What should a college club aspire to?

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canned
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:37 am

What should a college club aspire to?

Post by canned » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:13 pm

A post I spotted on a club message board got me thinking about this. Of course everyone has their favourite "disciplines" (I repeatedly call polo "gay" but that's mostly just for banter - still I have no interest in it) but overall, what should a college club aspire to?

Think:
safety,
disciplines,
progression of the sport (& techniques),
competition,
proficiency,
fleet,
international paddling.....

Any opinions?

joxer
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:58 pm

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by joxer » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:03 pm

Nice idea, but I was just wondering why limit it to college clubs.

canned
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:37 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by canned » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:26 pm

Most specifically because college clubs are a big source of paddlers. You'd have to say that probably the majority of active club members are paddling through college clubs.
There are other reasons, like budget and facilities available through the colleges. And also because sometimes in college clubs you hear people commenting on how far can a college club take you in paddling whereas a non college club, while still a club environment is closer to "peer paddling" and is less likely to be constrained by college authorities as some clubs are in Ireland.

joxer
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:58 pm

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by joxer » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:38 pm

The big difficulty college clubs have is the high turn-over of paddlers. People are often only in college for about 3 to 4 years. For some colleges there are also massive budget constraints while for osome the lack of competative edge to their weekly activities has hindered their ability to receive large grants from the college. I think you have hit the nail on the head with regards to a list of ideas the incoming committee members for the college clubs should be thinking on. This would make a great outline of a mission statement for the clubs.

Any other thoughts
Joxer

bowsie
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:24 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by bowsie » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:00 pm

I think both clubs and college clubs should try contribute to developing kayaking facilities within their local areas.

This would inclue:

Building relations with land owners, water release regulators and the general public to generate goodwill to ensure access to rivers and playspots.
eg.
There is good relations with Galway paddlers and the land owner at the short start of the Boluisce.
But poor relations between paddlers and the long start land owners, a club could approach the land owner and get some kind of an agreement or mutually benefical arrangement with him to allow access.

Good relationship between Limerick paddlers/ IrishFreestyle and the Ardnacrusha Power ppl, they release gower for competitions. Same goes for the ESB and sluice.
No relationship/ poor relationship between Galway paddlers and Salmon Weir gate keepers. Im not aware of any approach to the gate keepers with regards getting a release. While Rowers get them to hold back water for Regattas.


Build realations with local authorities and college authorities, so as when there is re-development of waterways or access points to waterways, the clubs views will be valued and accounted for. Which could potentially be a huge asset to local paddling.
eg.
The Bund at Gower. What a resource for all paddlers!!!
Practically no mention of kayaking or developing waterways with kayaking in mind in Galways 10yr recreational plan.


Clubs should be doing more to develop local paddling. They should propose stuff and lobby as a club and get as much positive publicity as a club to generate goodwill and which could help open the potential in our waterways.

canned
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:37 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by canned » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:33 pm

Not knocking your reply as it's very very valid Bowsie but just to add to the question....

What I'm more interested in asking is What should a college club aspire to be?

I'm thinking more with respect to how far in a paddler's abilities can (should?) people expect a college club to be able to provide for.
I remember once thinking that it's a pretty big order for a paddler in a college club to expect their club to provide for paddling on Class V for example. This last few years have been really good for our club (ULKC) IMO where we've had measures like getting 10 people successfully through Level 4 assessment for example. Just wondering what other markers are out there in other clubs in all the areas mentioned in the original post...

PS. I'd be very much on board with the paddler's relations thing - we've regularly dropped out a Christmas bottle of whiskey to the Deel stud as we pass through there to the Deel get on. Also with trying to keep people informed about parking at the Clare Glesn etc....

annie
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:02 pm
Location: Galway

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by annie » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:37 pm

College and non-college clubs often have different resources and different demographics, so their aims, even when generally the same, might be different in how they are achieved. For instance, most college clubs run their main activities from September to May say, whereas other clubs probably run most of their beginner sessions in summer.
canned wrote:Think:
safety,
disciplines,
progression of the sport (& techniques),
competition,
proficiency,
fleet,
international paddling.....
and
bowsie wrote:promoting kayaking in their area

That's a nice general idea alright for anyone who wants to make a to-do list for those of us in college clubs... :shock:

J.K.
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:53 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by J.K. » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:21 am

canned wrote:A post I spotted on a club message board got me thinking about this. Of course everyone has their favourite "disciplines" (I repeatedly call polo "gay" but that's mostly just for banter - still I have no interest in it) but overall, what should a college club aspire to?

Think:
safety,
disciplines,
progression of the sport (& techniques),
competition,
proficiency,
fleet,
international paddling.....

Any opinions?
I guess it depends on the mission statement of the club, are they setting out to provide the biggest number of people with a basic grasp of paddling in Ireland, or are they trying to produce the best, most well rounded paddler that has a working knowledge of many different disciplines of the sport and basically views the world through a paddlers eyes. People that'll ditch boating after college as opposed to those who'll keep it on, enter the sport mainstream, and be instrumental in getting others to take it up?

The areas you mentioned would in my eyes be what the club needs to cover in order to just stay ticking over.
Get a few sessions organised to getthem up to level 2 standard, bring them to the varsities, keep the boats in semi working order etc.

But there's no reason whatsoever that we can't aspire to greatness, and very little stopping us from organising bigger things.
Like what though?

Pushing our members in to the industry itself?
Maybe organising some kind of internship with a paddling company where (like the BS ambassador scheme) a boater would work for free or get paid in kind for an in depth look at how the whole thing works?
Organising video editing classes maybe? Fucked if I know. But feel free to throw up some ideas, if it doesn't work for one club the idiot ratio might be too high there, and it might work for someone else.

canned
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:37 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by canned » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:30 pm

Ok, maybe to take it a little bit of a different direction....
canned wrote: safety,
disciplines,
progression of the sport (& techniques),
competition,
proficiency,
fleet,
international paddling.....
WRT the above.... what scope do you think clubs should cover?
Safety - Wilderness EMT, stuff/REC2/3/4, SRT
Disciplines - LD, polo, whitewater, freestyle, wildwater, open canoeing
Progression of the sport - new dynamic techniques, promption, raising membership, events, changing sylibus
competition - varsities to world class
proficiency - level 1 to 5 skills and instructorships
fleet - dancers to glass surf boats, shiny new creekers and playboats
international paddling - does Ireland cater well enough? Should every club get to the alps? Should clubs push to Norway, India etc?

I guess what I'm getting at is that there are vast spans of qualification, facilites and practicality across all the above subjects - Budget can obviously be a constraint but where the money may be available, where does it all become a bit impractical? IMO a club can facilitate any member wishing to go right to Level 5 assessment (and IMO should if there are people going for it). The same goes for supporting anything which will be of value to the club overall. (ie. you don't come back from advanced training and refuse to pass it on)

Similarly with instructorships - it's surely not sensible to put everyone in a club through say level 2 instructorship and expect to get value for money back from that? (or indeed expect that they would somehow all be able to log enough hours)

I know different clubs also face different challenges. I have massive sympathy for a club I heard about this summer who's college, so far as I know, actually forbids foreign club trips. Imagine being constrained like that. Hats off to those who got their own group together to go off this summer (and I'm sure previous ones) and bring back their experience to benefit their club.

I think really it's all about practicality. At what point does a club suffer for taking on too much?

J.K.
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:53 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by J.K. » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:03 pm

Well Tony, I figure if an individual wanted to progress in any aspect that you mentioned there to the highest attainable level, he should be able to in a club environment. Obviously not all of them might be viable due to higher demand for other types of course in the club, but If I want to get my level four sea kayak instructor cert I'd like to think my club would be able to help me along in some regard.
Obviously a high level of commitment is going to be needed from the people too, you can't expect the club to drag people along by their heels and still get as far as they can.
Regarding foreign trips, there's no way Ireland caters to all tastes. I wonder what the biggest water river in the country would be? There's no reason every club shouldn't go, except for the college banning it or some kind of nonsense reason. If they don't have the people to run it, just ask around, there's a massive pool of information in the clubs around the country. It does get a bit expensive for the average nineteen year old second year boater if the trip isn't subsidised, but that's an issue for the club itself. To push farther afield, I'd love to. Sure it means there are more possibilities for fuck ups and pitfalls, but still, a university trip won't be going miles off of the beaten track, and it'd still be relatively easy to sort shit out.

As far as maintaining the fleet is concerned, I think that boats should only be bought when:
the older ones become too damaged to make repair worthwhile
they become obsolete, in the case of freestyle
boats get lost
a new type of boat comes out, or something looks new and exciting and there's a high level of interest in the club about a type of boat and many people would like to try it
the club is branching out into a new discipline that it hadn't catered to before, and new boats - OC-1s, topo duos etc need to be bought for it

There can be too much emphasis put on the acquiring of boats for their own sake, and some people fall into the trap of thinking that they've got a class club now that they've ten brand new shiny creekliners, and then nobody can paddle them as they've no money to drive anywhere.

Hmmm, to get back on track, if the money and motivation to organise is there, the only limiting factors should be time and level of interest.
If the committee is organising every single thing, then yeah it can be easy to take on too much, but if the committee manages to foster an atmosphere in the club where one's input and effort is welcomed and appreciated, the workload would be spread over a much larger amount of people, and the club could really go places.

Polo Eoin
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 10:01 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by Polo Eoin » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:52 am

Am I the only one reading this somewhat bemuseadly?

SRT, REC 3 level 2 to 4 paddling, level 2 and 3 instructorships...all should be attainable within the college envoirns. And Bowsie totally with ya on building relations where possible.

Now I see things like ... trips to Norway, the Alps, level 5 skills... nice to ASPIRE to.
Plenty of college clubs cannot afford a bus after the varsities let alone subsidise people on paddling holidays.

OK so clubs can organise the hiring in of instructors for level 5 skills but probably for 2 or 3 that, to be honest, are that good that they probably know enough instructors to look after themselves anyway.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic, I have been known to, but my view is
1. Safety...get everyone down in one piece. Constantly bring on the club paddlers to aid in this and in time be able to do it themselves.

2. Keep the maximum involved. This may be where I differ from the other views. I believe that a club with lots of active paddlers is a happier club. All very well having 2 or 3 paddlers at level 5, what about aspiring to having 30 at level 3? I like Tony's idea of getting 10 through level 4, that's something I would aspire to (not saying it's gonna happen).

3. Gear. Really goes back to my last point. Keep improving gear to keep people coming back. If they're cold they won't come back. If you can't get them on the water due to lack of decent helmets etc, they won't come back. If the paddles look like an arctic drove over them and it's actually hard to paddle straight....

4. Disciplines. River running, freestyle, surf...all accomplisable early on with same type of boats, then have a certain amount specialist boats. Polo, well if a club has a pool why not?

Won't bore ye with any more,

mikef
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:39 am

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by mikef » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:09 pm

On safety aspects I have to ask the question

Whats with University Club across the water in merry old england?

I had a rather long indepth conversation with some irish lads in the alps over this but Irish clubs are miles ahead of clubs over there when it comes to safety and leading on rivers. There were numerous day this year where we found ourselves rescuing paddlers from English Universities who shouldnt have even been on the water, not to metion being, the majority, in playboats! This a slightly off topic but irish clubs deserve a clap on the back in this respect.

A positive word for the brits they are very forthcoming with swim beers!

Ruán
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: What should a college club aspire to?

Post by Ruán » Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:52 am

Personally i think a college club should be getting members to a level where they are capable of peer paddling. This will involve level 3, fist aid training, Safety training etc.

After that it all depends on the club. Whether they have enough people wanting to progress past this. whether they have the gear, the experience, the funding.


I believe a club has done its job if its members are coming out competent boaters with a keen understanding of safety on rivers. From here paddlers can progress without the need of the club beside them.

Whether you get certified in these areas is another thing. Obviously you can be a level 4 paddler without having a piece of paper to say that, but in the end of the day its a good thing to have.

Past this it all depends on the club and the club at that time, all club are stronger and different times which is natural. If you have a core of grade 5 padllers and can facilitate them then great, but realisticly what college club has that!
Polo Eoin wrote:

1. Safety...get everyone down in one piece.

On this note, i think ALL clubs should be going beyond the old skool thought of being happy if every1 just makes it down the river, what about all those near misses. I think clubs if they even have a near miss should be looking into how this can be prevented next time, and not just laughing it off and having a few beers saying how lucky they where.
I think all college clubs should be role models in this, as once members leave the college they will bring that ethos with them and possibly(hopefully) set up other clubs.
Polo Eoin wrote: 2. Keep the maximum involved. This may be where I differ from the other views. I believe that a club with lots of active paddlers is a happier club. All very well having 2 or 3 paddlers at level 5, what about aspiring to having 30 at level 3? I like Tony's idea of getting 10 through level 4, that's something I would aspire to (not saying it's gonna happen).
Very valid point


Ruán

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