King County Iris Society - An AIS Judge

Member Essay

An AIS Judge, Should I Be One?

How many times have you heard someone say, or said yourself "I'm not going to that meeting, it's Judges Training, that's just for judges". I want to correct this misconception. Judge's Training is designed for AIS Judges but anyone can attend and every one will learn from the information presented at these classes. AIS Judges Training sessions are presented on a variety of topics all concerning our favorite flower. Even to someone who wants to just grow pretty flowers and has no intention of ever becoming a judge these training sessions are important. They will help you understand what the difference is between a poor plant and a good one and why it is important for every gardener to know the difference.

Now if you have attended several training sessions you may think you want to become an AIS judge. With the honor of being an AIS judge comes certain responsibilities and duties. Though judging at shows may be the most visible duty of a judge to the public, it is not the most important. The most important responsibility of a judge is voting the annual AIS ballot for the AIS awards and medals. In this way the AIS judge recommends to the public top quality iris for their gardens by endorsing the very best irises. These awards also encourage hybridizers to produce top quality irises. To vote the ballot knowledgeably a judge must grow a selection of newer varieties of many types. He must also visit gardens during bloom time each year to observe as many irises as possible. This takes a commitment of time and money. The AIS judge is also committed to promoting AIS and it's goals by judging shows, giving presentations when asked and supporting the local clubs. If you are willing to fully take on these responsibilities you will make a good AIS judge.

How do you become an AIS accredited judge? There are several steps in the process and several levels. The AIS requirements are only a minimum and each Region may have additional requirements.

A Brief Summary of the Region 13 Judges Training Program Requirements to be Completed as a Candidate for AIS Judgeship
  1. Make application to the Region 13 Judges Training Chairman for entry into the judges' training program.
  2. Have a copy of the most recent "Handbook for Judges and Show Officials".
  3. Maintain three years of continuous membership in the AIS. However, training to become an Apprentice may start before the three years are complete.
  4. Successfully complete a minimum of two training sessions for a total of ten hours, passing written examinations on each session. At least one hour of this training must be on garden judging and one hour on show judging.
  5. Submit an annual activity report.
  6. Get the recommendation for advancement from five accredited judges.
Requirements to be Completed as an Apprentice Judge<
  1. Maintain continuous AIS membership.
  2. Complete two, two-hour sessions of garden training under different instructors. At least one session must be on some iris other than tall bearded.
  3. Complete two, two-hour sessions of show judging training under different instructors.
  4. Successfully complete a two-hour course on awards and balloting.
  5. Complete all requirements within three years after becoming an apprentice judge.
  6. Complete an annual activity report each year.
Requirements for Maintaining Status as an Accredited Judge

After an Accredited Judge has served the Society for fifteen years a Judge is elevated to the status of Master Judge. This is a lifetime appointment. This class is divided into two sections.

  1. An Active Master Judge must vote their AIS ballot and return their activity reports annually. They must also complete three hours of AIS approved judges training in a three year period. Failure to complete these requirements will result in their becoming Retired Master Judges.
  2. Retired Master Judges are not required to fulfill any of the obligations outlined above, but may not vote the AIS ballot.
Emeritus Judges

Emeritus Judges are appointed by the AIS Board of Directors. This honor is only given to Accredited Judges who have shown outstanding leadership in the AIS at the national level. Emeritus Judges are not required to fulfill any of the usual obligations of other Judges accept to maintain AIS membership.

Submitted by Carla Lankow for the KCIS Newsletter, December 1997