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National Convention August Date Issue


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Two things Gil

 

1) I think you misunderstood my comments about Omaha, it had nothing to do with heat/temp/ or weather but a central location and dead of the summer was a refrance to time of the summer IE no school ....

 

2) I agree with the family thing as it is for US, my wife went to a couple and was soon bored to tears ;-) But > (Ya knew it was comming), being able to bring the boy especially since he's asking to go, it would be nice to be able to bring him and thus furthering the expansion of the society. So I see both sides in this one..

 

Jim

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Some of these comments seem to overlook an essential truth governing the issue of National place and time-or, for that matter, virtually everything else this organization does. We are an organization of volunteers! Volunteers donate their time and effort. One cannot dictate demands to volunteers.They do the best they can with whatever skills and circumstances they can muster. The remarkable thing is how consistently they do such a good job year in and year out. Nick Filippone

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Very well said, Nick. Very well said.

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Readdressing the school thing. Why not go to the school boards and figure out why they want to start when they have to pay for air conditioning? When I was young (and that is a long time ago) school always started the Tuesday after Labor Day. Last year my daughter (the only kid left still in High School) started the day after we got back from Orlando (and her and her Mom had to drive 5 hours after we landed to get back to their home). This year she also starts on the 12th but that isn't an issue for me as Mom is there. Also, grade school here in Utah is Year round so the younger kids can be going through the summer months depending on what shift you get. I also know a few others who won't make this show because of school and dates.

 

I have been lucky enough to make the last several Nats but wasn't always the case. There was a time when I could only afford to hit the west coast shows (if I was lucky). Omaha was my first central show and Orlando my first east coast show). My family doesn't usually come to the shows with me but my 2 younger boys did go with me to OC (as they were old enough to do Disneyland by themselves until I was able to join) and my family did go to Orlando which did take me away from a lot of the activities at the show but was a great trip for me.

 

While I think a central location would be great, it would depend on where. I like the opportunities to hit different museums around the country that I probably wouldn't have ever got the time to get to. Also, some people just can't take the time to travel the distance so our east and west coasters may not be able to attend as many if that happens.

 

As has been said, things have been looked at and options considered. We are never going to make everyone happy. School can be an issue any time during the year (year round schools and colleges). Would I be ok with a show in July, sure, heck, even June works for me. IPMS/UK has theirs in November and always have a very good turnout. Course, it is only over a weekend so less interference for schools but maybe that is another option.

 

All I know is I wasn't able to go to every convention since I joined but have been very happy to get to the ones I have attended.

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Two things about school.....

 

Their "year" and the number of days they operate are now affected by Federal money for those things (unlike when we were going). They start earlier and end later to be sure they meet enough time "in" (despite weather, etc) to get their dough.

 

As for taking your kids with you to the show, why not? I really do NOT see why you cannot excuse your kid for the trip, with proper advanced notice AND the assignments they have to do despite being gone for those days. Perhaps you don't do it every year, but you could certainly do it once in a while during their Jr/Sr school years for the "bonding" experience. As long as the kids have to make up their work and don't just skip the classes, they should still understand the lessons of both school and family time.

 

If teaching is your job and it doesn't allow you to miss those couple of days that one week, then that's just like me when I can't get a vacation slot due to seniority. It's tough, but that's life!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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As for making up school my neighbor is a teacher and she tells parents Nope! if your kid aint there then they miss the work. She's not going out of her way to accomadate parents. Now granted this is just one but our schools get paid by the state for each student based on thier attendance so when the kid misses a day they don't get the money. Plus thats a bad time to pulla kid out , right after school starts. Heck my wife wanted no part last year of going only to return a day before school started. There is no real answer here since there are a bunch of varibles to contend with. BUT the one thing we all have to come to grips with is this. What happens when the day comes and no one bids ???? Were supposed to have one per the Constitution and by-laws but if no ones willing then what?

I believe a rotation across the country with 3 to 4 cities is possible with a contract with a hotel company IE say like Hyatt, BUT "There it is again" as Nick says , we run on voluntiers and those same three cities will get tired of running shows even if it were as frequent as 4 years. The blue print would be in place but the actual manning of convention and model registrations would a bear not to mention security. We are closer to to being able to do it with a standardized system we now use but its getting the people to run it that will always be the main problem IMHO.

 

Jim

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If IPMS starts considering compensating the people who do the work, it becomes much more feasible. For example, for 2 days (16hrs) volunteer work over 3-4 days, you get one night of room cost comped. Some of those rooms might not even actually cost money, due to the host getting some number of them comped after meeting their room night commitments.

 

Yes, we are a volunteer society, but then again, those who can be counted on to do the work, and make the convention run certainly deserve something above and beyond those who don't, especially if they're there year to year. And yes, I'd like to see this done NOW for the lady's who've been doing the judging records for many years already!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges
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Here's something to consider. Nearly every medium to large club holds a local contest every year to generate funds for yearly expenses their club encours. IF there are people in larger cities EVERY year to run a club contest, then they are there to run a potential national. If the chapter is compensated as they are now, there is serious money to be made. If there is more than one chapter in the larger metro areas, they could change off year to year. Then the local clubs will have no need to run a local contest. If one area of the country can't do a Nats, move to the next.

 

Having chaired a national convention I understand there is no comparison to putting on a local con. However, once the the chapters have had the experience running a national with advice and help from more experienced chapters and the E-board doing one each year shouldn't be too tough. I realize I haven't considered all the problems to tackle, but wouldn't it be worth building up to over a period of years.

 

Concentrate on three area of the country to perhaps be permanent sites and start getting them experience running the Nats on a yearly basis. Wouldn't hurt to consider it.

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Having been on the planning end of creating school calendars for 13 years, I can assure you that it is about more than money. Yes, money counts, and the schools are audited down to the attendance of each student and the number of hours that student spent in school each day by the state. If a parent pulls out a kid for illness, a doctor's appointment, a death in the family, vacation day (for the adults), out-of-school suspension, etc,, the specific number of instructional hours lost is measured, recorded, and reported.

 

Grade schools must coordinate with high schools for non-school days, otherwise parents have some kids at home while others are in school, and day care supervision becomes an issue. Planned school breaks are now given generic politically correct names like Spring Break and Winter break to avoid the formerly customary naming of the breaks for religious observances. These breaks must be of a certain length so that parents can work in two or three weekends along with the school days off for their own family travel schedules. Monday holidays are so common now that at least one three-day weekend occurs every month. Our political climate is demanding more and more classroom days so that the goal of "education is our number one priority" gets its lip service, but the funding to pay for it does not follow. In my state, casino gambling gets to the top of the list faster than any other matter because more gambling venues mean more free non-tax money for the state, or so the theory goes. The justification is that the gambling money will go to education, but the state subtracts a state dollar for every gambling dollar coming in, so the net result is more gambling money to fund education without education getting any more money. Labor Day was the traditional starting day for school when our culture was agriculturally based and the kids were needed to work on the family farms. We no longer maintain the fiction that inner city and suburban schools have any kids working on the farms. Lastly, parents and kids wanted to complete the end of the first semester, including exams, before Winter Break, not in January when the kids have to study and relearn everything they forgot in two weeks or more in late December/early January. This means moving the starting date into early to mid August, but it also means that the last day is in late May instead of sometime in June. June days are more commonly used now for make-up snow days, natural disasters, and for days lost to teacher and support staff strikes.

 

In short, parental convenience throughout the school years are as much a driving factor as mandated instructional days by our state and federal leaders.

 

Ed

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At one point we had an "agreement" with Hyatt. Not a signed contract, just an arrangement I made with their marketing department that if we used a Hyatt hotel, we would get "preferential" treatment. That whole deal was shaky on many levels, not the least of which was that it depended on that one individual who made it with us. When he moved on, that was that. Some other problem areas were that so many Hyatts (and I assume other chains function similarly) are actually privately, as opposed to corporately, owned. That means they may or may not honor corporate offers. In addition, if you make a deal with them as a Hyatt in 2015 and the owner switches to a Hilton in 2014, your deal could be null and void. Of course, that problem exists with or without a corporate deal.

 

I am more and more of the opinion that we need to do one of two things. Either raise registration prices to cover our true expenses and make other things possible such as a dedicated convention manager or corporation, which, given our membership, isn't very likely, or we need to re-invent the convention. It's just too un-gainly for an org. like ours to run. It doesn't need to be four days long. It doesn't need to have all sorts of tours, speakers and seminars. Also, we don't need a dedicated convention hotel. Find a venue like a Shriner's Auditorium or college athletic facility or such and then identify hotels in the area that conventioneers can use. Maybe even get deals from them, who knows. I would venture a guess that for 80-90% of the attendees, if there is a contest and venders' room, they're happy. It still would need boots on the ground and host chapter, but it would be SO much easier to run. Of course, this is a huge paradigm shift. Many attend as a vacation. They like the nice venue, plushy hotel and all the amenities. They want to see their model on the screen at an award show. (Good luck with that in any case!)

 

Eggs will be broken before this omelette is made.

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I am more and more of the opinion that we need to do one of two things. Either raise registration prices to cover our true expenses and make other things possible such as a dedicated convention manager or corporation, which, given our membership, isn't very likely, or we need to re-invent the convention.

 

This made me curious so I looked up the National Model Railroader Association's convention info (http://www.2014cleveland.org/). Their national convention is in Cleveland next year, and early registration cost was $145. A "companion" registration was $60, which I think is meant for a friend/family member and doesn't include entry in the contest. That is on top of NMRA dues of $66. The info doesn't mention the cost of tours or banquet, but looking at the page from this years convention in Atlanta (http://nmra2013.org), those are extra, with tours costing around $30 and various banquets $50-75. Roughly $100 more than the cost of registering for the Colorado Nats.

 

I'm wondering, how much that kind of price would hurt the turnout at an IPMS Nats? An extra $100 sounds like a lot, but when you figure in airfare, hotels, etc. it isn't all that much (I grew up with the inflation of the 70s and 80s, so it doesn't surprise me when prices keep going up and up).

 

Don

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A few not necessarily relevant comments. 1: if I had to go to school all year round and not have a 10 week vacation each summer, I think I would have gone insane. And, no, I did not grow up on a farm. 40 weeks of school a year is enough. 2: I would go to the National regardless of format, Ron, but I must say I love it the way it is and eagerly anticipate it annually. 3: I would be willing to pay the kind of registration fees that the NMRA charges, but I suspect many would not. Anytime we (IPMS NENY) hosted a Regional and charged just a few more $ for registration to make sure costs were covered, many registrants complained. There seems to exist amongst IPMS members and modelers a Ben Franklin-esque frugality that informs all their financial decisions---at least until they cross the threshold of the Vendor Room! Nick Filippone

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After some thought on this I don't see the need right now to change anything. Hey if it ain't broke right? I think at this time the best we can do is have some sort of contingency plan in case no one bids. That is biggest threat right now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, let me re-ground the ORIGINAL point of the discussion. I had originally pointed out that one factor that a potential bidder should take into account is that school years start earlier and earlier, and as a result those of us with school age children can be blocked from attending as a result.

 

Much as I would love to be in Loveland this week, I cannot because of school, and already looking forward to 2014, I may be in trouble there, as the dates (as I understand them) will lay over the FIRST two days of school (which here in Forsyth county, GA, are likely to be August 7th and 8th, 2014). Being a single dad aside, I had a conversation with one of my typical nationals travelling friends, and in his case, the first days of school are tough to get away from, due to the chaos. Leaving the kids behind with the wife, saying I'm goin' on vacation while y'all figure out the first days of school is a tough sell even in the happiest and most congenial of house holds.

 

So, again, my recommendation is that we COUNSEL future bidders to take another look at available dates in July. I contend that the August dates have become somewhat "institutionalized" and that we need to at least be open-minded enough Looking back at the rates that we were presented with for 2005, there was NO financial difference between July and August. I understand this may not be the case everywhere, but, in a sample set of one, the "better" deal arguement goes away.

 

And combining family vacation with nationals wasn't even what I was talking about above either. If we want kids to participate in our hobby, then we have to have the nationals scheduled when kids can attend. Right now that's not happening. But, hey, we're happy with the way things are, as it's okay for all us old dudes?

 

And for every contrary arguement to other nationals fixes, I have a counter. I just doubt anyone here would want to listen, as we're all too comfortable trying to hold on to the way things were.

 

As one of my friends suggested, the only way you're going to be able to fix this Paul is to run for the eboard - and trust me, the old guard of IPMS doesn't want me on the eboard, as I'd be looking to make some SWEEPING changes.

 

Happy to have a discussion with those open-minded enough to listen.

 

Paul

Edited by pcotcher
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:smiley15: But there are others of us that might be thrilled at just such a prospect Paul..... :smiley20:

 

You make a decision to run based on your desire to lead IPMS (new direction or not); not based on what the "powers that be" may think!

 

I think we all understood your original point, and as discussions go, we all just try to cover the relevant points til the horse is sore, if not dead. :rolleyes:

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Gil - I think most people get it, but there are a lot of the "not everyone will be happy set" that seem to think that this is a limited group that we are talking about, or that it's just one guy complaining about the convention date. If we move it up into July, we might make it selectively harder for some, but open the door back up to teachers and parents with younger children. Plus, I'm not sure how many folks in the older set realize when school starts now, and that the date has become a really common time slot over the last eight years to the point where a potential bidder might think that's just the default and desired date for the convention.

 

As for running for the board, we will have to see how crazy I'm feeling in another couple of years when that cycle comes around again.

 

I've requested some data to at least begin taking a look at a few of my assertions so that I'm working from facts and not guesses.

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