Hey Paddlers, now is your chance to give your executive a piece of your mind!
The general meeting October 1 will be an update on the three major projects currently underway at the club and a discussion of the four ideas listed below, lettered A,B,C,D (regular meetings, private storage, equipment access, and a seventh paddling program).
I hope you can come out and be a part of the meeting.
The club is currently working through three major projects; 1) a financial review and forward plan, 2) an overhaul of our storage facilities, 3) a dock expansion. To guide us through these projects and into the future I came up with five fundamental values that I believe have been, or should be, considered in planning for the future and how we spend our time and money. These five keys are to keep VCKC relevant to our community’s needs, enabling a future for VCKC into the decades ahead.
#1 Strive to be relevant to the needs of our community. As much as possible work at gearing program activities to younger memberships.
#2 Keep teaching paddling skills to beginners. Keep trying to raise the skills of all paddlers.
#3 Maintain a level of fun and community within the club (and outside the club).
#4 Keep club facilities in good order. Provide equal access to club facilities. Keep club facilities current to meet the needs of our community.
#5 Keep club paddling equipment in good order. Provide equal access to club paddling equipment. Keep the types of paddling equipment available that will meet the needs of our community.
I doubt any of these five points are seen as radical departures of what we are all comfortable with. Indeed, I think we do a pretty good job of them and in large part, that is how we have 50 years of success.
I have a few suggestions for how VCKC might make some slight changes to improve our club. Hopefully the changes will help VCKC change with the times. They are not suggested as a package; some ideas might be good, others not so.
#A Stop having our regular general monthly meetings. Attendance is very low and getting lower. This tells me we are not doing anything at these meetings people care about. Some years ago the monthly meetings were where you would meet up with like minded paddlers and set plans for the month. The computer age has filled some of the meet up need.
Program meetings can better target people’s interest but currently a successful program meeting reduces the general meetings attendance.
Parties and events are better attended than the monthly meetings.
So, I suggest:
Promoting program meetings that are open to anyone, hopefully advertised in the newsletter. Programs would only have meetings when it makes sense. There is no need to create monthly program meetings.
Promote general celebrations/meetings such as June barbecue (solstice paddle), September barbecue, Christmas light parade/party.
Promote AGM in January to elect executive and communicate with members.
A suggested calendar might be:
January: Second Tuesday AGM
March: Second Tuesday, a mini presentation by each program to advertise and show off what they do through the year.
June: Closest Friday to solstice, evening paddle and Barbecue
September: Second Tuesday, welcome back Barbecue
December: Second Saturday, lighted boat paddle and party
#B Private Storage
Our current private boat storage provides a few lucky members very reasonably priced storage. Without equal access we are violating goal #4 above and equally as important, our Landlord has mandated we make a change to this inequality. We must show we are making steps in this direction at our next lease renewal.
We also have have some individuals renting lockers. This too is not equally accessible and will need to be rectified. (As I have mentioned before I believe the best solution is to reclaim the upstairs room as usable meeting space and provide free day use locker space in the basement. When the new compound storage is completed the basement can be retooled to better suit the club’s needs.)
#C Allow greater access to club equipment.
Much of this proposal has been a common practice through the years but as far as I know on a haphazard, informal way. I propose a more formal policy that will provide greater and more equitable use of club equipment and possibly increase the number of instructors and increase members taught to a higher skill level.
Currently individual use of club equipment is limited to the Upper Gorge. I propose members be allowed to take club equipment anywhere they want to paddle! I know this sounds crazy but I have a few caveats that might make it work for the club and individual members.
- You must have the approval of the program director and it can not interfere with club programs.
- To take boats farther away than the Upper Gorge you must not be using them for profit.
- You must have in Instructor Certification for the type of boat you are borrowing.
- You can’t exceed the Instructor/student ratio of your certification.
- You must be using the equipment in accordance with your certification eg. Lakewater, Ocean, etc.
My reasoning here is:
- As more and more people find their living arrangements do not allow storage of large paddle craft, club’s equipment could fill the need. (This helps address club’s storage issues.)
- As costs rise, using club equipment is economical for young families and individuals.
- Requiring individual borrowers to be Instructor trained, raises the skill level of the individual and as they paddle with their friends and others they will naturally be increasing the skill level of others. This scenario is the perfect place for leadership development. (This helps address #2 above.)
- Our policy already provides financial assistance to anyone seeking to obtain Instructor certification. (This helps address equal access, #4,#5 above)
- Hopefully there is a fun factor in all this, taking trips hither and yon. (#3 above)
- This is not as unusual an idea as might first appear. Through the years, individuals that have attained a level of skill and leadership have used club equipment for personal trips. This is just making the option known and available to anyone wanting to take advantage of this sort of thing.
#D Add SUP program
To keep current with the greater paddling community, thereby meeting the needs of a younger paddling demographic, I suggest adding a seventh paddling program.
- reach a younger, next generation VCKC member.
- increased club expenses. (This is not unique. The club, in recent years, spent money to train kayak instructors in hope of building the program. We have recently spent money to rebuild a Dragon Boat program. We spend money very well.)
- increase SUP paddler skill level.
- provide social, fitness and paddling opportunity.
- increase pressure on club facilities including storage.
- more club equipment to repair
In summary, there are four items here. Obviously I think they have merit. I think they are mostly small tweaks to a system that has served VCKC well for years. I would like you to consider each point and you can bring your comments to the general meeting, October 1 or send an email to the executives@VCKC.ca.
Some of these ideas I believe will increase expenses, others might increase responsibilities of program directors, some might do both. People are expecting to hear about possible changes at the October general meeting. We will talk about our new Financial Plan, our new Storage plans outside, and our plans for the dock expansion. I would also like to talk about these ideas at the general meeting.
You can email me, or save it for Tuesday.