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JUNIOR SECTION DEBATE & SURVEY

03-09-2011
Tell us what you think...
In the next few days, members should receive an email about developing the Club by starting a Junior Section [JS]; there will be a link there to a web survey so that we can guage the attitude of members - both to the general idea, and to some of the practicalities of running a JS. The survey will be open for about 3 weeks [closing date Friday 23 September] in order to give members a chance to talk and discuss the idea so that the survey will give us the best information possible.
It's important for the survey that as many members as possible give their opinion so if you haven't got the email by Monday, please let Donna know by sending her an email to  Donna.james[AT]babcock.co.uk  and putting DTC SURVEY in the subject line.

Durham Triathlon Club has been racing and has had its ups and down over the last few years. A couple of years ago a new committee was elected which has developed the club with new kit; revamped the City of Durham Duathlon; organised a great swimming slot at the new pool; and  developed and sustained coaching activity. However the positive changes have not been achieved without a lot of hard work and commitment.

The club has grown significantly over the past 2 years, some members wish to develop and diversify the club in various ways while others prefer to maintain the status quo. The headline options are:

- Leave the club as it is – it is a voluntary sports club, we should just enjoy our sport with as little hassle as possible
- Develop the club by concentrating on being the best we possibly can – ie developing the potential of the existing athletes through appropriate coaching and training
- Develop the club by adding a junior/children’s section
- Develop the club in a different way – e.g. making it more accessible to disabled athletes etc.

Some members have expressed a strong desire to have a junior section to develop the club. This survey is about exploring whether the club wants to go down this route.

This is a simple question with a potentially complex answer: do we wish to develop the club by opening it to young athletes? The Club would like to establish members' attitudes before considering what kind of structure might work for us if there is widespread support, and then developing a concrete proposal.

Q1: Will this have an impact on me if I have no interested children and don’t want anything to do with junior athletes?
A: It will obviously have an impact on the club as a whole, particularly the committee and future volunteers for the committee and those helping to run the club. Depending on the type of junior section, it might have an impact on how the club is run (e.g. finances, club ‘do’s and requirement for volunteers/committee members). If you have no interest,  the intention would be that it would have minimal impact on you personally. You will simply enjoy the club as before. You don’t have to contribute any more than you do now although whether or not we have a junior section, we always need volunteers

Q2: Will my swim lane suddenly be filled with children ?
A: No. We’ve been offered some swim time for juniors outside of the club Saturday swim.

Q3: Should I still complete the survey if I have no strong opinions either way?
A: Yes. We need the opinions of as many people as possible so we can all see what the opinion of the club is and to get a quorate survey.

Q4: Will people know how I voted and tease me if I'm very critical of the whole idea?
A: The only people who will know how you voted are the people running the survey who will be bound by rules of confidentiality.  The survey results will be made anonymous. If you think this is a bad or impractical idea and say so, no one will find out. We would like you to  be as honest as you like, you might have ideas and opinions that we haven’t thought of and would be helpful

Some options for creating a junior section
The following scenarios summarise some different options which might be adopted.

1.      Membership only. We allow juniors join the club and race under the club colours but without a training and development programme. The club would explicitly not be involved in caring for young athletes on race days or training days.  We would likely have to state these formal limitations on joining forms.

2.      Membership and a limited training programme. We allow juniors to join the club and race under club colours. We have been offered some pool time at Freemans Quay which would allow us to run a swim session just for juniors. In addition we could organise a monthly juniors’ training event where juniors could get together, train and be part of the club.

3.      Membership and access to club senior training sessions. Due to the age ranges for juniors this would seem applicable only to the swimming sessions and we have already been offered pool time for juniors. It would seem sensible that juniors can’t be cycling on the road, and fitting in to running sessions may be equally problematic.

4.      Weekly training events in all three disciplines.  As we don’t even have this level of provision for our seniors this seems an unlikely goal at present.

5.      Restricting Junior membership to the upper age ranges, starting say at 'Youth' level, age 15-16, and using one of the above models.

How the results of the survey will be counted:
The survey is a snapshot of members' attitudes to the idea of a junior section, a major development for the club which will require both general support from the membership, and regular time-committed support from coaches and helpers. To ensure that we have the required level of support to formulate a viable proposal, the following thresholds will apply to move on to the proposal stage:

Survey quorum – 55% of membership responding.

General support  – 60/40 split [or better] of responders in favour of the idea, providing 'don't knows' are less than 5%.

Committed support –  2 coaches/helpers [possibly, in part, bought-in] for 2 hours each per session along with a JS administrator to plan activities, sort out CRB checks etc