It is important to see the full answer a candidate gives to a question as well as the full rebuttal, so that voters will have the information to make an educated decision as to who is best capable of leading USA Dance during the next term of office in the position of National Senior Vice President – challenger Shawn Fisher or incumbent Bill Rose. Therefore, this recent exchange on the USA Dance Candidates Facebook Forum between Shawn Fisher and Ken Richards, Vice President of DanceSport is provided below.
Question from Dorene Goin to Shawn Fisher: “I understand that you have previously served for several years as the Vice President of YCN for USA Dance. My question is, how much did the YCN program grow during your tenure and how many collegiate dance clubs and collegiate competitions did you sign up in USA Dance?”
Shawn Fisher’s answer: “During the time I served as the VP of the YCN, the position oversaw both the collegiate and youth programs, so I will include both areas. As you know I have a strong personal desire to help grow these programs. I started to ballroom dance in college at Brigham Young University in the 80’s. I was the USABDA chapter president of BYU (back when colleges could register as chapters). I now have been involved with youth and college programs for over 30 years. During those years, whether serving as a USA Dance official or not, I have helped and promoted any youth or college program seeking my assistance. Here is a list of what I (with help from my wife and others) have done or proposed (as YCN VP) for youth/college programs. Youth Programs. 1. Introduced a program to help chapters/dancers set up community youth programs, and then trained several volunteer instructors. Lisa Sandoval in Lancaster California is celebrating her 10th year running this program.”
Ken Richards rebuttal: “I am trying not to take sides in this election, but I feel that I must weigh-in on Shawn’s response above (answer to question 1). As an uncontested candidate I will be working with whoever wins, so I feel it is important for the voting members to understand my perspective. These are the facts and my interpretations as I have been experiencing them firsthand over the past couple of years. I don’t like that almost all of Shawn’s statements above can be summed up into: good things = Shawn and bad things = the GC. This makes good campaign rhetoric but is not reality for me. I know the Dance United supporters are behind Shawn, however, I encourage all voters to look at the merits of each candidate separately and vote less than the full ticket if you think it warrants it. Don’t let the skills of one or two pull others into jobs they may not be suited for. Here we go: 1. Shawn I don’t think you should take too much credit for Lisa’s work. We can of course ask her, but she will tell you that over 10 years ago, I went to California and prepared and presented a power point presentation with her to kick of a dance program to school admins… You were not part of that.”
Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “2. Developed and donated K-12 training materials to implement in school Phys Ed or after-school programs.”
Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues: “2. Please tell us where you donated these K-12 Materials – what programs did you develop and when, what did they look like? Why doesn’t USA Dance have a copy? How come it isn’t being repeated now around the country? I ask because I know a lot of your focus is on your local community.”
Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “3: “Local (eastern Idaho/northern Utah) youth programs have expanded from two 8-couple teams to 15 teams/programs with 1500 participants.”
Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues: “3. The growth of your local teams is noteworthy. But isn’t the expansion of these teams also part of your business? According to your website, you teach these teams and run local competitions for the teams… I am not sure this growth was all based on altruistic intent for USA Dance.“
Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “4. Proposed but rejected by GC: YCN Certification program for dance instructors/chapter members to become certified with state boards of education to be able to teach in the schools. I had a volunteer with extensive experience with the National Federation of High Schools willing to oversee this program. The GC did not contact him for over 8 months (with repeated requests), so he moved on to other projects.”
Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues: “4. The YCN Certification idea was a half-baked proposal to the GC with no content. The program was falling apart and your solution was to strike a deal with a guy you wanted to promote to “National Coach”. We discussed extensively why this was not a good idea and outlined other initiatives that would have been more productive before this was voted down.”
Shawn Fisher’s answer continues: “5. Proposed but rejected by GC: School/Team/Club registration with USA Dance making it affordable for non-competitive youth to be part of USA Dance. Bill Rose has taken up this cause, and it has been now approved but not implemented due to the difficulties in the new membership database.”
Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues: “5. The way I remember the 2012 GC meeting, Bill Rose proposed this after seeing your program and discussing it with you… more of a team effort I would say. Unfortunately it was presented as a discussion with respects to how it should work and who was going to implement it into the Membership System, what to charge – teams/individuals, etc. No final decisions were made in the meeting. So Bill was given the responsibility to make it happen and finalize the plan. When you announced your candidacy for his position a lot of communication broke down and Bill focused his efforts on Chapter support of the Membership Database. As a side note – I am glad you will welcome Bill to “stay onboard” and continue his work with the technology… sounds like an endorsement to me.”
Shawn Fisher’s answer continues and concludes: “6. Currently working with Barbara Wally, director of k-12 programs. Working with Ann Durocher on ballroom programs in Louisiana schools. _______________________ College Programs When I began with YCN, there was a strong foundation in place built by Bill Bennett and Kaye Teague. At that time there were 100+ collegiate programs running. (1998 I think). 1. Proposed but rejected by GC: collegiate registration system for college programs. In general, only the president (club team) registered, and as these changed the contact with the program was often lost. This registration would allow USA Dance to have multiple contacts for each collegiate program. 2. Proposed but rejected by GC: Collegiate Club system. The college students who do register as members with USA Dance continue to be assigned to the local chapter and not their club or team. This is a problem for the chapters because the college students aren’t involved with the chapter, but they have all of their memberships. It is a problem for the college programs because they receive no direct communication (as a body) from USA Dance. Currently there are approximately 5000 college students in college programs, but only 1200 registered with USA Dance (according to 2011 figures). 3. Proposed and accepted by DSC in Aug 2013: Google registration system for college clubs/teams. The plan is to have this functional by Oct 1. 4. National Collegiate Championships: For several years this event was held in a small section of the convention center (Ohio) squeezing in 300+ students from 20 or so universities. I took over the event in 2005 and it is now one of the biggest events hosted by USA Dance. Over 40 universities attend with 800+ students participating. In conclusion, I strongly feel we need to offer services and support to schools and universities for them to feel it is a benefit to be members of USA Dance. This should be similar to the services and support that are available to chapters. These college dancers will be the future members and leaders of USA Dance. Both Yang Chen and I are examples of this.”
Ken Richards’ rebuttal continues and concludes: “6. Please help me understand exactly what you’re doing in Louisiana to help Barbara and Ann? They both are very on-top of these things. The one thing Barbara has been asking for help with for the past two years is with the implementation of a State Games program that we can support. I know you are not helping her with that. But speaking of State Games – I spoke to you about issuing state titles for collegiate events and that went know where. College Programs #1 Not so sure you want to point out that the YCN went from 100+ Collegiate Teams when you took it over to its current state of today. Before you were the Director, the program used to have regional delegates, structure, a comp calendar, and provide support for startup competitions and clubs. It ran an annual week-long training event in Florida and more… yes a lot of good collegiate dancers came from those days – but very little happened after that, while you were in charge. #2 – Good idea. But why is it everyone else’s job to implement your ideas. Just like the Collegiate Calendar and facebook page – the talk isn’t being walked. Contrary to your statement, I disagree that chapters have a problem with College members. In fact many of them now have a liaison to college members because the national scene fell apart. Now think this through… what would happen if we had a bunch of college team members that formed clubs? Would they share USA Dance non-profit status or that of their university, would they run events on USA Dance insurance, etc. What happens when the officers graduate, do they fill out a chapter report, have treasures and minuted meetings to be legit? Shawn – the fiduciary responsibility of an officer/committee chair is to map a plan for success not just drop an idea on the GC with no plan for implementation. Like I said, good idea – where is the rest of it? 3. Yes – you spent well over a year on the DSC to propose a new “google based” way to communicate with the college teams. Of course they are already communicating with us because they attend the NCC. From what I see, mostly Amanda works on the calendar and Daphna on the website. Others have programs running that you have touched. In the 2012 DSC meeting you reported on things you were going to do and in 2013 it was about the same. You also reported speaking with 15 teams in the 2012 NCC and developing a list of things – but no details or actions in the year that followed. Some specific items I assigned to you when appointed to the DSC have never been broached – and that was to provide services to Collegiate Teams by developing a guidebook on running a competition and proposing a melding of USA Dance Rules and Collegiate rules that would make it all come together under the USA Dance Brand. 4 . Yes you are Chair of the NCC organizing committee and that is an important role – but the event is run by a team of people. It is important to not take all the credit yourself.. I am concerned about a future GC that is full of big ideas with no ability to make them reality. Shawn I worry for USA Dance and the possibility of no continuity in the technology support we have now, and the balance of conflict and the actual amount of time you can dedicate. I am not impressed by talk and padded resumes where credit is not shared. I know how much work it takes to be an effective volunteer for USA Dance and hope you are able to focus your efforts, as a volunteer, into one or two areas that align with your skills to help the company soar.”
And there you have the full answer and rebuttal. I know who I am voting for – Incumbent Bill Rose for National Senior Vice President. I am personally familiar with Bill’s work ethic and ability to see a project through to completion. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of USA Dance as National Senior Vice President and our organization needs him. Please support Bill with your vote.