one of the many ways you can use social media to reach other judges. Ask questions, share your stories, talk to your colleagues about what did and didn’t work.
If you have questions or concerns about your shipment, please send them directly to our questions inbox: email@example.com. Your email will get internally rerouted to the appropriate Judge Academy staff member.
CLARIFYING OUR GOALS
With so many applications coming in, we sadly can’t sponsor all of them. Our conference page details our criteria for sponsorship decisions, but I wanted to say a few things here about our goals and what we look for:
First and foremost, our goal is to give as many judges as possible the chance to attend conferences, connect with other judges, and improve their skills, in as many ways as we can. That being the case, we look at factors such as what other events have been held or are coming up in your area, how your format and focus differs from other conferences, and what your event offers that others in the same time or area may not.
Second, we look at you! The organizer! Do you have experience running conferences, or are you working with someone who has? If you have run conferences in the past, how did they go? Have you completed the conference related modules? (Revised versions are coming soon!) Have you taken other steps to learn about the conference organization process? Note that while we value experience, we also want to see a wide range of people offering their own perspective on how to run an event. If you’ve become the person who is known for always organizing the events in your area, it may be time to help develop other organizers. While we appreciate your efforts very much, Judge Academy is eager to also support new organizers giving their own conference plans a try.
We’ve been truly amazed at the conferences you all have made happen. These changes to the conference sponsorship system have been implemented to make that process easier on you, and allow the Judge Academy team to dedicate even more time to helping you. We can’t wait to see what you come up with for the rest of this year and beyond!