Like why on the SCAA homepage UPCOMING EVENTS section the N. Central RBC 2/18-20 and SE RBC 2/11-13 are up there while NW RBC 1/28-30 happening before them is not? Hmmmmm

 

NW Region being dissed (ignored, forgotten) by the SCAA or what?!

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Let me just state this. Mike's original post had to do with the posting of his regional, and why there was a lack of info. This has nothing to do with the BGA. For the record, the BGA is loaded with value for those who can partake of the many discounts on trainings and events. The cost is $45. It is loaded with value. It is the best we have and the best we can do governed by a volunteer staff that's already slammed with workloads from their full-time jobs. We're all working, as the BGA EC members before us like Sandy, Trish Rothgeb, Dismas Smith, Andy Newbom, Chris Davidson and Andy Cronin, to be the leading guild for furthering the art, craft and joy of the barista. We work tirelessly towards this goal. We can't do all things, but what we can, we will do well. The Certification is a good example. Camp Pull-A-Shot is a good example. The BGA Cafe at Expo is another example. The efforts we've started to engage more BGA members all over the country is yet another example. And we do this for no other gain for the gain for all.

 

When I first came aboard, like Dan was mentioning, it was common to throw a bunch of stuff against a wall, and see what stuck. We did promise the moon, yet gave members much less. Sandy, that's what Dan was speaking of. When I first started, it was common. It's no insult to the hard work of those that came before us, for they truly laid the groundwork for a lot of the things that have come to fruition, Certification being one of those things. I remember how excited Sandy was to hear that we had actually sat in a room and created the Certification. Because it was something that she had been fighting for for a long time from her time on the EC. We are charged with taking the passions of the original BGA and matching it with the current scene of coffee. And I feel like we're working on it as greatly as possible.

 

I didn't have anything to do with the competitors fees going up, or judges fees. But I will say this, the BGA is working hard for you as a barista whether you like it or not. We're gathering baristas all over the country to infect positive change and arming the frontline of the coffee industry with baristas who are passionate not just about coffee, but about community. We're about reminding baristas that they are a part of something so much bigger than their coffee shop. We're about working to engage baristas in high quality, upper level, cutting edge training that is comprehensive. We're about helping baristas not only earn more respect, but respect themselves more for what they do. We're for baristas, by baristas.

Jason,

 

With all due regards, the decision to force BGA/SCAA membership on baristas/shops as a principle condition of participation means that it has much to do with the BGA. It would make any reasonable business or working person go hmmmm, after all.

 

And just to clarify my own position, I'm not arguing against the BGA or its potential value to some people. I will categorically emphasize, however, that it is a logical fallacy to assert that it is beneficial to everyone in the industry.

-anthony


Jason Dominy said:

Let me just state this. Mike's original post had to do with the posting of his regional, and why there was a lack of info. This has nothing to do with the BGA. 

Again, Anthony, would you feel better if baristas only got a $20 discount for being a BGA member? I just don't get why it's that big a deal to just get it. Even if it's just the discount to compete or judge, it's value enough. Why the resistance?

Jason,

 

I'd feel better if the basic questions that I posed about the way fees are imposed and the structure/cost of staging the competition were answered. And just as you'd hope that shop owners and (non-member) baristas would be responsive to the goals of the BGA, I'd hope that you could be empathetic to the way the actions of the SCAA/BGA would be received by independent shop owners and baristas. If not, your marketing problems go way beyond attracting new sponsors.

 

Since you brought it up, let's talk about that fee for judging. After having judged for 3 years, I'm dubious about the value that sitting through judges training provides to me (after having already sat through it four or five times). Yet I'd still have to pay the $50 to judge. $100 total if I judge the two regionals required to judge at USBC. What's the value of the second $50? And I'm guessing an additional $50 (if not more) to judge at USBC.

 

Can you please let me know how there value enough in spending $150 to have the same training three times in one quarter, on top of having to pay for all of my travel expenses, just so that I can make an effort to volunteer for a project that I _do_ believe to be otherwise worth every effort? Is not my commitment enough?

Anthony, I will not address your questions, as I didn't have any knowledge of them, or any say in them. But a response is being written from people that did. Understand, I get your thoughts. If you read earlier responses, I actually mentioned you as an area we need to improve on. We need more stuff near you. But that costs money. And that money has to come from somewhere. And when we have to beg people to pay a paltry $45 BGA membership, you can see why we don't have tons of money around to be creating events all over. I wish we did. I am sorry there's not been stuff closer to you, I really am. But it's a money issue.

Thank you all for your thoughts, opinions, and feedback. I can assure you all of it's being considered and taken seriously.

Since the thread has pretty much shifted from my original why information isn't gotten out in a timely manner to financial let me ask why the heck do the RBC's need to be held in high priced Conventions centers etc? Not that many years ago they were more likely to be in a community center etc. Yes, they were often very crowded. If the move to bigger venues is to allow room for more spectators then why shouldn't a small admission fee be charged to offset expenses of the larger facilty rather than charging competitors (and their shop sponsors) more and charging judges to judge?

 

As far as the BGA funding barista enrichment events in general goes, which really has nothing or little to do with the barista competition series as far as I know, I wonder how like the orphan boy begging for table scraps the BGA feels in it's relationship with the SCAA?

"why the heck do the RBC's need to be held in high priced Conventions centers etc?"

Historically, the regionals were held wherever the local host decided to put it because it was their money on the line (and whatever money they could dig up from sponsors).  They put them in smaller venues because that's what they did - maybe they knew better, maybe they didn't.  The regionals were quirky in that respect.

 

Now, with the SCAA taking over things, I've been told that we continue to use convention center venues because that's really all the SCAA knows how to handle: convention centers.  It was the same question I posed before the 2009 USBC in Portland: why the convention center???  That's all they know.  

 

"why shouldn't a small admission fee be charged to offset expenses of the larger facilty rather than charging competitors (and their shop sponsors) more and charging judges to judge?"

Maybe they should, but who really is going to come to watch the competition - especially in some remote hall of some far-flung convention center?

 

"I wonder how like the orphan boy begging for table scraps the BGA feels in it's relationship with the SCAA?"

I hear things have changed since my days on the Council but back then, it was very much the feeling of being the Red Headed Stepchild.   You had to beg for the money and you faced a hostile environment with the SCAA.

 

Today, the SCAA finally sees what I had been advocating during my tenure: that the BGA represents the potential future for the SCAA.  While SCAA membership constantly dwindles, the potential for the BGA is to corral 2,000 plus members - a much welcome $90K per year in revenue.

 

This realization of potential is demonstrated in the current efforts to drive BGA membership by the aforementioned taxation of the events.

as far as the barista comps go, they should pay us to sit through those freaking hour-long sponsor talks before the winners are announced. i'm bringing a paintball gun next time and popping the first vice president of whatever that goes over 3 minutes.
Those guys pay out a lot of freaking money so those competitions can take place. As a three time sponsor of the SERBC, I can tell you it costs a lot of money, and that small amount of time is nothing for the amount of money paid out. It's boring for me, too. I've been right there wishing they'd just shut up. But now that I know how much those companies pay to sponsor the event both in cash, manpower and product, I totally understand.

Jared Rutledge said:
as far as the barista comps go, they should pay us to sit through those freaking hour-long sponsor talks before the winners are announced. i'm bringing a paintball gun next time and popping the first vice president of whatever that goes over 3 minutes.


Deferio said:

Let's not forget that the BGA represents both people who critisize and those who approve. Neither one should be made to feel less welcome in the barista community for voicing either view. I seem to remember that the SCAA and the BGA were both born of criticism and malcontent regarding the state of the industry in their day. It is not to be thought of as "bitching" when someone criticizes but as opportunity to better a movement that began with descent...  

 

 

 

Right, that's *exactly* what i was trying to say....just not as diplomatic.  my apologies. 

I should have chosen the word "criticize" vs what i chose to use instead.

debates are healthy.  as long as both sides are willing to listen, sometimes compromise, and oftentimes agree to disagree.

however, i do see that this debate needs more input from the SCAA BOD, because the BGA is certainly taking a lot of heat regarding this decision. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jared-

Bear in mind that it is through the generosity of these sponsors that the competitions are able to go on.  A few minutes time for their representatives to speak in exchange for the literal thousands of dollars they have donated is a minor concession.

 

Remember this: that "great expense" that it costs to put on a barista competition is actually paid for by the sponsor money, meaning that the $300 (or $150 if you are a BGA member) paid by competitors is potentially pure profit for the SCAA.



Jared Rutledge said:

as far as the barista comps go, they should pay us to sit through those freaking hour-long sponsor talks before the winners are announced. i'm bringing a paintball gun next time and popping the first vice president of whatever that goes over 3 minutes.

"Mike's original post had to do with the posting of his regional, and why there was a lack of info. This has nothing to do with the BGA."

Agreed.  Then why do you go on ad nauseam about the BGA???

 

The issues presented here have nothing to do with the BGA other than a requirement for membership in order to get a non-taxed rate.

 

"I didn't have anything to do with the competitors fees going up, or judges fees."

Did you speak out against this effective tax on the baristas?  Complacency is complicity.  You are, after all in the "inside" as an elected official and presumably part of the process.

 

"But I will say this, the BGA is working hard for you as a barista whether you like it or not."

Whether we like it or not???  Care to take a more confrontational tone with the people who supported and voted for you?

 

"Anthony, I will not address your questions, as I didn't have any knowledge of them, or any say in them."

A refusal to answer questions. A refusal to seek answers to questions. A disavowal of knowledge and a claim of impotency to influence policy.

 

These are not the kinds of responses by an elected leader that inspire confidence and support in the public.  

 

"And when we have to beg people to pay a paltry $45 BGA membership,"

Perhaps this underscores a separate problem that you should be addressing more carefully.  Are you really investigating why this perception exists and perpetuates?

 

"As a three time sponsor of the SERBC, I can tell you it costs a lot of money, and that small amount of time is nothing for the amount of money paid out. It's boring for me, too. I've been right there wishing they'd just shut up. "

Are you speaking for yourself or Batdorf & Bronson when you make the above statement?  Because I didn't realize you have been a three time sponsor of the SERBC.

 

"Again, Anthony, would you feel better if baristas only got a $20 discount for being a BGA member?"

Not speaking for Anthony but you've been refusing the real questions in the thread and expect to pose your own???  I think that's crossing into arrogance.

 

Last night, someone told me that I should come up to the NERBC when it happens in April.  I asked where it was going to be held - the answer?  New York City.

 

You know, I may have lived in the Village and I may like New York City, but a trip to NYC is not a cheap one.  Hotels start at $200/night, parking $30/night, not to mention the logistics of moving your gear around.  Add a barista competitor and support people and you're now talking multiple rooms.

 

Instead of helping the people involved lower the costs of participation, staging a competition in NYC is multiplying the costs.  Not to mention that the 2010 event was held at CoffeeFest New York - so much for moving the competition around to reach the other parts of the region.

 

"I just don't get why it's that big a deal to just get it."

Because you've blinded yourself to the fact that some people have other priorities and needs.  They don't "get it" because whatever you're serving does not address their needs or desires.

 

"Even if it's just the discount to compete or judge, it's value enough. Why the resistance?"

Please do tell us the "value" of paying to judge the competitions - multiple times over???

 

As an experienced competitor & tech/sensory/head judge, who is not an SCAA or BGA member, what "value" is there for me?  Why would I spend my own hard-earned money to judge a competition in an expensive location for an organization renowned for not respecting nor appreciating its volunteers???

 

 

"I seem to remember that the SCAA and the BGA were both born of criticism and malcontent regarding the state of the industry in their day."

I seem to have been in this business long enough to observe the innovators and revolutionaries become the "institution."  When those who once called for change are now the very ones who are "battening down the hatches" and circling the wagons.

 

"It is not to be thought of as "bitching" when someone criticizes but as opportunity to better a movement that began with [dissent]."

Not according the SCAA Style of "leadership" where any form of dissent automatically means "conspiracy" and a circling of the wagons...

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