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Thread: parent involvement

  1. #1
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    parent involvement

    I know this is a problem in any organization, but how do you get enough help from parents to keep a club going? We have enough fencers, but, as always, the bulk of the club is run by just a few parents. This was a big problem at our recent tournament when just a few dads were up all night setting up strips. Do you require volunteer hours and then monitor that (yuk!) or do you charge more and hire help? Other suggestions? I'm a parent of a young fencer; I see my future and it looks exhausting.

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    Senior Member Rockstar44's Avatar
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    Ahhh, a future Armorer!
    Been There. Done That. Too Bad.

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    Mo
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwarren View Post
    I know this is a problem in any organization, but how do you get enough help from parents to keep a club going? We have enough fencers, but, as always, the bulk of the club is run by just a few parents. This was a big problem at our recent tournament when just a few dads were up all night setting up strips. Do you require volunteer hours and then monitor that (yuk!) or do you charge more and hire help? Other suggestions? I'm a parent of a young fencer; I see my future and it looks exhausting.
    I really think that if you have a club that is inclusive and that doesn't treat parents like walking checkbooks, the help will be there when it is needed.
    People respond to being part of a community.
    The Momster
    A friend will bail you out of jail,
    a true friend will help you hide the body...
    : )

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    Mo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockstar44 View Post
    Ahhh, a future Armorer!
    How does one go about becoming an armorer?

    The Momster
    A friend will bail you out of jail,
    a true friend will help you hide the body...
    : )

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rockstar44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    How does one go about becoming an armorer?

    The Momster


    Well, you usually start out like this:


    Quote Originally Posted by hwarren View Post
    I know this is a problem in any organization, but how do you get enough help from parents to keep a club going? We have enough fencers, but, as always, the bulk of the club is run by just a few parents. This was a big problem at our recent tournament when just a few dads were up all night setting up strips. Do you require volunteer hours and then monitor that (yuk!) or do you charge more and hire help? Other suggestions? I'm a parent of a young fencer; I see my future and it looks exhausting.
    Been There. Done That. Too Bad.

  6. #6
    MdA
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwarren View Post
    .....or do you charge more and hire help? Other suggestions? I'm a parent of a young fencer; I see my future and it looks exhausting.
    Our club had a scholarship program for kids and parents who volunteered. Some parents just like to pay their way and not volunteer. So work out club fees and entry fees that will cover the costs of running the club. Figure out a system to help the kids and parents who volunteer.

    For the kids who were on scholarships at our club...the kids (if they were old enough) and parents were expected to put in a pre-determined number of volunteer hours.

    Some of our older kids got certified as referees and they volunteered to ref for the younger age category events.

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    Just Joined amandaa's Avatar
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    You should teach the kids to set up strips, then they can help too!

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    Senior Member SJCFU#2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    How does one go about becoming an armorer?
    One fencing couple trusted the armorers to babysit their darling son while they were fencing (foolish people). It wasn't long before the armorers put the boy to work.

    It's also worked the other way - a father, growing tired of waiting for his daughter to finish fencing, wandered over to talk with those strange people with all the tools and ended up being put to work.

    edit: In my case, I simply started learning how to fix things as a matter of self preservation. One thing led to another from there.
    Last edited by SJCFU#2; 03-10-2009 at 10:37 PM. Reason: added final bit

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    Senior Member Rockstar44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MdA View Post
    Our club had a scholarship program for kids and parents who volunteered. Some parents just like to pay their way and not volunteer. So work out club fees and entry fees that will cover the costs of running the club. Figure out a system to help the kids and parents who volunteer.
    This is a very common thing. Work a little around the club or at tournaments and get a discount on your membership fees. Lots of clubs do this. It has some very beneficial side effects, too, because it causes people to have a "stake" in the club.
    Been There. Done That. Too Bad.

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    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwarren View Post
    I know this is a problem in any organization, but how do you get enough help from parents to keep a club going? We have enough fencers, but, as always, the bulk of the club is run by just a few parents. This was a big problem at our recent tournament when just a few dads were up all night setting up strips.
    It's hard to know where to begin with this post, since you left so much information out. Like: how is the club structured? Who's actually running the club: coaches, and administrator, investor/owner? Are the fences all very young, and that's why THEY aren't setting up for their tournaments?
    You say that the "bulk of the club is run by a few parents"? Are these parents actively or passively keeping other parents from volunterring or helping? And finally: how many strips were you setting up that it took "all night"?

    One of things about getting volunteer help is that it sometimes takes a light touch, and a lot of appreciation from the club management. It also helps if the club management matches the right parent to the right job. For instance: coordinating the weekly club newsletter takes a different set of skills than nailing down a new floor for the space.

    The club management (if that's you and other parents) needs to take some steps:

    1. The club management needs to let people know that there is a role for volunteers at the club (you would be amazed how many clubs don't let people know there is work to be done).

    2. When volunteers come forth, their skills need to be matched to the jobs to be performed. Some jobs can be made easier for those parents/fencers who may not have strong skills: for instance, making string "templates" for taping down strips.

    3. Expectations and commitment to the job must be communicated to the volunteers, and the work needs to be followed up on by the club leadership, if necessary. The club leadership, however, must understand that they are getting the work they (aren't) paying for. If the club volunteer to paint the bathrooms uses a color the leadership doesn't like, complaining about it is going to make it less likely anyone volunteers next time.

    4. The volunteers need to be rewarded or recognized in some manner.

    Almsot every club I've been a member of has gotten a tremendous amount of work (including heavy duty demolition and construction work) by parents and fencers. Mo is right, building a community of fencers in your club is important, but it's not as simple as hanging a sign up sheet for the weekly floor sweeping. It takes a little thought and some work.

    AE

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    Senior Member Durando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Evans View Post
    When volunteers come forth, their skills need to be matched to the jobs to be performed. Some jobs can be made easier for those parents/fencers who may not have strong skills: for instance, making string "templates" for taping down strips.
    Don't forget to crosstrain! Coordinator for each job trains up the next coordinator before moving on to a different job next time, etc.
    Bon qu' a.

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    Senior Member Rockstar44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwarren View Post
    I know this is a problem in any organization...

    ...as always, the bulk of the club is run by just a few parents.

    ...just a few dads were up all night setting up strips.

    I see my future and it looks exhausting.

    Yes, this is a problem in any organization of this type. It's human nature. There will always be parents who take the attitude of, "I'm paying for this, it's not my responsibility", and there will always be parents (like yourself, apparently), who see a need and step in to fill it to make things better. Don't let it get to you. You will find that there will be a small cadre of people who are willing to pitch in to make things work. You will notice that it's always the same people. That's life. Keep doing it because it does make things better.

    After a while you will realize that you're having fun doing it and because of that you will find more people pitching in. Regardless, keep on doing it because nobody gets rich out of fencing and most clubs couldn't get by without your help.

    There is some great advice from the other posters in this thread. Use it.



    (P.S.- Does your club have an armorer? Because, if it doesn't, you're it. I can tell.)
    Been There. Done That. Too Bad.

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    If 5 years from now, you are still involved in your kid's fencing club and consequently, still involved in your kid' fencing, chances are, you will have a pretty good relationship with your fencer. When you think about it, your volunteer work is a small price to pay for a huge reward.

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    Hi!


    Quote Originally Posted by Rockstar44 View Post
    Yes, this is a problem in any organization of this type. It's human nature. There will always be parents who take the attitude of, "I'm paying for this, it's not my responsibility", and there will always be parents (like yourself, apparently), who see a need and step in to fill it to make things better. Don't let it get to you. You will find that there will be a small cadre of people who are willing to pitch in to make things work. You will notice that it's always the same people. That's life. Keep doing it because it does make things better.
    Well, som people fit both descriptions simultaneously - like me. I put in a significant amount of time to keep the fencing club going. Twice, I have stopped fencing clubs from going belly up - different clubs. OTOH, the swimming club which runs the swimming courses which my sons attend have tried to make me volunteer, but I have resisted. I think that I have more than my share in sports volunteering, and that club charges quite a bit for a group activity which does not involve costly personal equipment, and those kids do not have - even intramural - competitions.


    Have a nice time!

    Peter Gustafsson

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    Senior Member SabreReedfrost's Avatar
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    How old, might I ask, are the kids? If they're old enough to help out, then they should be. I've seen too many fencing parents coddle their kids, and it drives me nuts. It's not helping your sweet darling, i can tell you that. Those kids are never good fencers, and I always take great pleasure in wiping the floor with them.
    It's relative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    How does one go about becoming an armorer?
    Simple....just let your salle-mates know you know how to repair your own gear....you'll be armoring everything in the salle in about 5 minutes!
    Need fencing equipment? See me at H.O.M. Fencing Supply

    Going to your first tournament? Read "Choose yer weapon, Laddie (or: Dude, where's my foil?)"

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    Senior Member Phincer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fencing Mom View Post
    If 5 years from now, you are still involved in your kid's fencing club and consequently, still involved in your kid' fencing, chances are, you will have a pretty good relationship with your fencer. When you think about it, your volunteer work is a small price to pay for a huge reward.
    QFT

    Studies have shown that with parent involvement and support in school, students are more likely to have better attendance, grades, etc. So Fencing Mom is right-the same thing will most likely happen with fencing (or any other sport).

    I'd urge every parent to educate themselves, volunteer, and be present. If Little Fencer is taught responsibility, but suddenly is in need of the Backup Team, you'll be somewhere around to fix the weapon, dry the tears, or take the photos of the medal ceremony.

    Do NOT be one of the parents who doesn't know how a tournament is run, read a DE chart, and then stands at the BC table and whines b/c you've planned to be home by 2 p.m. and the event is still going on.

    And-you might just make a new friend or two out of the deal yourself!!!
    Phincer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fencing Mom View Post
    If 5 years from now, you are still involved in your kid's fencing club and consequently, still involved in your kid' fencing, chances are, you will have a pretty good relationship with your fencer. When you think about it, your volunteer work is a small price to pay for a huge reward.
    I concur with this, especially as your teen matures out of the youth fencing. The "evolving involvement" becomes, if you let it, a very strong common ground for continued bonding with your kid.

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    Senior Member hpfencing's Avatar
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    Joke

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo View Post
    People respond to being part of a community.

    We always have a few parents in and out at practices and events that are always willing to help out.

    With a little luck a few of them will become armors or referees but the important thing that we stress is that they need to be there for thier kids.

    Our club acts as a big family and everyone kinda helps and looks after each other.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ejemyr's Avatar
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    Teach them to fence!

    My belief here, which I'm currently trying out, is that if you teach the parents to fence, the commitment and willingness to help out will come naturally.

    I'm far from a trained coach, but skilled enough to introduce newbies. I'm therefore currently running an introductory course (5 times x 2h) for 13 adults, mostly parents. The idea is that they should be able to start recreational fencing "on their own" at club nights, get exercise while having fun and later maybe be willing to train to be referees, assist in the training of the youngsters, take on some adminstration, set up a car-pool, etc. etc.

    So far it looks promising. They have fun and it looks like maybe half will buy the essential gear and continue practicing.

    I think that apparent unwillingness to help out, often is simple uneasyness and insecurity about what to do, how things work, etc. Make them "fencers" and that will go away! And you will have fun together!

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