The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Dear Affiliate members:

It’s almost that most wonderful time of the year again.

No, not Christmas—Contest Time!

As always we are trying to tweak the contest and make it as efficient as possible. Our team is working diligently to instill sufficient checks and balances to make sure it runs smoothly this year.

A couple of changes I wanted to get out to the affiliates as quickly as possible, before the next Report comes out in December.  (And by the way, wasn’t that last Report great. Thanks Mari!)

1. The contest beginning date is now January 1, 2017 rather than December first, like in years past. After discussion with the committee we realized the original two-month time period for submission was set up to accommodate snail mail. Now that the entire contest is electronic there is no need for such a long submission time.

2. We are doing away with disqualifications—except for having your name on your manuscript—that is one that will have to remain.  Rather than disqualifications for not following correct procedure your entry will be given a lower score, but will still be judged and you will still receive feedback on your writing. The odds of winning will not be in your favor, so please continue to pay careful attention to the category rules.

3. All categories will make. After doing the math and doing the math, it just doesn’t compute monetarily to require a certain number of entries in a category to make it qualify for a winner. However, should a category not have many entries it will be evaluated and possibly dropped from the next year’s list.

4. Number four is not really a change in the rules. In fact, it is a gradual procedure change that slowly morphed into an expected procedure that actually has caused a lot of the confusion in the contest. Now did that confuse you? I’ll explain. Originally if manuscripts came in to the chairperson in the snail mail days and the authors did something that would disqualify them, like say didn’t double space, they were simply disqualified and they didn’t know about it until after the awards ceremony and they got their entries back. Then came the email entries and some very kind hearted chairpersons. They would see that someone did an entry wrong and email it back to them telling them to fix their mistakes. This was not a requirement of the chairpersons, just some going beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately, this made the chairpersons who didn’t take the extra step look as if they weren’t doing their job, which they were. (Wow, this explanation is getting wordy.) Some became upset because they were disqualified while others were given a chance to fix their entries. So here’s the new (or rather the old) deal. Once an entry has been submitted the chair will simply notify that it has been received. If it has mistakes, it will be scored lower. If it has the author’s name on the piece, it will be disqualified and the will find out the old fashioned way—at the awards ceremony.

I hope all of this is helpful to you. Please, if possible, go over these changes with your groups and start getting those entries ready to submit. Let’s make contest 2017 the best ever.


Christine Jarmola