Giving Thanks

Our launch next week comes at a fortuitous time, because today, American judges celebrate Thanksgiving (and Canadian judges should take this opportunity to throw away any leftovers they still have from their own Thanksgiving last month).

We have so many people to thank, without whom we would not have been able to make it this far. Each member of the exploratory committee has written a few words of thanks for some of the volunteers who’ve helped us out.

Jared thanks Keystone judges at Grand Prix DC in 2017. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Jared thanks Keystone judges at Grand Prix DC in 2017. Photo © John Brian McCarthy

Amanda Coots

A special thank you to everyone who provided suggestions and feedback for our new operations track certifications, including Andrea Wallace, who spent part of her vacation serving as a sounding board and helping me build out the initial plan, and Ellen Petrila for her review and comments.    

I also want to thank everyone who has given us feedback & constructive criticism.   We’re shaping something new, and while we want it to feel familiar and incorporate the best parts of old programs, we also believe that there is space for improvement and want to continue to improve upon what went before.   We can’t do that without those of you who continue to point out the holes and the flaws.  Thank you!

Paul Baranay

I’m grateful for the many people who’ve reached out with suggestions and words of support. Judge Foundry is better thanks to your time and consideration. In particular, I’d like to thank Joe Achille, Beau, Dan Bleck, Autumn Cook, Charles Featherer, Meg Rickman, and the whole New York City judge crew for their insights.

The greatest thanks of all go to my partner Mani, who is my rock.

Joe Klopchic

I have a few people I’m thankful for today, but I really want to start with Carter. He has meant a lot for me personally in the past couple months and years, but also has contributed a lot to this project. Carter isn’t afraid to tell it like he sees it, and has watched judges and programs struggle and succeed. He has consistently reminded us of how we might be repeating mistakes of the past, and is always looking out for the people who might not be being represented very well. 

I want to thank Sara Mox for being an amazing friend, and for all the talks about judging we have had over the years. My understanding of Judges, Organized Play, Business and how the world works wouldn’t be the same without a lot of things I learned from her. All of those things have helped guide my input to Judge Foundry, and I’m incredibly grateful for them.

I also want to thank all of the folks who have been writing exam questions the past few weeks. Biggest shout to Nathan Long, who crushed dozens and dozens of questions and is the primary reason why we’re going to be able to launch with the exams we have ready for next week. Everyone helping with exams has been great, its been a promising feeling, working on a distributed project with many folks involved who all want to make exams be really well put together. 

I’ve talked to scores of folks both openly and cryptically about Judge Foundry things in the past few months, and I want to thank everyone who has had such conversations. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, I take to heart each person’s experience and view, adding to the perspectives I’ve heard helps greatly to develop solutions that are closer to working for everyone. I hope you’ll forgive my possibly excessive list of folks I can recall having meaningful talks with: Brook Gardner-Durbin, Ryan Wood, Sam Duralde, Tobias Vyseri, Travis Lauro, Brandon Welch, Mike Hill, Sierra Black, Abe Corson, Bryan Prilliman, Jonah Kellman, Joe Steet, Io Hughto, David Xu, Konstantin Mushkatin, Steven Hill, Brian Keaton, Dan Collins, Shiggins, Erin Leonard, Landon Liberator, Mark Mason, Dave Unni, Ward Warren, Scott Marshall, Johanna Virtanen, Tom Wood, Liz Peloquin, Meg Rickman, Phillipe Monlevade, Gustavo Marin, Sam Tsafalas, Michael Arrowsmith, Kayla Davison, Frank Stanley, and the Dallas Zoo. 

I should also thank my family, for putting up with this, but also helping. Emily, who has always given me different perspectives on everything I do and helps me broaden some of my more ingrained narrow perspectives. My dad, Peter, who I’ve talked through business, compliance, and legal implications of this over and over. My mom, Colleen, who is still the nicest mom on the planet. 

One final shout goes to my eternal mentor and friend, Jeff Zandi, who would be so incredibly proud of all of this. I’ll never forget his advice, guidance, and friendship. 

John Brian McCarthy

While there are a ton of people I want to thank, there are two people whom I want to specifically call out for their incredible contributions to the structure of Judge Foundry:

Tobias Vyseri designed our logo. She also designed lots more logos for us to consider, some of which were secretly birds. Soon, her work will be seen by thousands of players at hundreds of tournaments across eight time zones. And that’s pretty amazing.

Matt Schafer took our general concept of how we wanted Judge Foundry to function and rewrote it into a set of bylaws that will define our organization, and safeguard one of our core values: accountability to our members through elections. His advice helped us ensure that our organization will be both resilient and responsive on firm legal footing.

While these specific contributions stand out, I also want to thank everyone who’s been part of our advisory Slack, especially (but not limited to) Bryan Prillman, Dan Collins, Carter, Abe Corson, Mike Hill, Scott Shapiro-Neiwert, Joe Steet, Scott Marshall, Ellen Petrilla, and Brook Gardner-Durbin, for providing feedback and assistance as we hone our message to the public. Thank you also to Jordan Baker for permission to use his photo library. And thank you to the folks who’ve provided us with advice who’ve asked not to be named in public – even if the community doesn’t know your names, we will never forget you.

Rob McKenzie

I’m going to focus on people that really helped with a number of the things I’ve been focused on, namely legal flings and structure and Canadian judging.  There were multiple extremely helpful people beyond this that gave more information on social structures, translations, and prior investigations they had done into judging legal structures.  I’m just grabbing ones that I know put in a bunch of work they did not have to do in order to help out, and that really touched me by how much they care about the judge community.

Dave Rappaport did a review on our bylaws and fixed a number of things we had missed in an early draft of our bylaws, and gave a ton of very useful feedback on governance structures.  There are a number of rakes we might have walked into without him, and I very much appreciate his cleanup on our early draft.

Jon Goud did something similar for Canada – he found a legal structure that would enable us to operate effectively there, and is helping with registering us across all provinces.  His report had a full page of linked references, it was amazingly detailed and well put together.

Meg Baum gave a huge and detailed feedback message to me, and I deeply appreciate the feedback.  Thank you Meg for your honesty and compassion and on-point information.

Jason Eg of MagiKids has given a ton of direct help and experience with Minnesota nonprofits and how to effectively get a nonprofit off the ground.  I’ve been leveraging our connection, and I really want to call out Jason and the whole MagiKids org for their help on this.

Charles Featherer and Willow Rosenberg have been champions at modding the Judge Foundry discord, managing the surprising amount of bots we have been getting, and giving great feedback on things like our rules.

Paul addresses the Northeast Judge Conference in 2016. Photo © John Brian McCarthy
Paul addresses the Northeast Judge Conference in 2016. Photo © John Brian McCarthy

In Closing

Thank you all, and thank you to everyone whom we didn’t mention here but should have, for all you’ve done to make Judge Foundry a reality. 

One last thanks come to those who came first: the judges who laid the groundwork that brought us to Judge Foundry by building judge programs past. Tim Shields and Judge Academy sailed the great ship of judge community through some of the stormiest weather it ever faced, and brought it out the other side in fine shape for others to take the helm. We would not be seeing the sunny skies of the Regional Programs Era without you.

And before Judge Academy, decades of leaders of the Judge Program built a community on a foundation of mentorship and volunteerism that was so meaningful that it formed a base for our own efforts. In the time before formal infrastructure or funding or even Exemplar, past program coordinators, judge managers, project leaders, and judges volunteered countless hours to make being a tournament official more a fellowship than a gig.

We thank all the leaders who came before for building something of which people, including us, wanted to be a part. Their work was so valued that when a vacuum formed, there was never a consideration to not continue on their legacy and to build something for the next generation to enjoy.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, judges, and we’ll see you next week for the formal launch of Judge Foundry!