Q&A with Candidates 2022 – 1 of 2

Question 1: How do you see yourself managing your work/life balance along with the time commitment of board members?

Kathy Haney: I have been managing that for the last 3 years during which I have been a Board member.  I am currently semi-retired from the business my husband and I have run for the past 30+ years.  Spending a lot of time babysitting young grandchildren, but can use my flyball board time to relax from that, lol.

Russell Evans: My family life and my work have always been my priorities. Finding the required time to satisfactorily support being a board member will be a challenge, but a welcome challenge. Flyball has been an important part of my family since 2003 and we’ve always managed by working together. Communication and understanding expectations are vital in this regard.

Emily-Rose Allred:  I am very lucky to have a job that allows me to take care of many personal matters while at work. I’m in a position where my job is not time intensive nor particularly emotionally needy. I have a lot of energy and time to give to another outlet. 

Meagan Langs: I know that board members are expected to attend and participate in board meetings and various committees.  I also know they are expected to help with the hosting of CanAm every year.  If elected I will be able to actively attend and participate in board meetings, and at CanAm.  I also promise to not take on more than I can handle during my term. On a personal note, my “kids” are my dogs & cat.   My husband works from home and takes care of our fur kids when I am away traveling for flyball etc. I have the support of my family to live out my flyball dreams.

Question 2: Being on the board sometimes requires compromise or even sometimes things not going your way. Even if the vote or item doesn’t go your way, are you willing to support the stance of the majority?

Meagan Langs: I understand majority rules.  I also understand that I need to be supportive of the process.  One of the things that makes NAFA so amazing is that we do have a say on things.  Voting is awesome and I am thankful for the opportunity to do so even if I don’t always agree with the end result.  I also know that just because something goes one way for a time it doesn’t mean than things can’t change down the road.  I have found that many things in life and in flyball come full circle.  So, if things don’t go my way at a certain time, it doesn’t mean it won’t change if I stay positive and play the long game.   I am not going to quit NAFA, the board, or flyball because I don’t like a particular vote or decision, and neither should anyone else.

Emily-Rose Allred: I have worked almost a decade in and with animal rescue. I spent a lot of time compartmentalizing and having to work through decisions I didnt agree with, as well as having my mind changed over time with stances I didnt think I would ever come around to. Having an open mind is crucial in situations like this.

Russell Evans: I would always support the majority decision. That is the only way a board can function in support of NAFA members.

Kathy Haney: Absolutely.  I have done it in the past, on the NAFA Board, while running our flyball club and in my professional life.  None of those are dictatorships and you always have to realize that there is a reason and need for having more than one opinion.  Board decisions are made by the majority after research and discussion.  In order for this to work all members need to stand by the final decision, whatever side of that decision they are on.

Question 3: What are your thoughts on flyball equipment specifications (e.g., boxes and jumps)?

Emily-Rose Allred: Flyball is evolving and changing. It only makes sense that the equipment should be changing. I have really liked what ive seen since the box  size change and as a club have discussed the larger jumps. While I know there will be a cost factor which would be difficult for many clubs I do think that larger jumps are the way that the sport is trending. I think we need to make sure we are evaluating safety in the sport as dogs are only getting consistently faster. 

Kathy Haney: I believe there is always room for improvement and that the sport of Flyball needs to keep evolving.  I am in favor of any changes that improve and/or make our sport safer and more efficient.

Meagan Langs:  I think we need to be open to exploring new and safer equipment and options for our dogs and people.   As a team captain I fully understand what it takes to buy equipment, haul equipment and replace equipment.  I also know that it will cost money, it will be more to carry, and it will be expensive.  Do I want to have to buy the equipment, build the equipment, or haul bigger heavier equipment?  No, I don’t.  However, my inconvenience is not more important than dog safety.  I have run on wider jumps as recently as last month at a flyball tournament.   I can promise you it was safer for the dogs.  Our dogs ran on the wider jumps one week and then attended another tournament on the usual smaller width jumps the following week.  Afterwards we discussed did we see any issue with the big jumps?  Did our dogs perform differently from one week to the next? Everyone I have talked to has only had positive things to say about the wider jumps.  Additionally, our dogs didn’t have any issues adjusting from the big jumps back down to the smaller width jumps the following week, the dogs seemed to adjust accordingly.  I believe the dogs will and could run faster on the wider jumps if given the opportunity to use them long term.  If you truly don’t believe wider jumps are safer take some time to review videos of dogs crashing over the jumps.  I am sure some instances you would still have injured dogs but if it decreases the amount of injury by even a few dogs isn’t it worth it?  As we all know sometimes crashes happen and there is literally nothing you as a handler, or a team member could have done to prevent it.   Anything we can proactively do to make the sport safer for the dogs is something we should seriously consider.   

Russell Evans: I like the idea of wider jumps and would like to see this become part of the racing standard. Like you, I’ve seen collisions from time to time and all reasonable steps must be taken to avoid them.

Regarding flyball boxes, Section 1.1 (e) (v) of the NAFA Official Rules of Racing, “Judges have the discretion to declare a box unsafe and therefore not usable” is a very important point. Boxes in poor repair should be excluded when a judge makes such a determination.

Question 4: Do you have any skills that could help the board (marketing, programming, accounting, etc.)?

Russell Evans: I’m formally trained in project management and have extensive experience with planning and writing.

Kathy Haney: Nothing specific, but I am willing to help out in whatever is needed and will put in every effort to build up our sport, making NAFA a welcoming, fun organization for people and their dogs

Meagan Langs: I am good at getting people excited about flyball, flyball tournaments, flyball practice, etc.  Regardless if I am captain or a team member I have been the “team communicator” for years. I think it is important to communicate with people in a positive way.  Find out what they are thinking, explain why certain things were decided, and let them know you hear them, even if what they are saying doesn’t fit with the plan right now.    

Emily-Rose Allred: I’m pretty infectious on social media. I think the board has done an amazing job the past few years getting flyball out there and can only hope to help grow the sport. I think continuing an online presence and making flyball accessible is so important. Racing is only fun if we have clubs to race! 

Getting to Know the Candidates 2022: Meagan Langs

My name is Meagan Langs and I have been playing our great sport for the past 15 years. In flyball I have participated as regional director, co-captain, and most importantly, a team member.  In my professional life I am a paralegal with extensive experience in assisting with drafting correspondence and various legal documents along with cross-functional expertise in social media, sales, management, training, and education. Prior to working in the legal field, I worked as a teacher for twelve years.  I strive to find ways to help increase productivity and efficiency with positivity.    

I live in Mesa, Arizona with my 4 dogs, 1 cat, and my husband Chris.  We have had a wide range of flyball dogs:  a rescue height dog, pure breeds and a purposely bred flyball mix.  My background helps me see the different perspectives people have within our sport.   I believe it is important to see the individual pieces that make up the big picture when making decisions as our sport moves forward and becomes more mainstream in the world of dog sports.