Like any organization, the BJCP receives its fair share of criticism for our shortcomings, but once in a while we also receive a letter like the following. We're making this public (with permission) because we feel that not only is this particular praise well deserved, but it's representative of the "above and beyond" activities of so many of our volunteers.
This should make all BJCP members feel good, just to be part of an organization that included people like this.
For years, I wanted to become a beer judge, but was worried that I just did not have the breadth of required knowledge. Finally, I decided to take the BJCP Exam, feeling quite certain that it was a challenge that I would probably survive. Unfortunately, the majority of my fellow club members had already taken the exam, so I sought an exam that was scheduled elsewhere.
The closest exam was a 7-hour drive away in Cincinnati Ohio. I contacted the exam proctor, expecting him to tell me to mail the $50.00 exam fee and not much else.
Instead, Jeff Seeley welcomed me to his club's BJCP exam. He not only immediately offered me a place to stay, but in the weeks leading up to the exam, he answered my questions and even emailed me the link to the BJCP Study Guide.
When preparing for the BJCP exam, most individuals have the benefit of studying alongside fellow club members at study seminars. Not having this advantage, at times I felt isolated, frustrated and overwhelmed by the comprehensive nature of the exam. Mr. Seeley gave me the reassurance that I needed to motivate me to continue studying.
Once in Cincinnati, Mr. Seeley and his wife made my husband and me comfortable and welcome in their home. They fed us dinner, gave us their guestroom (forcing Mrs. Seeley's visiting brother and his fiancée to sleep on the couch!) and even entertained my husband while I was squirreled away preparing for the next day's exam.
I was impressed by the professional way in which Mr. Seeley and his assistant proctors administered the BJCP exam. The exam process was fully explained, everyone's questions were answered and we were even supplied with paper, pens and words of encouragement. After the exam, Mr. Seeley treated the entire bunch of bleary-eyed examinees to a round of beers to celebrate our accomplishment.
Jeff Seeley is the perfect example of a BJCP member who not only "encourages the educational advancement of people interested in the evaluation of beer and related brewed products," but is someone who actively promotes the BJCP program by going above and beyond the call of beer judges. Any BJCP member who helps a stranger realize her dream of becoming a beer judge is truly outstanding!
Without the support of Jeff Seeley, I would still only be wishing that I were a BJCP judge, instead of actually being one.
St. Catherines, Ontario