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Event Planning Sheets

Our formal events begin in May each year, which means planning must begin in earnest by January at the latest. November or December would be better and not too early, but the combination of finally being done with the events of the preceding year and the inertia of the holidays usually pushes the process into January, when it has to be done.

The event planning sheet is my tool for ensuring that any given event weekend has been adequately planned and settled. A copy of it is here…

For each event weekend, I modify cell A1 to reflect the first date of the event, which is determined by the weekend calendar. If it’s a simple two-day, Saturday and Sunday, event weekend, that’s all I do before printing the sheet. If I know the event actually runs from, say Thursday to Monday, like the Coursing Ability Tests in Kalamazoo, then the date I enter in cell A1 is that Thursday instead, and I adjust the offset in cell A2 from “+1” to “+4” to bump the end date to the following Monday. The dates are displayed with the day of the week and the year, to simplify checking that the right dates have been entered. Once I know the dates are right, I print the sheet. Before moving on to the next event weekend, I undo the changes if I’ve modified cell A2, so that the sheet is always in its default, two-day event configuration.

You may have figured out what this sheet is all about by now. It’s primarily a checklist of the things that need to be done and when they need to be done. The begin and end dates of the event that are populated in cells A1 and A2 determine the values of all of the milestone dates that are present on the sheet. For example, cell C1 gives me the date for closing early entries—3 days before the event begins. At a glance, column A are the milestone dates, column B are the things to do, and column C are my notes and reminders that are associated with the item, particularly any type of event considerations. I’ll go over each of the items in more detail in later posts.

After printing a sheet for each event weekend, I’ll fill in, by hand, the dates, club, event type, and location to better distinguish one sheet from another. Then, I’ll order the sheets by their next milestone dates, so that, as I attempt to make a little progress every day, I know what that attempt should target.

As I discuss event planning this year, I’m going to focus on the events that MGA is hosting, which are these:

  • 9-10 May 2020, ASFA lure coursing trials, Rockwood MI;

  • 21-25 May 2020, AKC coursing ability tests, Kalamazoo MI;

  • 30-31 May 2020, AKC fast coursing ability tests, Maumee OH;

  • 27-28 June 2020, AKC lure coursing tests and trials, Armada MI;

  • 4-5 July 2020, AKC fast coursing ability tests, Monroe MI; and

  • 10-11 October 2020, ASFA lure coursing trials, Rockwood MI.

Initially, I will clip my ordered set of sheets together, and they’ll stay together—along with a cover sheet, which I will discuss in the next post—throughout the early planning steps. Those early planning steps happen quite rapidly for the first few months, and I find it best to have all of the event planning sheets at hand. After that next post, I’ll then show what each of those 6 event sheets looks like currently.

One thing you might immediately notice when I do start sharing the individual event sheets is that the first item on those sheets is “Submit ad for show premium”, whereas the first item on the blank sheet that I referenced earlier is “Obtain rights to use property”. As I discover what works, doesn’t work, or needs adjusting, I’ll go back to my event sheet and incorporate those lessons learned, for next year. If it’s important enough, I’ll track down the current sheets and mark them up. I realized, as I was writing this, that the first step really ought to be ensuring that the venue and arrangements from the previous year are in effect for the coming year. As our coursing ability tests and fast coursing ability tests are done in conjunction with a dog show, I do want to be sure that the show club is planning to be back at the same venue and that they want us to be back with our event. I finally changed the order in the event planning sheet to reflect those thoughts. I’m past that point on the planning for all of the events this year, so there’s no need to modify the individual event sheets that I’ve already printed and been using this year. I doubt that will be the only change I make, given that I’m going to have to explain all of the items on this sheet to someone else over the next few months.

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