Recruiting and Placing JBQ Officials
Practical Steps to Recruiting JBQ Officials
After you’ve put together the JBQ teams and have recruited coaches for them, what’s next? How do you recruit two additional people for each JBQ team and ask them to give up at least a few Saturdays per year and be a JBQ official?
Here are some tricks of the trade that work for me:
- Think about what will make them happy. Generally, have parents serve as coaches. Then ask teenagers, grandparents, and other non-parent helpers officiate. It’s not really fair for a parent to work with his/her child all month, and then not get to see that child participate at the match. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the child does better with the parent not in the room. If so, the parent might as well officiate or help in the score room. If parents or grandparents do help officiate, try to place them in a room where they can see junior quiz at least a few rounds. I know it’s extra work, but you need all officials to come home happy and want to help next month.
- Find an official’s strengths, and put those strengths to work. People’s skills vary widely. I found out the hard way that I’m a much better quizmaster than coach, and don’t ever trust me to keep score accurately! I know a lady who was a terrible quizmaster. She would do anything for us, but was introverted and uncomfortable in that fishbowl with all the pressure. However, she turned out to be a fantastic coach—and we have the championship plaques to prove it. Others are great scorekeepers (and you need good scorekeepers) but are afraid of the quiz box timer. Teenagers love the quiz box timer, but will die of boredom and never come back if you make them serve as a judge all day. Conversely, seniors love being judges and watching the quizzers up close, with no time pressure.
- Overbook—just like the airlines. When I needed 16 officials, I told 20 people that I was counting on them for Saturday. When four of them backed out, I still had enough officials. If I ended up with too many (how rare is that?), they helped other churches who were short on officials, or I let a coordinator or parent take the day off. Nobody ever complained about getting a vacation day, if they had to be there anyway.
- Find out where each official lives, and work out transportation well in advance. This is especially important for teenagers and seniors who can’t drive. Many seniors are glad to help if someone else will just arrange a ride for them to the match. Don’t expect them to call around themselves and arrange it. They won’t. But if you arrange transportation and have the driver tell your volunteers when the ride gets there, they will enjoy the company and may become loyal helpers. Meanwhile, teenagers are glad to help if they can ride to the match with their friends. This leads to the next point:
- Recruit teenagers.
- Use unlimited free chocolate. I found that if I have a jar of fun-sized candy bars on hand, and JBQ officials have unlimited access to it, teenage girls will show up to help. Then if enough girls show up, boys will start showing up too. That jar of candy is a small price to pay if it yields several good officials.
- Promote JBQ officiating as volunteer-hour opportunities. Volunteer hours are reviewed by college admission counselors, and a JBQ match is a great way to rack up several volunteer hours for a cause that looks good on a college application. Explain this to your high schooler volunteers, and then provide for them signed volunteer-hour forms after they’ve officiated.
- Don’t forget recent JBQ graduates. They seem to like the role reversal and often wish they could still quiz. Since they have probably quizzed in a few hundred rounds, they should know the rules pretty well. Besides, many of them have younger siblings who are still quizzers, so they will be at the match anyway.
- Trust your experienced teen officials. Remember that some of the best quizmasters are 13 years old. It’s true! Who would you rather have as quizmaster? Brother Bill, who leads off the JBQ round saying, “Y’all pray for me. I ain’t never done this before;” or the undersized 13-year-old JBQer who quizzed in 400 rounds over seven years and already knows the rules backward and forward? If the 13-year-old is not a control freak, make him the quizmaster, and let Brother Bill keep time. Brother Bill will be there to make the coaches respect the kid, and you’ll have a room that runs smoothly.
In JBQ, the matches are the reward for months of hard work on the part of a quizzer—not to mention parents, coaches and others. Perhaps these tips can help you avoid quiz-day desperation. Yes, some of these ideas are a little extra work, but aren’t our quizzers worth it? It’s a win-win if the quizzers get the support they need and officials get to hear the Word of God most of the day!