Club Volunteers - You Can Make a Difference!
The following is thanks to Sue Plewes, Coach and Parent
and Volunteer. We hoped it might help us all see
our way clearer in this busy world, and stop and think for a moment
just how much our Clubs depend upon and need YOUR help. Thanks, Sue, for sharing this with us.
About the Club - "YOUR CLUB"
At the present time, there are about 1500 Skating Clubs in Canada.
They represent approximately 200,000 skaters, parents, officials
and administrators of all ages, who are registered as Associate
Members of the Association. The Clubs hold the voting rights and
this control all actions. Each Club may be individual in its specific
programs, but all are the same in principle, to meet the CFSA requirements
for membership. Clubs exist to provide ice, fun, instruction, competitions
and recreation for skaters of all ages and abilities.
To the new skater or parent, the workings
of the Club may be somewhat bewildering. They can be made more
understandable by asking for a copy of the Club's Constitution
and the By-Laws and Rules. Every Club has them and, while they
differ in detail, each is a law for that Club's Members. The Constitution
sets out the objectives of the Club, the rights and obligations
of its Members, the organization and authority of the Board of
Directors and Committees, as well as the membership and fee structures.
Club By-Laws and Rules are usually published by the Board of Directors
to cover day-to-day activities such as conduct on the ice, allocations
of ice time to various groups or categories of skaters, dress
on the ice, music and its use, rights of coaches, arrangements
for lessons, introduction of guests, etc. With this information
one should be able to fit into the Club and its activities quickly
The next step is to meet the Club Directors,
all of whom are eligible persons (formally called amateurs), volunteers,
and the coaches. Together these two groups run the Club.
One group cannot do the job without the other.
These people are always ready to answer questions and give help
or advice, but they must be asked. They can't predict each Member's
As you settle in, keep your eyes and ears
open. Every club needs HELP from its Members. VOLUNTEERS
are needed to supervise various sessions, raise funds, make costumes
and props for carnivals, run Test Days and Competitions, provide
meals for the judges, officials and other workers and be members
of the various committees responsible for running the Club.
You are always welcome to attend your Club's
Annual General Meeting to speak and vote on your own behalf or
that of your child. Most Clubs offer Special or Associate Memberships
to parents for this very purpose. Attend your next General Meeting
and participate, to ensure that the best interests of the Club
are met. Some parents just sit back and let others do the work,
using the Club as little more than a baby-sitting service. This
is far from fair to other Members, who are trying to make the
Club the best it can be. And most of all, unfair to the children,
without more people willing to become involved, even just a little
bit, there would be no Club, and your child would not be able
to enjoy the sport of figure skating and all it has to offer.
Each adult should accept at least one task for the Club each year.
Find out where help is needed and offer to assist. You will quickly
find that when working with THEM – THEY become WE
– and WE are truly part of the Club. Nothing can be accomplished
by sitting on the outside complaining about what THEY do
or do not do. So... become involved. PARTICIPATE!!!
Many parents find working for the Club and
the skaters challenging and satisfying. They become part of the
Club and its spirit and learn a great deal about skating and Club
As time goes on, often very little time, the
opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors or a Committee
may present itself. You may be approached by the Nominating Committee
or by voting Members to stand for election, at an Annual General
Meeting, or the Board may ask you to accept appointment to a vacant
position of the Board. This is a major step that should be accepted
only if you are willing to put the best interest of the Club and
its Members first. You should also be flattered that you were
asked to be part of such an important organization, whose ultimate
goal is providing a terrific opportunity to so many children.
Should you accept this challenge, in preparation
for an appointment as Director, you should review the Constitution
of the Club and its Rules. You should also become familiar with
the rules for the conduct of meetings. You may find, in some cases,
that each Member of the Board will be assigned a task or tasks
that are appropriate to his or her expertise when possible, e.g.
Finance, Administration, Program Design, Music, Costumes, Schedules,
Beginners, Competitors, etc.
The decisions of the Board are made in the
names of all the Directors, including those who may have opposed
them. On motions put forward by other Directors you must be the
one to ask questions, if you have any. Decisions should be carefully
considered. If you do not understand all the details or ramifications,
ASK. The answers will probably help others to see more clearly
also. The ethics of Board Members require that you accept each
and every agreed decision and support it without outside comment
or further opposition.
Hopefully, this will provide some insight
as to how the Club operates and the necessity of Volunteers
willing to give a little of their time to help "THE CHILDREN."
They are counting on you!
Parents/Guardians - Your Role
Parents are the backbone of every Club.
They fill many different roles, such
as Member of the Club Executive, Session Monitor, Competition
Worker, Test Day Worker and/or Supplier of food for the Judges,
Carnival Convenor, Costume Sewer, Ticket Seller, Fund Raiser,
and much, much more... and in the end PAYER OF THE SKATING
Parents should recognize that the Club
is being run for the benefit of all Members, not just one group
or their skater. The atmosphere in any Club is, to a great extent,
set by the adults who are in attendance at the Club's Sessions,
as well as by the skaters on the ice. In order to prosper, every
Club needs skaters of all ages and levels. It is very much a UNITED
WE STAND – DIVIDED WE FALL situation. Parents often forget
this concept and try to influence Club decisions to the benefit
of only their child. In many cases, individuals acting in this
way do not realize that their actions are damaging the Club.
Parents should work for the Club.
Skating Clubs are established and run by the parents of the skaters.
In addition, we now have Skating Schools that are operated by
coaches. Each and every parent has a responsibility to contribute
to the operation of their skater's Club or School, in one way
or another. Paying fees is not enough. There must be something
you can do. Ask the Executive, offer your services and describe
Parents should not criticize the performances of any skaters.
Criticism of a skater's performance by casual comments in the stands,
is inconsiderate and unproductive. Public criticism of one's own
skater is unseemly and confidence breaking for the skater. Such
criticism is often coupled with parental coaching from the stands.
This is generally counter-productive to the professional teaching
and training being paid for by the parent.
- Accounting - financial or competitions
- Engineering - stage construction, lighting,
- Writing – newsletters, programs, correspondence
- Cooking – judges' meals, Club suppers
- Sewing – costumes for Carnival or competitions
- Management – Club Executive, Carnival Chairman
Parents should not attempt to discipline
any skater on the ice. Most skaters are children who make mistakes,
act up or get in the way. The coaches and the Executive are responsible
for enforcing the rules. Report any significant problems to the
Executive and let them resolve it. When parents become unnecessarily
involved, animosities may be built that tend to damage the rapport
within the Club and the friendly relationships between the skaters.
Parents are responsible for transporting
the skaters to the arena and home. A skater who is late for a
session causes delays in lessons and group practices, which may
cause a coach or skater(s) to miss a lesson. Parents "pooling"
transportation can make things easier for many.
Thanks to all our Club Volunteers who do give so much to our
skaters and our sport!