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Anatomy of NABC Child Care
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A number of us read the two posts from Gloria Tsoi about the ACBL cancelling their advertised child care at the Hawaii NABC.  Not surprisingly, many of us had varied views and reactions to this. In general, however, a number had concern that the cancellation had occurred so close to the start of the tournament. Additionally unsettling was that why the last minute cancellation happened was unclear.

Today, Jay Whipple shared with me what has now been posted on the tournament website. Jay is busy with days of BOD meetings, so I am sharing the ACBL post with you - along with some of my own thoughts.

 

Child Care

For those attending the Honolulu NABC requiring child care, the Hilton Hawaiian Village recommends Sitters Unlimited of Hawaii; (808) 674-8440.

In the past, child care services at NABCs have been provided by Donna Compton, who administered the program independently. The ACBL provides supplies and space. We are extremely grateful to Donna for making this program possible for many years.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village requires proof of liability insurance for child care services to be offered on their premises, and made ACBL aware of this three weeks ago. While the ACBL was open to purchasing the necessary insurance rider — and had, in fact, obtained the necessary paperwork and forwarded it to the Comptons for completion — Chris Compton suggested cancelling the program because only one family had signed up. He indicated they would contact that one family and make alternate arrangements. 

We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of the program.

Because the Comptons have chosen to stop administering the child care program, the ACBL is evaluating provision of the service at future NABCs. There are no arrangements in place for the Spring NABC in Memphis.

Before I address any of my personal thoughts on what is now posted at ACBL, a bit of history for all of us.

Gloria told us in her original email that this was the reason she was given why child care would not be offered: 

The ACBL has run into insurance problems with the hotel at the Hawaii NABCs. Unfortunately, this means we cannot operate the childcare. I would suggest calling the concierge at the hotel in which you are staying and ask them for a list of child care agencies.

So sorry for the late notice. I was just notified this morning.

Donna Compton

In one of Gloria’s posts about these issues, though, she shares this regarding contact with Donna:

PLUS when I emailed Donna to pre-book back in August, she replied: “At this point, I do not have the sitters arranged. The local agencies don’t usually book this far out. We will certainly be able to care for your daughter”

And Gloria provided this last statement (prior to what I received from Jay today) on one of her posts:  

“Legal counsel has advised us to extricate ourselves from this. This is a legal mine field and we have no business providing this service…before service can be offered all employees would have to have screening and certification of employees before any service can be offered.“

”I am sorry we can not accommodate your situation in Hawaii.

I will not attempt yet another explanation. Please contact the ACBL HQ for the official explanation.”

 

I have a number of reactions and emotions.  The first is that IF Gloria’s child was the only child that would be taking advantage of child care in Hawaii, then I have a fair amount of sympathy for the Comptons thinking that cancelling might be better.  I’ve always thought that for every other NABC, there were a number of parents who took advantage of Donna’s excellent program.

But, as I read through what Gloria had shared and what was posted at ACBL, I became quite confused.

Gloria’s first inkling that the ACBL might not be providing child care was the message from Donna. That message said nothing about Gloria’s child being the only child currently in the program. It said that the program itself could not be operated legally due to “insurance problems”.

Jay’s response to Gloria seemed to confirm the lack of insurance and “legal issues”.  “Advised us to extricate ourselves” and “this is a legal mine field and we have no business providing this service” again seems to highlight that the problem was liability.

No mention in Donna’s apology that parents are not signing up their children, nor in Jay’s response.

To me, at least, this is all still a bit disconcerting.

I can understand almost no one signing up and thus deciding the service should be canceled. I can understand discovering that Hawaii now has more rigorous insurance requirements that would make the child care planned most difficult.

What I do not understand is that it seems Gloria was not given a straightforward answer. (My apologies if I am incorrect here.)  It does seem, however, given that the latest statement asserts that efforts were in the works to get the required insurance, that in the end, it was not the insurance at all that is causing the cancellation.  It was the lack of anyone signing up – other than Gloria’s child.

I am very glad that the latest post about the child care has a meaningful apology.  Yes, this matters.

Yet, as I stated earlier, if you have a child that cannot stay alone, then losing promised care is a Big Deal to your “enjoyment of the game,” as we say – or frankly, to any game at all!  And, for those who now are not able to recoup costs for airfare, hotel, etc., that, too is a Big Deal.

So personally, I wish that the League might have considered additional options for Gloria, especially as we now know that this cancellation was not affecting a number of different families, but Gloria’s alone.

Perhaps the League could have offered a subsidy at an established care center in Hawaii so Gloria’s costs for care would not have been extraordinary. Perhaps there would have been people at the tournament who might have been willing to babysit for Gloria’s child – and – the League could do some research on that matter?  (I like to think that it might not be against the law for a parent to have one adult watch their child!)

Perhaps even just being much more sympathetic to Gloria’s plight … Looking for solutions, being kind, letting her know that everything would be done to allow her and her husband to compete while her child had good care – all this would have led to a member who still might be somewhat frustrated, yet perhaps would not be anywhere as angry and upset as Gloria is.

Please note that my comments are not an attack on any one individual or any specific aspect of the ACBL. I realize that the organization has many roles, many people involved – and difficult issues that have arisen as the world has changed over the decades.

Yet, in my mind, some principles remain fixed. People like to be valued and appreciated. People like to feel as if you are “on their side” and trying to help them when something goes awry.  People like to be told the facts, so they may be able to participate, too, in solutions. 

No matter who we are in the bridge world:  Board member, management, director, longtime expert or newbie player – trying to do more for others and just “being nice” can go a long way.

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