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Skateboarding News

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ten steps to start a skateboard club at your local school

Hardflip, Christian Hosoi, Bennnet Harada, Brian Sumner, Jay Haizlip, Venice Skatepark
Christian Hosoi at Venice Skatepark. When he started, there was no club to go to...
This guide is intended for anyone thinking of starting a new skateboard club at school. If you have always wanted to start a skateboarding club at school but were unsure how, you need to know that you will need to go through some of the questions and if you are to establish a successful new club.

Step 1: Check whether there are existing skateboard clubs in your school and ask for permission
There's little point in duplicating something that already exists. So, no matter how good your ideas are for a new club, please do first check around to see whether anything similar already exists. Conversely, do not set up a meeting though until you have researched and prepared what you want to say. If you are afraid that the principal may object to the idea of skateboarding being done on school property due to liability issues you may want to take a different approach. Your skateboarding club could focus on learning how to petition the government for a public skatepark as part of a social studies class, raising funds for a skatepark as part of a business class or learning how to make skateboards and skate ramps as part of a wood shop class.

Step 2: Make sure there is a reasonable demand for a new club
There is a minimum number of people required to make any club viable. You probably know two or three other people who share your interest in skateboarding. Now is the time to build a list of potential members. At this stage you're not asking people for subscriptions or playing commitments; you just want to build a potential membership list of people who might join any new club. To do so you will need to organize an open meeting and publicize it well through the local papers, sports centers and other outlets

Step 3: Ask for help from your sport's Governing Body and your Local Council
There are several organizations that should be able to help you as each of them is committed to helping develop sport throughout the community. You should make contact with each of them, and find out what practical help they can offer.

 They are:
The Governing Body for your sport; most governing bodies employ development officers whose role is to help local clubs
The Local Authority which is likely to have a sports or leisure department; they can help with the hiring or letting of sports facilities; they may have small grants for new clubs; and their officers may be able to give you practical advice.
The Local Sports Council brings together many local sports clubs; there is a wealth of expertise that you can draw on here to help you get off to the best start.
Make sure you speak to each of these groups in the early stages of forming your new club.

Step 4: Put the basics in place
Whilst some very small clubs can along with just one person running the show, it's usually a good idea to recruit a few people to form a small club committee. This helps to spread the load by dividing out the tasks, and also brings different ideas and skills into your club. Once you give your club a name and form a committee, you have effectively become what is known as an 'unincorporated association'. With a simple constitution and some club officers you can then open a bank account to manage your club's money. We've published several help pages and templates to assist you with this basic administration:
The section of Club Structures explains more about becoming an unincorporated association and whether you might also consider becoming a charity or a recognized 'Community Amateur Sports Club'.
The section on Constitutions gives you some downloadable templates that you can edit to suit your needs
The section on Meetings explains more about running committee meetings
And the section on Office-bearers tells you all you need to know about the roles of chair, secretary, treasurer and other posts.
As your club grows, you may need to consider other legal structures but you can return to these in due course.
Of course, no club can exist without a group of active and enthusiastic members to keep it going - and preferably expanding:
Have a look at the Membership pages for ideas on recruiting, retaining and supporting your members.

Step 5: Secure the initial funding and facilities
This can be one of the hardest parts of getting started. Most clubs begin with some initial funds subscribed by the members and then realize that they need additional monies and resources if they are to become successful. There are probably more sources of help than you have imagined.
The range of Funding options includes club-based fund-raising activities, local authority support, Awards for All, sponsorship, other Lottery funds, and collaborative agreements with other sports bodies.
Finding the right premises or facilities can sometimes be difficult: it's best to hire facilities first before thinking about obtaining your own. There is more advice in our Facilities section.
Finally, don't forget to contact your Local Sports Council as they will have invaluable advice to help you get started.

Step 6: Get an attractive sports program going
What brings people into clubs and an interesting and enjoyable program of sport. So the first thing you need to focus on is getting the sports program together. Depending on your members, you'll need to decide whether to pitch your activities at novices, juniors, seniors, experienced players or elite players. With only a small number of members you probably need to focus on a more limited number of levels; if members are always playing against people of very different skills and abilities, it can be hard to sustain motivation. As your club grows, you will probably want to develop a more coherent 'player pathway' to encourage progression from recreational or novice players to more competitive and experienced levels of play. Don't forget that many members also enjoy the social side of any club and the opportunity to make new friends; your programme may include social activities as well as playing activities Check out:

Step 7: Join local competitions and leagues
Many of the more experienced skateboarders will want to have some competitive activities and for this you're likely to have to look outside your own club. With sufficient members, you can organize your own internal club leagues, ladders and competitions. In many sports and localities there are also inter-club leagues and competitions where you can play against other teams and individuals.

Step 8: Develop policies and procedures that will support your club
Whilst most members don't want to spend too much time on club administration, there is a certain level of procedural work that you will need to do if the club is to keep running along smoothly. Some of the questions that you may be faced with include:
Who do we want to encourage to join us as members?
Are we going to involve juniors in our club?
If we do have children and young people, how do we protect them?
What are the health and safety considerations that affect our sport, our use of equipment, and our premises and facilities?
How do we support the volunteers that are contributing to our club?
Many other clubs have already tackled these issues, so to save you 'reinventing the wheel' we've brought together several useful guides and help pages:
There is a whole section devoted to Policies and Procedures that includes general guidance and downloadable forms for each of the main policy areas
The Membership section will help you think through how to engage your membership
And the Volunteers pages provide a wealth of information about recruiting and supporting volunteers in your club.

Step 9: Start to plan for the longer term success of the club
If your club just keeps the same members and doesn't review its activities, it runs the risk of becoming static and eventually withering away as members drift off. A healthy club is one that has a regular influx of new members and a periodic change in office-bearers on the committee. It has a mix of recreational, competitive and social activities. And it's regularly thinking about the future. You don't have to be ambitious, provided you keep reviewing whether your club is doing with the current and potential future members actually want. If you look around at other clubs, you'll find that they may be recruiting more younger members (the full members of the future), looking to expand their facilities, starting new competitions or joining new leagues, or providing more training and coaching for their members. There are many options for developing your club - you just need to decide which is the most appropriate.

The Club Development section introduces this whole area and gives you some tools and ideas for growing your club
The Juniors pages focus specifically on building your membership amongst children and young people
The Coaching section offers plenty of guidance on where to find or train coaches and how improved coaching can help to develop your club
The Funding section looks at all the options for raising more money to pay for these developments - from local fund-raising events to applications to the National Lottery
And the Club Development Case Studies illustrate how many other clubs have gone about developing their resources, facilities and membership

Step 10: Skateboarding is fun, so have fun and celebrate your successes!
It can be hard work as well as rewarding to be involved in the establishment and running of a community sports club. So don't forget to take time out to enjoy it and celebrate all your successes:
Create your own club competitions and award medals and trophies to the winners
Keep a photographic record of your activities, and publish details in your member newsletters
Organize some social events that bring members together across all ability levels
Host an annual dinner or awards ceremony to provide a focal point for recognizing the achievements of your members and your club.

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Wednesday, January 04, 2012 


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