Secretary’s Report [47]

By Nick Gill

Almost another Rock ‘n’ Roll. I can’t say I was at the first one, but I’ve been going since 1993, missing only maybe one or two. At my first event I could roll already, but there, just off Patonga, I rolled in open salt water for the first time. Suddenly extreme lean turns held no fear! I remember vividly the feeling of achievement. The Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend can do that for paddlers, and many have had such experiences over the years.

As we all know we had problems last year. That wasn’t the Club’s proudest moment, but it has made this year an interesting one to be on the committee. We have had to deal with the aftermath, re-evaluate our procedures, and decide how we will run Rock ‘n’ Roll this year. I think we have come up with an approach that recognises the growth of the event, which will maintain the fun and which will attend to safety as well. I think the Club has responded well to the situation. On top of this has been the new AC Award structure and considerable thinking as to how to position the Club for this. To a large extent actually implementing the Club approach to this is probably next year’s main task for the new committee. That committee will also have the task of assessing our approach to this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend.

It’s been good fun, and I have always enjoyed meeting up with other committee members. Being involved with a group trying to manage a Club engaged in a relatively high-risk sport has been a learning experience to say the least! Each year produces new situations to deal with and demands adjusting our procedures. The Club is in constant evolution as we strive to maintain a focus on paddling and trips, whilst ensuring safety and risk management are not ignored. I can recall when the trip grading system, first put together by Gary Edmond, was introduced. At the time it was about the only management tool the Club had. It’s been tweaked a few times now, and we now also have various policies, a trip leader’s briefing guide, waiver forms, improved insurance, a trip leader’s course and a strong group of instructors.

I won’t be there next year. I am pulling the pin after two years on the committee. Much of the job of Secretary/Treasurer is characterised by routine compared to other positions. However, as a committee member you are also involved in other issues to do with Club management, and can expand your involvement as you wish.

So yes, the Secretary/Treasurer position is open. Consider putting yourself forward for the position. The work involved is consistent but not onerous. If you are interested or want more information, email me or phone me on (02) 4226 2647.

As for more mundane matters: membership has edged to just over 200. We remain down on the level of 250 in 2000, but it’s still healthy. Club finances are in reasonable shape, although we still have this magazine to pay for this year. We are also spending more than previously on the Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend. The small fee we are charging for attendance will hopefully cover our expanded costs.

Thanks to the efforts of Wollongong member Andrew McPhail, we also have a new batch of Club stickers. These are available for $2 when you rejoin and they’ll be available at the Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend.

Speaking of rejoining, do yourself and the Club a favour and renew your membership by post before the Rock ‘n’ Roll. You’ll save yourself and the organisers some work on the weekend. There is a copy of the membership form in this magazine – get it off to me today.

We have also been attending to the matter of proficiency assessments. Due to some problems in past with administration of the awards and in instructor certification, some proficiency assessments have not actually been formally confirmed. These problems came to light at the beginning of the year as I attempted to process proficiency assessments from Rock ‘n’ Roll 2000. The administration of the award scheme is being centralised to a greater extent and this has exposed shortcomings in the existing system. Shortly before fronting up for our instructor assessments, Rob Mercer and I discovered that, as far as Australian Canoeing was concerned, we didn’t have the proficiency award, a prerequisite for the instructor award! We thought we had it under our belts some years ago. Fortunately for us, this was resolved in conjunction with Australian Canoeing.

We have gone through our database and provided Australian Canoeing with a list of members whom we believe have the proficiency award. If you believe you have the proficiency award and you have an older certificate, for example, a small green one from the Australian Canoe Federation, get in touch with Australian Canoeing in Sydney and check your status. They have been most helpful when such certificates have been produced and have accepted the award and issued certificates (at no charge) even if you were not registered on their database as having proficiency. If you sat for proficiency in late 2000 or in 2001, you should have received your certificate by now. Unfortunately there were some hiccups in the process. These have now been resolved by the Club and Australian Canoeing. We apologise for the delay.