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tgidcumb

Youth Judging at Model Contests

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I would like to bring up a topic of how we treat the youth categories at contests. The only reason I'm bringing this up is from this past weekend's experience that I witnessed at a show in Alabama (you can look on contest calendar if you need location). I was wondering around the show area while the judging was going on and happened to hear the judges discussing the junior category, there was probably about 30-35 entries to look at so the comment was made by the judge to another club member " I don't know much about what I'm looking at so do you just want me to pick 1, 2, 3". I really couldn't believe what I was hearing.

My daughter competes in the youth division because I'm trying to get her into a hobby that don't have a screen on it and she also loves spending time with her Dad.😀 So I have a hard time with a hobby that has a average age of 50+ that we would continually treat the kids at these shows the way we do. Most of the time the youth table is in the back corner of the room and I always watch the amount of people that stop and look, it is a very few, especially the adults that have a habit of winning, I never see them go look at the kid's entries.

Back to this past weekend,  after I walked away the judges came back to me and said they took a closer look at the entries and was sorry, which I accepted but before the judge walked away told me it is probably not a good idea for me to talk to the judges. What? We are not solving world hunger or world peace, we are building plastic models. I guess I need to make an appointment next time to talk to such an important person.

I have been building models for 30 + years but I see and have seen a pattern in the last few years, there will be hours spent judging an adult category but just a few minutes spent on the youth to make a decision, I cant put my finger on why it's done this way, some of the youth entries are pretty darn good, maybe it's jealousy, or arrogance, but the kids should garner the same respect in judging I believe.

I would personally like to see more young people at our shows, I know we are competing against technology but getting some interested is better than none. When the young people choose to participate in this hobby they have made a choice among many choices, when a lot of us choose to build models it's because that is the only thing we got going for us. 🤣

Just an example, I took 2 kids to that show this weekend that have never seen a plastic model and they loved it, got each of them a couple of kits and talked to there parents this morning and they told me the rest of the weekend they was engrossed in that kit and never turned on the TV or video games. Imagine that!!!!!!

Just would like to have some thoughts on this, not looking for an argument one way or the other just see there is room for improvement.

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IMHO, that was completely outrageous. I'd like to think that guys like that are in the extreme minority. Having gone to contests in Regions 1 & 2 I've usually seen that the judges go a little over the top the other way with encouragement. Which I think is good to promote the "kiddies."  If he didn't know what he was looking at then he should not judge or at least be under the supervision of an experienced. judge. At least thats the way I was taught.

I also have a kid who has gotten into building models. He's 16 now and prolly has been building since he was 8.  It is a fine line sometimes between building a model and going on the computer. I would hate to see a kid think "Screw it, I'm playing a video game" because some dumbass  acts like that.

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Kevin,

       I hope you are right and this is the minority, I still think it's an issue as a whole that no one want's to address. The lack of comments on this thread to me says a whole lot, just not really a concern to the majority.

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Our Junior Categories at our June show in Columbia, SC were at the front of the model display area--anyone who walked into the show area walked past them.  We only had four models entered in the Junior Categories, though...

We also gave away model kits to ALL the junior modelers who attended the show.

Can't comment on the contest you were at, as I wasn't in attendance...

Ralph

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Ralph,

     That is great, I wish that emphasis was put on the junior's at every show. It seems like in the 10 + shows not including the nationals I attend in the area that I can drive to every year, this is not the case, most of the time I usually see anywhere from 30-45 entries consistently in the junior categories. Appreciate the attention y'all give in this area.

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Our Orangecon also puts the Juniors and Young Adult categories at the front of the room, and the Junior awards are read out first. Every So Cal show I've been to has done the same. Out here, we do take our Junior modellers seriously and do our very best to keep encouraging them.  As for that judge who didn't know what he was looking at; well, he shouldn't be judging in my opinion.

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Why shouldn't junior entries be judged by the same criteria as adult entries (with due allowance for the age and relative inexperience of the junior entrants, of course)? I thought the judge's knowledge of the subject was supposed to be irrelevant, because "we don't judge for accuracy." Speaking of which, I've been to plenty of contests where the adult judges didn't know much about the adult entries, either.

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I agree with you Michael, in some of the cases I'm referring to has nothing to do with accuracy.

  • 2 aircraft being judged one with no decals and canopy not painted and one with decals and canopy painted. Both had same quality of build but one of them was clearly not finished.
  • 2 aircraft being judged, one of them was a conversion done by hand without aftermarket kit and one was straight out of box, same quality of build. Judges didn't take the time to read the description that was clearly laid out in the documentation displayed with both.
  • 2 cars being judged both had same finish, one was pre-painted out of the box one was done with airbrush

It's things like this that are not being noticed because it's a rushed job of judging based on it being a junior category, I can be at the same contest and the judges that do the adult categories take hours to judge and I will hear them say in the judges meetings, who wants to do the juniors? Not many hands go up.

I have been observing and taking more interest in this the last few years because I have kids that are in the hobby, just some of the things I witnessed this past weekend was more of an extreme case than I have seen other places.

I don't want the kids to build just because they want to win but if they deserve to win they should get recognized for that effort and not just passed over because they are not the elite of the hobby.

 

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On 8/29/2018 at 8:18 AM, tgidcumb said:

Kevin,

       I hope you are right and this is the minority, I still think it's an issue as a whole that no one want's to address. The lack of comments on this thread to me says a whole lot, just not really a concern to the majority.

I agree that it's an issue, but I think it needs to be addressed at the local model club level. All you need do is read some of the posts in some of the other forums - sci-fi type forums (SSM to name one) and you hear time after time this  "young-un" brings a Gundam or some other sci-fi model in and  the "old guys" who are hovering around the seventh BF-109 on the table, look over and give a sneer or a "pfffft."      So what happens? The kid goes home never to come back.  What else? He goes online and complains convincing others to stay away.  Going on SSM today, IPMS is almost a curse word. There are a few of us that try to change minds, but it's definitely like swimming against the tide.

Now yes, maybe the "kid" is thin skinned, but IMHO these old guys need to lighten up and think it is "worthy" even if it's not a war plane or armor.  Maybe even have a super broad theme for those little club contests. This way maybe a kid can bring in a model he has, rather than leaving all his home while looking at a table full of Shermans...

At this point I'd like to give kudos to my club  - BPMS (Bklyn, NY)- who is VERY inclusive of all genres and ages. Coming from another club that was less so, I was shocked at the acceptance; as I too build those Gundams and other sci-fi stuff.

Sorry off my soap box now. 😉

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This is a difficult category to address and I would contend that a Juniors category should be judged in a different way from adult categories, after all there is a difference in intent.  By that I mean the we are trying to encourage youth to share our hobby.  Limiting awards to 1,2,3 may be counterproductive as it singles out only a few.  We need to make the experience positive for the kids that come.   In a youth category perhaps we need to use a GSB method with comments on all models.    Not all models need to get awards, but every model should have comments about what each modeler did well.  Forget the negatives, but definitely find something positive to say about the model even it it is only the choice of color.  A pat on the back would go a lot further for all entrants than singling out three kids for awards. 

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Pete,

        That is a good idea, the Chattanooga guys use GSB format for there whole contest every year and it works great. The feedback you get is really good. I’m going to bring this up to some of the guys at the shows I go to and see how it will go over to do this for youth categories.

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