Letter From The President – March 2009

Letter From The President – March 2009

Dear Curler,
As we move towards April, we prepare to shed April showers of tears as the season comes to an end…
Unfortunately my work commitments at the rink mean I am unable to attend the AGM, so this is my President’s report.

As you know I decided when I took over as President that it would be a good idea to communicate more regularly than once a year, and thanks very much for all the people who have told me that they have enjoyed my missives.
Some people have told me that they haven’t enjoyed them, which is also fair enough!

I had two main objectives for the year when I took over.
The first was that since the previous committee had all stepped down with the exception of Jules and myself, it was important to get the leagues running and administered.
That’s the prime reason for the club existing, and the feedback I have received has been that things have worked well – Lizzie in particular has done a superb job as Games Secretary with no prior experience at all, and Jo has used her bean counting knowledge to keep the treasurer side of things under control.

My second objective was to get 50 new players on board. I have long insisted the ECA should set this kind of target, and was a touch disappointed that when our target was read out at their AGM, it was met with sniggers.
However, I can report that we have had the best part of 40 new players taking part. Not all of them have become members, but it’s a great figure in my book, showing what can be done by setting a target and working towards it.

The Open League in particular saw a lot of new faces from earlier in the season who wanted to join the league structure, and to have club players come up to me and ask who various people were is something to be welcomed as it indicates growth.

The rink supported the club by allowing us to display our leaflets and posters, on which Adam had done a great job. He also arranged the range of club clothing which has proved very popular, so well done to Adam for that.
The rink also supported the club by increasing the discount on ice fees, despite a huge rise in electricity costs which meant a rise in the rate for private bookings.

The club had success for members at national level, with 8 regular players winning in the Ladies, Mens and Mixed events.
We also had club players play for England in the Mens and Womens Europeans, the European Mixed Doubles, and we also provided the first ever England girls junior team.

All in all I think it has been a good season, with members enjoying some good curling – that’s what the club is about and I would like to thank the committee for their work and their support of me as I took on the President role with somewhat of a bull in a china shop approach.

This is my last President’s letter – not just of the season, but as President.
Many of you know I have expressed many views on how I think the sport could be moved forward, and my views about how the ECA should operate as national governing body are so at odds with what actually happens, that I no longer feel it appropriate for me to President of an ECA member club.

As a consequence I am stepping down as President, effective at the end of the AGM.
Having told the committee of my decision, Jo Ostermeyer has been serving as Vice President, and is nominated to take over as President at the end of the AGM.
I join the other members of the committee in giving Jo my full support, as I’m sure you all do too.

I hope you have a good summer, thanks again for your kind words. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me or any member of the committee. My personal email is gordon@gordonbryan.com

I’ll sign off by wishing you health, happiness and good curling!

Gordon Bryan
SECC President 2008/9

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Letter From The President #5

Letter From The President #5 – 10th June 2008

Dear Fellow Curler,

I hope this letter finds you well.

The ECA held its’ AGM on Sunday in Sheffied.

I wasn’t able to speak to the Presidents of Glendale or Preston, as
they weren’t there, and in fact time went pretty quickly for those
that were!
The council held a meeting before the AGM, and had a lot of ground to
cover in the 2 hour time slot.
In fact it went on until just before 5, and any talking afterwards was
curtailed by a cleaner telling us to leave, albeit politely!

I felt it was a hugely productive meeting.
The feedback from the review questionnaire had clearly been taken on
board, and I got a distinct impression of a council which wanted to
adapt in line with these views, and make themselves more connected to
the membership.

There had been a clear leaning in the responses to change the ECA
voting system to 1 member 1 vote, and a such a proposal for this
change was put forward and passed.
There were 2 caveats attached, those being that no proxies would be
allowed, that anyone wanting to vote would have to attend, and also
that the AGM would continue to be held centrally.
The idea behind these caveats was that it would foster attendance and
participation in the process, in effect getting something back for the
council for the 1 member 1 vote change.
This seems fair enough to me.

Personally I could have gone with proxies and a changing venue, but
the counter argument was put that actually taking part is important,
and that it could be made more of a social affair.
It was also suggested that a coach could go up with the southern
members on, and a coach could come down with the northern members on,
and we’d all have a chinwag when we got there!
That could work as an idea.

I cast the club votes in favour of this proposal, as a change to 1
member 1 vote allows real opportunity for those that want to act on
their views to change things – they can make a proposal, state a case,
and if enough members approve then wallop! it gets changed.

There was another proposal put forward, but I’m going to get
clarification on some questions before I tell you about that one.

The council took on board that some newcomers to the game had the
impression that the ECA was charging money for subs, but not giving a
lot back.
Steps will be taken to counter this impression, including better
communication, Q&A sessions with council members, possibly ECA events
for non elite players.

It’s my view that all these steps taken should be applauded, and the
council can now be viewed as inclusive to new members and their views.
I don’t actually think the council could have done more, and it was
refreshing and encouraging.

A lot of people on the council, like President Sarah McVey and
Secretary John Brown have been working for the interests of English
curling for year after year after, er, year.
There is a definite desire for new people to get on board, and a
frustration that a lot of people seem happy to voice opinions, but are
not prepared to actually get involved with the genuine effort.

As such, new volunteers are sought.
In particular someone is needed to take on the publicity and marketing
effort, both to promote the ECA to the membership and to promote the
game externally.
If you feel you could help with things like this, maybe sorting out
distribution of an ECA newsletter, then get in touch either with me or
John Brown.
Any offer is appreciated.

Also it was decided to have 2 Area Reps instead of the previous 1.
This will help to improve the flow of communication, which is never a bad thing.
Any club member can do this role, and James Hustler is 1 southern area
rep, so there is a space for another as well if that interests you.

I spoke to committee members from Glendale and Preston, about the
Interclub tournament.
Whereas the other clubs have a trophy they can play each other for,
the SECC had not been involved in that at the Interclub, and Adam
Bermange had suggested it would make our club more in the loop if we
played the other clubs for a trophy.
Both clubs seemed keen on the idea, so we’ll hope to progress that.
I also spoke to London Curling Club (formerly POL) President Susan
Young who agreed, although strictly speaking didnt need to go to
Sheffield to do that!
Maybe you’d like to donate your own trophy to play for!

The dates for ECA Competitions were announced, but I will probably be
writing again later this week or next, so will cover those then.
(I might call that Letter 5 and a half, I haven’t decided yet…)

Enough for now I reckon!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness
Gordon

Letter From The President # 4 – 29th May 2008

Letter From The President #4 – 29th May 2008

Dear Fellow Curler,
I hope everything is well with you – I know that a lot of members are now starting to take part in summer bonspiels, so don’t forget to keep us updated!
A diary on the forum would be a great read, and I can put pics on the club website if you want.

The club committee met this week.
Again we are big steps forward.
I’ll keep this letter on the brief side (although don’t hold me to it), because you need to stand by your inboxes.

The games calendar is done – teams, draw dates, the lot.
Lizzie has done a great job on this, to have it ready within 2 months of the season end is something the previous committee took steps to achieve, and for it to be done is a great achievement as it allows us to focus on refinements from there.
After a dotting a couple of t’s and crossing some i’s, it will be be hotfooted to you.

Our DAP funding spend is coming along nicely too. We were awarded another $800, so that’s $2000 in all we obtained in the last 2 months, and it will all be spent towards club development, and our season target.
The DAP funding comes from the WCF, and we are now into the next year’s worth of available funds, a possible $12000 for English curling, so if anyone has ideas about things we could be doing, feel free to let us know!

Treasurer Jo has fleshed out our sponsorship proposal, and this will also be available shortly for any member to send to anyone they think might be a potential sponsor, another move to allow the whole membership to contribute to growth.

She also made an appearance on local radio in Maidstone, talking about her catching the curling bug, with several plugs for the club and the rink.
It’s well within our catchment area, and is densely populated, so I’d love to see more curlers from that part of the world.
Again, if you see any opportunies for promotion that you think would be good for the club, let us know.
People are already doing this, so the more the merrier.

I will be going to the ECA AGM in Sheffield. I won’t be speaking to the AGM, as there is no precedent for it if I’m not proposing a motion.
Instead, I will aim to talk to as many people there as possible, the other club Presidents and the Council members.
I aim to ask them what was done over the previous 12 months to develop the game, and what the plans are for the next 12 months.
This will hopefully allow me to get a greater understanding of anything I wasn’t previously, and also means that everyone who maybe doesn’t know much of the SECC will be fully aware of our plans, and can compare/integrate with any ECA initiatives.
There are undoubtedly council members who don’t have the faintest idea who I am, but they soon will…

Ok, don’t forget to check the 6th Sep for the BBQ, and along with the games details, you’ll be getting membership forms to sign, and the members’ directory is not too far away either.
I imagine I’ll find an excuse to write along with that lot, I normally do, so will sign off until then.

Ooh, before I go, speaking of the directory, what we would like is to have people who are prepared to do station pick ups, and can be listed as such.
Until now this had been organised by James in his Games Sec role, but this will not be the case next season.
I know a lot of local members expressed interest in helping club logistics, and a non commital offer of station pickups would certainly help.
Please let us know if you feel you could do this.

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness
Gordon
P.S. Don’t forget the website for news updates and archives:
http://www.southofenglandcurlingclub.com