Saturday, 14 November 2015

[Prince George Barracuda Swim Club News] - AGM President's Report

Prince George Barracuda Swim Club
[Prince George Barracuda Swim Club News] - AGM President's Report
Hi Blog PGBSC,

Here is the News information:
News Title:AGM President's Report
News Date:11/14/2015

 A copy of the Presidents report by Micheal Moran presented at the PGBSC Novemeber 14, 2015 AGM is as follows:

PGB President’s Report

Thank you for attending and I apologize for not being here. I have been unavoidably detained on a beach in Hawaii.

For those of you who do not know me I will provide a short bio.  I am one of the local orthopaedic surgeons and have lived in Prince George for a little over 20 years. My personal involvement in sport was not with swimming but rowing, and I represented Canada in the distant past.  As a family we have been involved with the PBG for 18 years. Our sons, Kit and Connor, started at age 5 and 7 and swam through the years to graduation from high school. Both swam at university and Kit swam varsity for Dalhousie University.  He has swum at the highest level having made finals at Senior Nationals.  I am also involved in officiating and am a Level 5 official.

Swimming with the Barracudas was incredibly motivating and beneficial for our boys. They learned swimming as well as life skills and have made friends for life through their involvement with the club.

For those of you who are new to the Barracudas I would like to explain our AGM and the protocols of the meeting.

The AGM is the venue for the executive to report, on a yearly basis, the activities of the club. It is a presentation from the board to the members and questions about the reports are welcome.  The AGM is not the time for members to bring up topics that they wish to discuss or to question policies. The reason for this is that the board must have an opportunity to prepare a reasoned answer to queries and concerns.

However, some issues have been raised that are of concern to our members and I will try to address some of these in my report.

The Barracudas are a competitive swim club and have had another successful year.  Jerzy will provide details of the swimming results in his report but we have had success at all levels from AA, to Provincials to Age Group and Senior National championships.

Our membership numbers are solid and have continued to gradually rise over the years.  As we will hear from Sheila Nelson, the budget is in the black after a couple of years of small deficits.

I would like to thank a few people that have allowed our club to continue functioning well year after year. First, I would like to thank Jerzy, Jason and the junior coaches. They do a tough job with enthusiasm and care and have the best interests of all of our swimmers at heart. The mantra is to teach the kids how to swim, then how to swim well, then how to race and finally how to win races. This is not a simple task and requires commitment from the coaches and the swimmers. My personal thanks goes to each of the coaches.

I would like to thank the volunteers who continue to make our competitive swim club competitive.  Your executive works tremendously hard to ensure that the club functions smoothly.   We have a very effective and cohesive board. The jobs of many of these people are onerous and time consuming and without their commitments we would have great difficulty continuing to produce the results we do. Our club is recognized around the province for having well run and well organized meets and this is due to the volunteers that participate.

Our executive is; Kerim Ozcan who is the Vice President.  Kerim is a maxillo-facial surgeon and as we all know has many free hours to do the work of the Barracudas. Karen Lange is our secretary and continues to do huge amounts. Sheila Nelson is our treasurer and I will talk about her in a minute. Kelly Esopenko, Registrar, Georgie Gerula, Meet Director, Nicholas Lamb, Fundraising Director and Marilyn King, Travel Director all have thankless jobs that go unseen but without their efforts we would not have a functioning club.

Recruiting to the board of the PGB is a thankless task. There is never a queue of people wanting perform the various duties. When someone steps down, that person needs to be replaced. The executive does not have a list of people from which to choose. It involves coercion and promises of teaching and help with the job at hand. We continue to be successful in recruiting to the board because of perseverance not because there are people waiting and wanting to take over the position.  We promise to train that person because they are the only person that we have been able to fool into taking the job. How I wish that we had  numerous bodies lining up to consider each board posting.

I need to make a special mention of Sheila Nelson, our treasurer. She has been with the Barracudas for about 15 years.  Caitlyn, her daughter, has finished swimming and is now one of our coaches. People may not realize what a valuable asset that we have in Sheila. We are able to take advantage of her professional expertise as a chartered accountant. She gives the club many hours of her time and knowledge and without her help we would be a lesser club.  Sheila’s contribution is not something that can be replaced by a person with a minor knowledge of bookkeeping. We get much more from her than the club can ever repay. She must be kept on ad infinitum.  Thank you Sheila.

A couple of years ago the executive made a decision to make it mandatory for parents to participate at swim meets. It can take more than 60 people to run each meet and without the commitment of parents we would not be able to manage this.  Even with the ‘mandatory volunteering’ we have a large number of people who work in the background to ensure successful meets.   My thanks to the executive and the parents who continue to get involved.

There have been a number of questions and concerns raised by club members to the executive. I will try to answer these.

My presence and that of Sheila Nelson on the board of the PGB: The bylaws state that the club can have Honorary Members. Those members should not have voting privileges such as at the AGM.  These members are allowed to hold Board postings and have voting privileges at Board meetings. Others may interpret the bylaws differently but this is how the Barracudas have functioned since I have been with the club.  There is no limit on the terms of board members and as with most things experience is an advantage. The advantage of having board members without children in the club is that there is no possibility of a personal agenda. The well being of the club is the only agenda.

Stipends: Some of the executive positions are extremely onerous in terms of time commitment.  A couple of years ago the board decided to give the board members a discount on their fundraising levies to try to reduce the overall time commitment to the club. The bylaws state that no stipend should be paid to a member.  By definition a stipend is a cash payment. This is not a cash payment but does give some value to the member. Again, this interpretation may be argued. This was done in good faith to try to entice people to become board members. 

Board Minutes: Some parents have asked to review the minutes of the Executive meetings.  Our bylaws do not have provision for the posting of the board minutes although parents are able to view them on request.  Having those minutes available for all of the members of the club would also be something that can be addressed in a revision of our bylaws.

The choice of meets, the swimming of 800’s and 1500’s, the events selected for the kids and attendance:  The Barracudas are a competitive club and as such rely on training cycles throughout the year to prepare in the best possible way for competitions.  The timing of meets the PGB attend is carefully chosen by Jerzy to enhance those training cycles.  Certain meets that may look appealing may not have the necessary events or may occur at the wrong time in the cycle.   Swimming the 800’s and 1500’s may seem like nothing but punishment but again this is in keeping with the training cycles and applies to boys and girls alike. Although girls don’t swim 1500’s and boys 800’s at Provincials they do swim these events at Age Groups and Senior Nationals so this is good preparation for our swimmers of the future.  This is a competitive club and one of the tenets of producing a competitive club is attendance.  This is why Jerzy feels that attendance is such an important part of the development of each of his swimmers. If a child is not attending regularly and is unable to keep up with the others in their group, then it has an effect on all of the swimmers, not just the individual child. 

Availability of board members and coaches: We have had parents comment that the board members and the coaches are not available for questions, discussions and concerns. This concern has arisen in the past and we have tried to accommodate the members.  We have had time set aside where board members were available at the pool so the parents could raise issues.  The club also had Jerzy available outside of pool time for the same purpose.  Neither of these provisions was accessed by the members and eventually we stopped the practice.  The board members are listed on the website and are all happy to discuss issues with any parent via email or phone or in person.  The same applies to the coaches.

If a club member has an issue that they wish to bring up with the board then written correspondence to the board is the best method. The board will review the correspondence at their next meeting, do any necessary research and then respond, if appropriate, after that.  This is a volunteer board with other commitments so one should not expect the board to drop everything and deal with your issue today unless it is a safety issue or other emergency.

Fitness and Development:  There have been concerns regarding training times, number of practices and the length of these practices. The Fitness and Development group has been a difficult area for the club and coaches. We do not consider a swimmer’s placement in F and D a demotion or a punishment.  The swimmers are put in this group because they have expressed a desire to swim less frequently, or to stop competing or because their attendance has fallen enough that their performance and ability to keep up are affecting the other swimmers in the group.  The objective is to keep the kids interested, fit and having fun. However, the expectations of the swimmers and their parents vary quite substantially across the group and it is difficult to accommodate everyone’s wishes. We try to reach as good a compromise as possible.  The other issue is with the practice hours.  When the Pisces Swim club returns to training at the Aquatic Centre in the summer the City of PG alters our access to pool hours.  All groups are affected including the Fitness and Development group.  Additional dry land training is one option that the club explores in keeping the swimmers active. 

The Fitness and Development Group is a continuing issue that we are trying to resolve.  There have been a number of iterations of this group in the years of my involvement with the Barracudas.  If any parents have ideas on how to improve this group the executive would love to hear from you.

The PGB are not broken. We have had a well functioning executive and a superb club. These are issues that should be addressed and that task  will fall to the executive. Our bylaws were last revised in 1989 and need to be revisited. The plan of the board is to solicit input from the members of the club and then revise the bylaws as necessary. The Society’s Act of BC is being revised and that may necessitate revisions to our bylaws in any case.  I see the revision of the bylaws taking most of the next year as there will need to be lawyers involved.  Then we would have a General Meeting or a Special Resolution at the AGM to endorse the changes suggested by the members and developed by your board.

It has been my pleasure to serve as your President and I look forward to another year with the Prince George Barracudas.



Visit Us Online at:

Prince George Barracuda Swim Club
P.O. Box 551
Prince George, BC V2L 4S8?
250 964 6103
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