[eDebate] Reaffirming the Importance of Child Care at Tournaments

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Tue Nov 13 16:08:34 CST 2007

Reaffirming the Importance of Child Care at TournamentsThe child care at Wake didn't help me one damn bit!  But I, too, want to give Ross (as well as the Halls and ML) a pat on the back for offering it.

I agree wholeheartedly with Ryan's more general point.  I remember one East region tournament a couple of years ago where I looked around (it was a weekend where Sam Nelson and Will Baker were not there, and Tuna was tabbing the tournament) and realized that not only was I the oldest person in the judging pool, but, at 45, I was the oldest by more than a decade.

I'll have my 13 year-old daughter at Rochester this weekend.  She doesn't need child care, but she's willing to offer some (provided WVU doesn't need an extra debater at the last minute!).

Seriously, thanks to everyone who is stepping up on this issue (and let's not forget the debaters who may need child care to participate).

--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Galloway, Ryan W.<mailto:rwgallow at samford.edu> 
  To: edebate at ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 5:02 PM
  Subject: [eDebate] Reaffirming the Importance of Child Care at Tournaments

  I agree 100% with Sarah about how great it was that Wake helped with child care and that Liberty and Vanderbilt were also willing to help out in this regard.

  Over time, I have noticed more and more people in debate struggle with the conflicting demands of family and life on the road.  And...many of those people leave, at least in part because of family issues.  Mike Janas and Ben Coulter have both cited life on the road after having families as being part of the reason why they left debate.  Others withdraw from the activity, staying tangentially involved and traveling less and less due to the demands of parenthood.

  I think we should do more to get people to stay.  I think we should be encouraging parents to bring their children with them to tournaments so they can enjoy family time while at a debate tournament.  Debate should not only be about the young guns judging and coaching the activity.  At Northwestern last year, Bruschke and I tried to figure out how many people over 40 who were parents were even at the tournament.  The list was shockingly small. 

  There is a place for parents too.  We need to not allow debate to be family unfriendly.  If we want to maximize the number of people who stay in the activity after they have children, we need to make reasonable accomodations at tournaments.

  Three cheers for Wake, Liberty, and Vanderbilt taking the lead on this issue. 


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