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Business of Curling: This BC curling facility is ahead of the curve when it comes to planning!

More often than not, many curling facilities ‘react’ to need rather than preparing simple, medium-range plans to guide their future. I met up with two members from Nelson, BC and they shared with me some of the great work and tangible steps their board had done to secure the future of their operation and to grow the sport in their community.

Here is a taste of what they have accomplished to date. Danny Lamoureux
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Nelson Curling Centre (NCC) – Initiatives 2010

While many curling clubs take the summer off, the NCC executive has been meeting regularly and working non-stop. While our club has been established over 100 years and we enjoy significant community support, we are concerned about declining enrolment. The on-going development of our strategic plan, based on the model provided by CurlBC, has propelled us into projects and areas that are already beginning to show results.

Nelson CC ~ 2010/11 Strategic Plan: A draft version was created in alignment with CurlBC’s Strategic Plan. We have been formalizing policies and developing activities that support and achieve the direction set out within the Strategic Plan.

Enhanced Interaction – External Marketing and Communications

  • Radio Advertising: A recent motion at the regional level put forward by our club resulted in funds being provided for a generic curling promo on a regional basis.
  • Promotional Material: Posters and booklets have been ordered from CurlBC. These are professional, high quality materials that quickly catch the eye. They will be used to promote our Registration Night and for general advertising purposes.
  • New Website: We have successfully launched a new website and it looks great! Check it out at www.nelsoncurling.com. The site includes downloadable forms and newsletters. The website will improve communication and reduce administrative tasks.
  • Community Outreach programs: Include the Kootenay Challenge to businesses and organizations in the Nelson area. We have found that businesses are turning to us to provide an activity as part of their Health and Wellness programs. We intend to promote the club to employers in a systematic fashion by offering to host Health and Wellness activities for their employees.
  • Advertising/Sponsorship: We are establishing advertising policies and prices with a plan to organize a systematic approach for expanding our advertisers and sponsors.

Enhanced Capacity Building – Facilities and Revenue Generation

  • Business of Curling Symposium in Vernon: Two representatives will be attending this symposium hosted by CurlBC. We anticipate a great deal of valuable information and direction will be generated and are excited to be participating.
  • Grant opportunities are actively being sought. Four have been completed since June and submitted. If successful, the club will benefit from extensive renovations for accessibility, a Girls Can Curl program, and increased opportunity to train coaches.
  • Monday Night Open curling has been designed to provide open curling opportunities for existing curlers as well as newcomers. Private coaching session, free lessons, drop in curling, make up games, grudge matches and corporate challenge nights will all be offered.
  • Lounge and Bar Area improvements are being undertaken with a view to increase the rental opportunities for non-curling events. Once they are complete, we will be undertake a marketing strategy for club rentals. Check out our new paint job!
  • Capital Projects – Building improvements are currently in progress, including a new sound system, upgrades to the bar, a fresh paint job, and new carpet along the ice. These projects have been made possible by fundraising and grant applications.

Enhanced Participation – Youth, Adult & Community Development

  • Rocks and Rings™ Off-Ice program will be launched October 1st, 2010. The club undertook a successful fundraising program to obtain Rocks and Rings to our Club; the first time  it has been offered outside of the mainland. We have secured several commitments from local school principals and are ready to deliver. We have developed three Youth Instructors from our Junior Curling Program to present the program within the schools.
  • After School Youth programs: Mondays & Thursdays 3:30 – 5:00. This program will be promoted during the Rocks and Rings program. An email has also been sent to all the schools with information regarding registration night, and details regarding the junior curling program.
  • Free Training for new curlers and returning curlers coaching offered pre-season and during season.
  • New Curling Opportunities: We are launching an Open Mixed Skins bonspiel, a Hallowe’en funspiel and a Kootenay Challenge one day spiel. While the Open Mixed is a new format for one of our existing bonspiels, the other two have been added with a specific view of attracting new participants and providing opportunities to enjoy a fun and friendly day of curling for all ages.

Enhanced Performance – Athlete Development and Competition

  • Community Club Coach Certification: With only 4 coaches in the club, succession planning requires that more individuals become certified. Plans are underway for Nelson to host the Community Club Coach training program November 20th.
  • Juvenile Playdowns will be hosted by the club in December. This will be a great opportunity for our juveniles to experience and observe playdowns as well as establish contacts with youths from neighbouring communities.

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There are really neat ideas here; congrats Nelson!

Many curling centres in our country could simply take this plan and change the name Nelson to their own and a few other adjustments and presto! a plan. The problem with that method, however, is that you never really own the plan and it has a better chance of sitting on the shelf and pretty much ignored instead of being implemented.

In my opinion, simplicity is always better. Start out by asking yourself “what do we do and who do we do it for”. You may think you know the answers but, you will be surprised by the different answers you might get from around the table.

Once you have that nailed down, proceed to “dreaming” about where you would like the business to be in the future (5 years down the road?). Then analyze where you are today in all areas of the business. Finally and most importantly, work on how you get from where you are today to where you want to be in 5 years.

While these are just the very basics of planning, it is simple, right?

One final tip: don’t think you have to accomplish everything you come up with. We recommend that you choose 1-2 items per year and make them your priority for the upcoming season.

Thank you Nelson and good planning to all!