How to Obtain Parent Judges

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I'm the president of a small club in Northern California, and we this year we have almost tripled in size. We expect to continue gaining members quickly, especially when the school year starts. This is all well and good because with people come drivers and school recognition, as well as more of a presence at competitions. But with competitors also comes a need for parent judges! In the past we have been able to make due with one regular parent judge, our coach, but we will need to recruit more parents. I don't know how to get parents interested in speech and debate enough to volunteer a few weekends out of the year to come and judge for our competitions, does anyone have any tips for recruiting parents?

I would suggest asking anyone who has graduated (if you have any), and who are still in the area, if they would be interested in judging a few tournaments when able.

You can also send out a newsletter to parents to explain why volunteers are important for the team. Don't you need a certain number of judges for X amount of students you plan on entering into a tournament (I vaguely remember this from speech)? Maybe let parents know that? (But not in a threatening way!) If you can pull it (I'm not sure how judges are used in California), give parents a round off so they have the option of watching their kid compete?

You could also try a back to school night and invite parents. Inform them of what speech/debate is, maybe have a few kids perform a piece or so, give them some food, and ask anyone interested at the end to sign up for a newsletter and/or for volunteer opportunities to help the club stay strong. If you get to pay your judges, maybe mention there is pay involved as well. Sometimes money helps motivate people.

Also see if there are any teachers on staff who would be interested in making a few extra bucks and judging. There might be some theatrically inclined or past speech and debate people on your staff.


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