A Long Term plan to Build a Figure Skating Program

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USFS Clubs Focus on Responsibilities to Members


If you are part of a figure skating club or part of a group considering forming of a
new figure skating club, you should review the following materials.

If a club is not satisfying your membership needs - it is your duty to become informed
and make the club officers and directors aware of your concerns.  Become proactive
and volunteer to work to achieve goals as stated in the by-laws of  the non-profit figure skating club's state incorporation papers, the federal tax exempt status approved by
the IRS, and the
club charter issued by the USFS.

U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook

     Every parent of a skater should purchase a copy of the current official rulebook for 2010-11 and understand the Membership Rules (MR 1.00). All members of the USFS should also be familiar with the rules on sanctions and eligibility, club ethics and the contents of the rulebook. Order a USFS rulebook

Mission Statement

     Mission Statement Answers:
  • WHO we are?
  • WHY do we exist?
  • WHY are we committed to support that existence?
What is a mission statement?
     Every club needs to define its fundamental purpose, philosophy, and values. The mission statement clarifies the essence of club existence. It describes the needs the club was created to fill and answers the basic question of why the club exists.

Why have a Mission Statement?
    Without guidance, it is difficult to establish boundaries for appropriate course of action. The mission statement provides the basis for judging the success of the club and its programs. It helps to verify if the club is on the right track and making the right decisions. It provides direction when the club needs to adapt to new demands.

    Attention to mission helps the board adhere to its primary purpose and helps during conflicts by serving as a touchstone for every decision. The mission statement can be used as a tool for resource allocation. A powerful mission statement attracts donors, volunteers, and community involvement.

How to develop a mission statement?
    An effective mission statement is concise, to the point, realistic, operational, inspirational, motivational, informative, and even emotional. It is not too abstract or even too intellectual. The mission clearly states the purpose of the club. It is forward thinking, positive, and describes success. It is clear and focused so that the reader can identify with the statement. It reflects the values and clearly enumerates the reasons
why the club exists.

Club Programs, Services and Membership Benefits
    Why should someone join your club? To be attractive, your membership package must provide clear benefits. Club programs and services are designed to meet the specific needs of its membership. Some of the benefits and services of member clubs include:
  • Practice sessions designed to encourage and foster skill development in:
  • Moves in the field
  • Free skating
  • Ice dancing
  • Pairs
  • Synchronized skating
  • Theater on Ice teams
  • Conducting U.S. Figure Skating test sessions
  • Hosting Basic Skills, non qualifying and qualifying competitions
  • Hosting exhibitions, ice shows and other performances
  • Hosting annual membership meetings and membership drives
  • Fundraising activities
  • Offering skater grants and financial support to members
  • Rewards and recognition for member accomplishments
  • Hosting judges, referees, accountants and technical schools
  • Hosting training camps, clinics and seminars
  • Conducting other programs such as off-ice training and educational seminars for skater development
  • Offering coach development programs
  • Delivering parent education programs
  • Organizing social activities
  • Member of an interclub association
Board of Directors
     Serving on a figure skating board is not only a huge responsibility but a privilege. One needs to remember that he or she is an ambassador for the sport of figure skating as well as his or her local club. According to nonprofit corporation law, a board member must meet certain standards of conduct and attention to his or her responsibilities to the club.  List of board member job descriptions (PDF).

     These responsibilities are referred to as Duty of Care, Loyalty and Obedience as defined:

1. DUTY OF CARE means using your best judgment and that you have exercised reasonable
    caution in making decisions.

2. DUTY OF LOYALTY means putting your personal and professional interests aside for the
    good of the club.

3. DUTY OF OBEDIENCE means being true to the club's mission.

Role of the a Club's Board includes:
  • Acts as the fiduciary and guardian of the organizational assets
  • Reviews and approves club’s annual budget
  • Establishes short- and long-term goals
  • Assesses progress toward goals
  • Assumes stewardship responsibility for club finances
  • Sets policies for the overall management and operation of the club
Expectations of Board members are as follows:
  • Attend regularly scheduled board meetings
  • Participate in committee work
  • Become informed about the policies and programs of the club
  • Participate in fundraising activities and special events sponsored by the club
  • Contribute financially according to ability
  • Participate in board orientation activities
  • Act as an informed advocate of the club
    The article Basic responsibilities of skating boards (PDF) originally ran in SKATING magazine.


Sample Job Descriptions:  PDF Volunteer Job Descriptions

Basic Skills Directors Handbook

President – It shall be the duty of the president to take charge of the club; to preside at all meetings of the club and of the Board of Directors. The president shall be responsible for the entire supervision and management of the club and its property, pending the action of the Board of

Directors – have the power to suspend any member for violating the bylaws or regulations of the club, pending the approval of the board; may call special meetings and club meetings.

Vice President – It shall be the duty of the vice president to assist the president in the discharge of his/her duties and in the absence of the president, to assume his/her duties and officiate in his/her place.

Treasurer – The treasurer shall have charge of the funds of the club and shall keep a record of all receipts and disbursements, and shall render a written report when requested by the president or Board of Directors. Specific duties include:
  • Pay out reimbursements
  • Keep track of check book
  • Report to president on finances
  • Be responsible for handling tax issue of club or for finding a resource to handle these issues
  • Help in the budgeting process for the club
  • Help provide for a checks and balance system for the club’s finances
  • Make bank deposits and do all bank dealings
  • Attend board meetings and report monthly
Secretary – It shall be the duty of the secretary to keep the minutes of the meeting of the club and of the Board of Directors and to supervise all reports. Other specific duties include:
  • Supervise correspondence of the club
  • Prepare and issue notices
  • Reserve rooms for all meetings of the club and Board of Directors
  • Responsible for club handbook updates
  • Notify U.S. Figure Skating of club officer and board changes
Membership Chair – It shall be the responsibility of the membership chair to handle all applications for membership to the club and U.S. Figure Skating. Other specific duties include:
  • Distribute U.S. Figure Skating membership cards to club members
  • Notify U.S. Figure Skating of address changes for club members
  • Distribute information to prospective members
  • Handle the yearly membership drive
Sanctions Chair – It shall be the responsibility of the sanctions chair to ensure that events being sponsored by the club are sanctioned, if necessary.

Test Chair - This person is responsible for the planning, executing and reporting of each
session.  PDF Role of a Test Chair

Bylaws
   A set of bylaws is to be submitted with the application for approval by the national vice chair for rules and policies of the Membership Committee. Bylaws are the legally binding rules that outline how the board of a nonprofit will operate. All nonprofit organizations need these regulations to help determine how they are to be governed. In order to ensure that your club is fairly governed and legally protected, board members need clear and concise bylaws that address critical organizational issues.

    Bylaws are a guide and a reference on how a club is structured, what rights the participants/members have and the procedures by which those rights can be put into effect.

    This document must be tailored to the particular needs of your own organization. There should be provisions for making changes to the bylaws if something has been missed on the first attempt. In addition, you must include a provision for conflict resolution in your club. The procedure can be part of your bylaws or the bylaws can point to an adopted procedure.        Sample set of bylaws

Dues
   The primary source of revenue for your club will be from the fees assessed to members. All member clubs set their own fees and membership categories. Your particular local requirements will dictate what the fees should be based upon the level of benefits or services a club offers.

    A portion of the fees collected from your members will be submitted to U.S. Figure Skating, making them both members of the club and members of the USFS. A club should offer different membership categories, such as: full home, second club, associate, introductory, coaching, collegiate, alumni, supportive, and Basic Skills. A copy of SKATING magazine is included as part of the membership of the first member in a family.

Developing Your Strategic Plan
    Strategic planning determines where an organization is going, how it intends to get there and how it will evaluate its progress. Defining your mission and values are important first steps.

    Perform an analysis of your club that examines its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Divide a piece of paper into the four sections and brainstorm each one, taking into account internal and external factors. An internal strength could be a reliable staff, while an external threat could be the national economy. Consider as many information sources as possible.  SWOT Template Analysis.

   Next, define your goals and strategies for the year. Aim for turning your opportunities into programs and overcoming your weaknesses by using your strengths. Don’t waste time worrying about factors you cannot control. Instead, consider creative ways to address them.

Communication Internal and External Plan
   It is extremely important that there be a means of communication established between the leadership of the club and its members. Keeping your web site relevant and distributing a monthly e-newsletter serve this purpose, and they are an inexpensive method of keeping your members aware of schedule changes, new programs, etc.

    Still another way of communicating with your members is one that is often overlooked: setting up an official club bulletin board in the rink and keeping it current. Educate members as to the informational value of the bulletin board. It is also important visibility within the rink and provides potential marketing opportunities for your club.

    It is essential that you also establish a good working relationship with the media that are responsible for covering your local area. The media are in the information-for-profit business, and your role is to assist reporters and editors by being a resource for them. The media relations contact person should have a good understanding of the sport of figure skating and a desire to learn about and work with the media. Good writing and communications skills are also important but not required.

    The key to building a good relationship with the media is to be professional. Although you may be a volunteer, you should be perceived not as a volunteer but rather as a professional publicist. It is equally important that you understand that the media may pass at your first attempts, but don’t be afraid to try again. It is OK to be persistent if you have not heard back, especially if you approach them with a new angle. Be sure to explain to them how this affects the community and, in turn, their readers.

    Try asking, “Do we have a special story to share about our members or club programs?” such as a member who has overcome adversity and is still address them. Here is a list of questions to begin your first strategic planning session:
  • Fifteen Questions for Strategic Planning:
    • Do we need to exist? If so, why?
    • What is our image?
    • What would we like our image to be?
    • What impact would we like to have?
    • Whom do we serve?
    • What are the needs of our constituents?
    • What do we do?
    • What programs are we going to need to develop?
    • What are our strengths?
    • What are our weaknesses?
    • What are the threats facing us?
    • What are our opportunities?
    • What trends are taking place that will affect us?
    • Who is our competition?
    • What is our strategic advantage?
Coaching Staff
    A strong figure skating club is a direct result of the quality of professional coaches and instructors associated with it. Most important, your staff must be qualified, well trained and be an asset to your club.

    There are many different ways to establish a strong working relationship with your coaching staff. Staying current on all coaching regulations will help ensure your success. To find more specific information on hiring and working with your coaching staff, please go to USFS Athletes.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor
    Skating coaches can either be hired as an employee of the rink, club or municipality, or treated as independent contractors. Generally speaking, group lesson instructors are normally classified as employees of the program (rink, club or municipality operated), and private lesson coaches are independent contractors.

    Consult with your state employment office to find the rules in your state. There are 20 factors indicating whether an individual is considered an employee or independent contractor by the IRS. A person does not need to meet all criteria.

    Make sure the tax status of your staff is correct! If coaches are working in your facility as independent contractors, they should provide your facility with a copy of their certificate of insurance naming your rink as an additionally insured.

Establishing Positive Rink Relations
    One of the most essential components of any successful club operation is the ability to work well with your local rink. The relationship that the club is able to develop with the rink is a true partnership and should be approached this way.

    The club and the rink have many of the same goals and objectives. Together they will be able to provide a greater overall service to the paying customer while achieving these goals.

    Among these common goals is the desire to have a large and consistent flow of customers into the facility to support all skating programs. This will allow for a steady revenue flow for the rink and a continuous source of new members for the club. It can bring long-term financial benefits to both the club and the rink.

    Each rink faces different operational and management challenges, but also offers unique opportunities. Some rinks will rent the ice to the club and let the club operate figure skating and possibly even the Basic Skills program. Other rinks will operate their own figure skating and Basic Skills sessions, allowing the club to conduct the test sessions and competitions.

    It is the option of the rink manager to decide which operation they select. Either way, the club and the rink need to establish a positive working relationship. Both methods of operation can work well for the
club, provided there is a good relationship.

    It is the option of the rink manager to decide which operation they select. Either way, the club and the rink need to establish a positive working relationship. Both methods of operation can work well for the
club, provided there is a good relationship.

Strengthening Lines of Communications
    Communication with the rink management is essential to establishing the team approach. Developing this relationship is not always easy and may take some nurturing. Many rink managers do not understand the needs of figure skating and must be educated. Here is where a positive and helpful posture can assist in the club developing this positive working relationship.

    Being involved with the management team of your facility is the only sure way to have good communication and a solid working relationship. In almost every negative situation, the issues come down to a lack of understanding of each others concerns. Invite the rink management to attend your board meetings.

    If they take an interest in your club and learn more about your issues, you will help them to understand the way you operate. Be aware that the rink manager has to deal with other ice users in the facility. Hockey and public skating are very strong revenue streams for most rink operations.

    Rink management will typically protect the areas of its strongest revenue stream. As a result, you should be realistic in the approach to obtain figure skating ice time. It is also important to establish a relationship with the other user groups within your facility, including the youth hockey club. A strong relationship will benefit the club when seeking extra ice time for competitions or test sessions, and will also help the club when trying to unload excess ice time.

Serving the American Rinks (STAR):
    STAR is a membership association that provides education, training and resources to rink members, professionals and vendors in the rink and arena industry. Created as a joint venture between USA Hockey and U.S. Figure Skating in 2000, STAR also works with the facilities around the country to help promote the ice and inline sports, and increase communication within the industry.

   STAR offers a comprehensive package of programs designed to make facilities work more effectively, including technical and management training, quality programming, expense reduction and insurance coverage programs. STAR has been designed to create relationships with arena owners and managers in order to support their efforts to operate their businesses profitably and efficiently.

Information about STAR and membership benefits.

Source - USFS Web Site

For more information on running a figure skating club, go to Club Resources and Forms.

Resources:
    
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

     
Focus of USFS Clubs
  Figure Skating Club Topics
Your Local Skating Club
Communicating with Club Members
Skating Workshop Plans
Special Olympians Program
Seminar Ideas On & Off Ice
Amateur Ice Shows
Rink Facilities & Club Activities
Skating Events
Well Balanced Program Cards
Interpreting Judges 6.0 Scores
Becoming A Judge     
PDF  Conflict Management
PDF  Personal Experience of home schooling
PDF  Financial Donations
PDF  Athlete Funding Opportunities
PDF  USFS Sponsorship Information

All materials are copy protected. 

The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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