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BCO election 2013/14: Answers from Anna (Mara Skywalker)
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Suzijedi (Suzanne Stelling)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:24 am    Post subject: BCO election 2013/14: Answers from Anna (Mara Skywalker) Reply with quote

This thread is for Anna to post her answers.

Only Anna can post in this thread.
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my answers to Johanna's questions:

What have you done in the last year that would be a good example on how you will work to increase both the membership, and the number of members who participate in things outside of trooping at events?
Lets just break the ice here: I was the one pushing to get the forum Camilla promised on the go. While this certainly made me the Moses of NB (dividing the waters), I do think it was a step in the right direction, though I admit, not all liked it.
However, I have seen a lot of "casual" posting on the new board, lots of small build updates, and most importantly for me, I've seen a few non-members joining the board, participating, asking questions and getting to know us. Having a smaller place to go to might have made it easier for new people to take the decision to join us, and I know a few upcoming members, who are now working on their costumes to join RL
We need to decide on the future of the board, and I do have a few ideas up my sleeve - it will be something I will be discussing with all the new regional captains, to make sure ALL members and their opinions are heard on the matter. While I know we have quite a few who don't like the new board, we also have quite a few, who do like the new board, so we need to find a compromise that makes all of us... well, content Wink
Also, my hope is that by involving more people in the leadership of the base, we will have a bigger participating in the everyday life of the base, so we wont just see people pop by once in a while to say "oh hey! I'm going to this troop"
I am not such a Nazi that I will insist on us using the new board of a majority of people do not like it, but it is a discussing I will take with the XO, Regional Captains, and then, hopefully it will result in a poll.
I think some form of chat group would be a nice idea, though it wouldn't be mandatory in any way to participate. We need to remember: We are all here for different reasons, and we have different values, and if someone doesn't wish to be a little social bee, we shouldn't force him or her.
Also, I could see us having a newsletter, much like the NG has it - maybe not every month, but maybe every second or third month, just updating each country on what is going on.
That being said, I do think we should strive towards a more open, talkative environment in our base.
Also, I cannot take full credit for it, but I've been pushing for getting our detachments up and running, and I do think detachments are a nice way of getting people excited and involved. We have enough members to a couple more detachments, and I believe we should work towards forming those.



What is your vision for the base for the next 12 months, and do you have any specific/measureable goals that you wish to accomplish until the next election?

My vision is to make NB come alive! It took me forever to join this base, because it seemed so dead whenever I visited the boards. My thought was: why bother, when nothing interesting is ever going on anyway?
I have many visions for NB and many goals to reach:

1. the first of which being the election of Regional Captains, one from each country, who, along with me and the XO will be responsible for all things NB.

2. Next goal, which will happen alongside the election of Regional Captains is to appoint a BMO, who will be responsible for:

A: keeping track of all our members (along with contact info for them, so we have a way of reaching eacher other, other than the forum)
B: welcoming new members/future members to the base - help them how to find their way around, who to contact etc etc.

This is in part to keep better track of who and how many members we are, and also to make sure all new people are contacted and greeted within a short period of time of them signing up

3. Next goal is to have our website kept up to date! This is VERY important, as it is downright embarrasing to look at, as it is now

Kira has agreed to do this, but in reality, if someone else volunteers, that might be even better. Preferably, I don't want to see too much leadership placed in one country, let alone one house, and Kira is already doing lots of work photoshopping this and that for us (detachment logo for example)
I've been in contact with Janne, and he'll teach the skills to whoever ends up with the position, thanks Janne!

those are three, very measurable goals. I am hoping that the RCs, BMO and Webmaster will be in place in 4-6 weeks after the election, so that the work on things like the webpage can begin as soon as possible.

As for other goals, I really, really want us to find some common ground. We need to learn how to talk to each other, not just in our own countries, which seem to be going fine, but we need to be able to talk across boarders too.

If people are unhappy about something, they need to come forward and say it - the same if there's something they really like. How else will the leadership - or the other members - know what is going on?

Also, as always, we must work on improving our relationsship with the NG - last year in Taastrup, they were actually quite impressed with our "shoot the death star" game, and I think we should have a real brainstorm as to make things like that, so that we are not just tag alongs and extra supporters for NG. We need to show them we can do stuff too

I believe that in order to grow you need to be very aware of your current state. For that reason I would like to hear a short SWOT analysis of the base from you. That means that I would like you to list what you see as the main Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to the base.

Strenght:
Our strenght, RL's strenght, and what sometimes make us much better than the 501st in my oppinion, is the fact that most of us are unmasked and able to show the public a friendly face. We should use this to our advantage when going to troops, or in PR material. We not just the good guys, we're the friendly guys Wink
As a base, I am sure we could and should use our differences to our advantage and make it our biggest strenght. I am sure each country has something valuable to contribute with, and with the regional captains form connections between the countries, we should be able to make use of this.

Weaknessses:
That many members do not visit the boards regularly/reads updates on a regular basis/voice their opinions online for the rest to see. Too many people go bickering around the bush instead of voicing their oppinion for others to see

Meaning: How can we get anything done, if people don't actively participate on the boards/forums? And how will we know who wants what if we have a base where people don't speak up? We need to seriously work on our communication skills, and we need to each take a responsibility for making our base better. A base is only as strong as it's members make it, and if we have no sense of unity, then, NB will never go anywhere.
Take the forum for example. Lots of updates were made on the progress on the board, but no one voiced their dislike of it, until it had aired. Either, they didn't read the updates, or they didn't want to say anything until it was too late. This is a problem, and could have happened with anything else.

Our weakness may also be due to our cultural differences - even though we are neighboring countries, we really are quite different, and we may have different ways of handling things. We need to work past these differences and make sure each country feels like they are truly part of the base.

Opportunities:
We have an opportunity now to start over, begin anew and get everyone involved in the progress. With the election of regional captains NOW is the time for us to unite and do what it is, I hope we all want to do: Raise money for charity!
For myself, personally, I see becoming CO of NB as a great opportunity to make a difference for our base. I wanted to do this last year, but rules permitted me from running for CO. With the formation of a "council" we will have the opportunity to involve ALL four countries in the leadership of NB

Threats:
the biggest threat to our base is the distance between us. We need to work on a better atmosphere, so that the distance and cultural differences will not tear us apart

How do you plan to organize the base? Will it only be you and your XO, or do you plan to make use of other officers. If you plan to have other officers do you want them to act as a council, and in that case do you want to formalize the organization of the base?

As I said, we need regional captains now more than ever, and that they haven't appeared sooner is terrible. With a base as big as this (in means of ground we cover) we need to have someone in each country to keep their eye on things, and make sure the members get all information.
My plan is to start the week of nomination for regional captains as soon as I take office (should I be elected).

While we are certainly not as many members as the NG at the moment, we are spread over just as much ground, and, as such, we need to have something similar to the NG council, making sure people actually know what is going on in each country. I am sure the Finish members feel Denmark is as "shrouded in the darkness", as the Danes feel about Finland. We don't know enough of what is going on with our base members.

So, yes, people will hold official positions, and we will (hopefully) work a bit like the NG council. This means we will have small meetings too, to discuss base related issues.
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am on my way to bed, so most of the new questions will have to wait until tomorrow morning Smile

I'll answer one short one:


Do you have an XO in mind or will you be looking for one once the election is over?


Yes, I have an XO in mind, but as he/she is still considering the "offer", I would rather not reveal the name yet Smile As soon as I am sure the person would like to be XO, I see no reason to hide the name from the members (provided the XO gives me the go, of course Wink )
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are you looking for in an XO?


This has actually been a hard one for me - finding someone who I would consider as XO (which again brings me back to the point that we really don't know each other too well in the base)

My main criteria was: I don't want someone from Denmark. Not that I don't like or trust the 10 members we have here now, but I didn't want both XO and CO to be Danish.

This has also forced me to think outside the box and comfort zone Smile I am most comfortable working with people I know well, but, alas, this wasn't an option here.

I've been looking for someone that I feel I can rely on - both in regards to getting things done, but also someone I can trust to make decisions if I am unavailable.

Also, I am looking for someone who will poke me, if I forget something (which I am sure I will, we are, after all, only human)

And of course someone with whom to discuss the direction we will take the base, and someone who will discuss more difficult topics with me - like if there's bickering amongst the members or something like that.

Generally, someone with a good, common sense, a level head and someone I can talk to Smile

Both of you mention Country Representatives or Regional Captains, what would be the duties of those officers? And how do you plan on finding/selecting them?

there's never been any doubt in my mind that the RCs should be put up for election, to make sure it is truly the person the country wish to see as the RC. I know the charter says that the CO can appoint the RCs, but why would I wish to dictate who should be your RCs?

The RCs will be someone the members in each country can approach if they have issues with the base. As the RCs will speak the native tongue, it should make sure even those with difficulties speaking/writing English are being heard and understood

RCs will help handle any conflicts in their country - and perhaps, if NG is willing to, the RCs could even work together with the CRs from NG. That might make event coordinating etc. easier

Also, I am thinking that the RCs might be the best to handle events in their country (first contact and so on - again, they speak the native tongue Smile )

However, it does NOT mean the RC should always be the EC of any NB events in said country. Of course the RC are free to EC any events they wish, just as any other member, but members should not expect them to always be the EC
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also a question building up a council. How do you feel about a couples/relatives working in the same council? Agree or disagree if it´s a good thing? Why?

Generally, I don't like couples working in the council at the same time. I think it's too easy for a couple to agree on something, and then perhaps affect a vote being that they are essentially two voting for the same. I think couples will very rarely disagree on things in regards to things like leading a base, and as such, I think it should be avoided whenever possible.

I am lucky in the way that I'm married to this girl who has no desire to lead anything. Kira is perfectly happy with me being the "front" figure, which suits us fine as a couple. It's worked like this for years on Skywalker.dk too where I'm the admin and GM of the roleplaying game, as well as the main contact with Dansk Star Wars Loge.

I am lucky in this way Smile

However, I know that we're a very small base, and sometimes it's hard to avoid having couples or relatives both work in some position

This is why I've said that Kira is willing to work on the webpage - but, as I stated earlier, I'd be happier if someone else volunteers for the position, because I'd rather not have both of us be involved like that.

In regards to the webpage though, I believe Kira would be better than having no one do it.

Kira (of course) knows this and is perfectly happy to let someone else handle the webpage.
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Mara Skywalker (Anna)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What will you do to bring RL more into the limelight?
That we manage to work so close with 501st is really great and I would not change that but what I want to see is that the public get to know that we are in fact two clubs.


We need to focus on what it is that we can do to contribute to troops. I already mentioned the Death Star Game we made in Denmark last year, which was actually a huge hit

I am serious, when I say I think we need to think outside the box and find the things we're good at - I mentioned earlier that we're sometimes more accessible for the kids, because they can see our faces. Use this to our advantage. We took turns walking around the floor at Star Wars weekend, chatting with the children and telling them about what they could do at our stand

All kinds of small and fun games where you get to talk and chat with kids - believe it or not - kids LOVE grown-ups who will A: Talk to them B: Listen to them, C: Who dress up as something they like

Combine ABC and you're the hero of the day!

I'm currently working on a small toy bantha I hope to have done by November - then, we'll have both a game of "shoot the death star" and a game of "tail the bantha" (blind folded of course). The kids think it's fun, and as we don't charge more than 5 dkr, it's something parents are willing to give out instantly - and THEN they discover the photostand.... Wink

really, small things like that are steps in the right direction Smile

A simple way to start showing we're two groups is to at least bring some flyers with us to events. They really don't cost a fortune to print out - we did some, when we did our Vejle by Night troop.

What we did at the Vejle troop was this: NG had printed out a lot of flyers, and then Kira, Camilla and I translated a RL flyer - and then, we stapled them together, so people received both an NG and NB flyer at the same time. Sometimes, it doesn't take more than that Smile

I'd of course like to see us have more than flyers in the future, but they're a (cheap) place to start!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Scenario: You are overworked, tired, exhausted, everything seems wrong. How will you make sure that this doesn't affect the work you need to do for NB? This is a hard job "without pay". How are you going to balance your personal life and this work?

First of all: This might sound like a cliché, but really, this is not a job "without pay". It might be hard work, yes, but I WANT to do this. And I am paid in smiles and hugs. Cliché and a little too sweet? Maybe, but truthfully, that IS how I feel. That is how I smile when freezing in the parades, or keep walking when my feet are killing me.
I love kids. I work with them every day, and have done so since 2005 - and yes, I STILL love them. There's been times when I thought: "oh, you know, I wont bother anymore. I wont fight for it anymore" - but then I remember the smiles on the faces of the kids at Odense Children's Ward, or the little girl hugging me in legoland, because Ahsoka's her favourite character. And then, suddenly, I DO want to fight for it again Smile

That being said: I'm not an idiot. I KNOW there will be days when it's hard, when I'm tired, and when I just want to quit it all. Being CO doesn't mean being superhuman, and I do believe it is all right to say: "Sorry. I've had the worst day at work, and I cannot deal with it right now. Shoot me an email, and I will read it tomorrow. Or, if it cannot wait, please do try and reach my XO"

This is why it's important that the XO is someone I can trust Smile

The trick is to keep reminding yourself that you do this because you want to. When you can truly say to yourself: "I don't want to struggle with this anymore" then, it's time to give it up.

And again, I'm lucky enough that my wife is involved in the club too, so she understands that there's sometimes things I need to do - and I get to share all the wonderful trooping experiences with her, which makes it easier, I think. She knows that it is important
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2. Like Anna said, it seems that the "power in the senate" Razz has been too much in one country, mainly Denmark as it is now. What I mean is that the leadership roles have been placed mainly there. How will you ensure that this leadership will be spread and more countries involved in that role?

I think I've already touched this, but I will gladly elaborate a bit more:

If I'm elected, the CO will be from Denmark. My XO will NOT be from Denmark, and I'd hope to see a BMO rise to the occasion from one of the two then remaining countries. That's already three countries involved, and the RCS will make sure every country is heard.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Answers to the rest of the questions will come tomorrow Smile I had an evening meeting at work tonight, got home, had dinner, and then, I've spent the rest of my evening her, reading and answering your questions.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3. Scenario: People are bickering behind people's backs. "Leaders" are bickering behind each others backs. Things are getting out of control and personal and the members are suffering and might not know why. How will you deal with this?

This is actually a very complex question! People bickering behind each other's backs are one thing, if the leaders do it, it's a whole different (and much worse) scenario!

First off, I'm gonna say something to all of us, right now:

stop it!

We cannot ever have a united base, if we don't start talking openly with each other. talking behind each other's backs is what can really tear something good apart.

That being said: we are all humans. And most humans back talk each other from time to time.

I am hoping the election of CRs are gonna eliminate some of the backtalking, as it will (hopefully) mean you all have one individual in your country that you trust and feel you can go to with your problems.

If people feel they are being heard, that in itself often creates less bickering. Of course, you cannot have it -your- way everytime, but just the feeling that you are being heard and listened to will make "no" easier to endure.

We have to acknowledge each other's feelings, and be better at saying "I hear you feel this way, and I am sorry what I did made you feel angry/Sad/overheard/left behind whatever. It wasn't my intention. I cannot change this, but I want you to know, I did not do this to lash out at you"

That goes for all of us.

If I hear of someone bickering behind each other's backs I will approach the individuals, ask what is going on, hear if they think they can solve it themselves, if not, I will try help them talk with each other - or ask the RC to do so, if that is better in the situation.

Being a leader means you have to be able to talk to people (also with the other leaders). I am HOPING all people ending up in leadership positions will have this ability, but if not, I approach them directly, ask what the problem is and how we might solve it.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4. It seems to me that there's been lots of secrecy around making of costumes and what people are doing until it's done. This is of course every persons choice, but at the same time, how will you encourage people to share and to inspire and get inspired by the other members as a unit on this journey? How can we make this more about "us" and less about "me"?

It is hard to force people to stop being secretive about their costumes. I, for one, do not feel comfortable sharing a costume until I know for sure I can pull it off Smile I don't wanna go like: "Hey! I'll make THIS costume" - and then two weeks later me like "uhm, yeah, no....I wont"

And even after that - I suck at build threads! I forgot about updating them, I think it takes forever to upload and copy links, etc. etc.

But it is not out of ill will. We've seen a few build and prop threads at the "other forum" (dramatic music cue, please Wink ) and I've liked that a lot.

Forming more detachments and getting people involved with those might also be a way to raise awareness of having to share your know how.

If you know how to do something. Share it! Smile even if you haven't made the same costume, you might have some skills that can aid another member, and if we sometimes update our build threads with new pictures, we can point at them and say: "Look at that. I attached the zipper this way in my costume, maybe you can do the same?"
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most of us can agree that our base in many cases feels divided. One thing that I admire in the NG is that there have been leaders who have been willing to travel and take part in events all over the territory, in order to get personal contact with as many members as possible. Would you, and your XO, be willing and able to travel outside of your home turf in order to troop?

The main problem here is again the distance. I would love to try and troop in Finland or Norway (I have been to a few of the cons in Sweden, though not recently, as they've always been in weekends where I couldn't go)

However, I work at a school and I can't just get time off from work - getting to Finland would probably mean having to travel Friday and not come back until Monday, and often, that is just not doable.

If time and money was no issue, I would go to many more troops, in all of our countries!

So the answer is: Yes, I would be willing, but I might not be able to.

Some of us might never meet in person. This is why I hope we can create more of a social atmosphere online Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If elected what is the first three things you want to change/do?

I already briefly touched this with the three, first goals I have set for myself:

Get the election for RCs up and running as soon as I take office, find a BMO and a webmaster for the page

Getting the website up to date will be a main priority in the beginning. The Flyers NG handed out in Vejle had our webpage address on it, which is kinda embarrasing, considering how seriously outdated it is! This needs to change

And we need to decide on which forum to use and how to do set it up. This is something I will talk with the XO and RCs about

So, those are my first things to work on Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you think about people trooping in unapproved costumes and how should situations like that be handled?

Naturally, we should try to prevent this as much as we can. If people can just troop in unapproved costumes, then, what is the point of being a member?

We need to define "trooping" though. Is trooping being at the event? Being inside the stand? Being in the photostand? Taking care of the death star game? etc etc.

In order to make any forms of "restrictions" on this, we need to know where we draw the line Smile

Also, lets take one example: Last year in Taastrup at the Star Wars weekend, NG, NB and Skywalker.dk had their stand right next to each other. Most Skywalker participants are also NB members, so no trouble there. However, I do think on one occasion, someone from the public pointed to the few skywalker girls, who aren't part of NB and said "oh, but, we want all of you in the photo". Will I then say "No, sorry, can't do, you see, their costumes aren't approved, so we wont allow them in our photos"?

No, I won't. Sometimes, you gotta give some, if it makes the public happy.

I would never sign up people in unapproved costumes for stand/photo duty, but if a little boy or girl points specifically to someone who is not approved, I'm not gonna stop it. Not to be kind to the member, but the child. We are the good guys after all

Also, the CO has the power to let a member troop in an unapproved costume if it is pending approval, for example, that's in our charter.

But, to sum it up:

Official NB duties should only be performed by members in approved costumes

If I was told about a member who had trooped in an unapproved costume, I would talk to the said member, explain the situation and let them know it is not acceptable.

As for how to handle it in regards to NG handling lots of our events, I'd propose for the EC of any event with signed up NB members to get a list of their names and signed up costumes, and then send it to either me or the XO, and it would then be our responsibility to check up on the list and make sure everything is approved.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you think about the level of communication between the NB and the NG?

what level of communication between the NB and the NG? Wink

no, just kidding Wink

But, it could be much better.

If elected, I will talk to Andreas about how to improve communication between NB and NG - for example letting RCs and CRs work together in each country when it comes to events and stuff. Also, a close bond between the CRs and RCs might improve on your other question in regards to the unapproved costumes, Johanna

Also, we need to work on getting ride of the sense that NB costumes are "less prestigious" than NG ones. There seems to be this idea what NG costumes are "better", than NB ones, and sometimes even the idea that NB costumes cannot be used in photostand.

I think we, in NB should have a talk about how we'd like to contribute to events, and then bring it to NG.

It's about time we find some common ground

Also, I'd like to see the "oh, finally, you've come to the right side" stop. There's no right side. We all help kids. That's the main thing, right? We fight for the same cause, we should be grown up enough to realise that
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