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House Call: Think about sitting on your curling club’s Board of Directors

Most curling clubs are guided by a Board of Directors. If you’re new to curling or you’ve been a member for only a few years, you might feel you don’t have anything to offer the Board. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Curling clubs are always trying to recruit new members, and who could be better than a new member to offer the Board fresh eyes, new energy, and interesting ideas. Please don’t let your neophyte status stop you from volunteering to help guide the club.

(Photo CCA)

Whether you’ve served on a million boards or you’re considering doing it for the first time, here are some compelling reasons to put your name forward – and a few reasons not to.

Networking and community-building – Being elected to your club’s Board of Directors will allow you to get to know many other members you might not otherwise have a chance to know. You never know if you’ll meet someone you can network with in a business sense or maybe you’ll find a new friend for life! Sitting on the Board of Directors is a great way to get to know the community that is your curling club.

You and the committee, as a collective, can effect change – Change may not come swiftly, as committees generally meet only once a month, but by working as a group and staying on top projects and taking new initiatives you can make huge improvements or just tweak things a little if they’re already working well.

Find a position on the Board that interests YOU – Everyone has a specialty, from marketing, to accounting, to engineering, to construction and so on. Try to run for a position that sounds stimulating and exciting to you. Individuals are much more likely to enjoy a task if it is something they are familiar with and already have some skill at and enthusiasm for. For instance, I personally would make a terrible treasurer, it’s just not my cup of tea, but boy am I glad there are people out there with number-oriented skills.

Don’t let having a complaint be your only reason for running – This is not a good reason to get onto the Board of Directors. This is probably a good reason for you to consider writing a letter to the Board raising your concern.

It’s OK to have some agenda if you’re running for the Board, just make sure your agenda isn’t single-minded. If you join the Board with only one beef you care about, all other aspects of the meetings and activities the committee does may seem boring or maybe even pointless to you. It is important to join not just for a complaint you have but because you want to help make the club better overall. It’s fine to bring forward a complaint at a Board meeting as long as it’s treated not as an impossible gripe but as a problem to work out together.

Don’t expect to make huge changes immediately – Things can only move so quickly when a group meets once a month. Be prepared for projects to take time and make sure the committee, as a whole, is on board with all ideas.

Keep your term short and sweet – If you are asked to sit for a three year term, do just that and take a break after the three years. Committees get stale and can seem almost, dare I say, elitist if there is not a clear succession plan and actual succession. I admire those volunteers who keep coming back to help again and again, but it’s important to rotate volunteers on the Board to prevent burn-out and encourage new blood to join.

Don’t join just to gain another chink in your belt – I have seen it happen where a member sits on the Board, does very little, but talks a huge game. If you want to sit on the Board of Directors of a Curling Club for the accolades I’m afraid you may be in for a surprise. Board members are respected for what they DO while on the Board not just for filling a chair.

Don’t run if you don’t want to – Sometimes people feel obligated to take on a volunteer role just because there isn’t anyone else (these are usually people who volunteer constantly and are a wonderful asset to any club). Taking on a role that doesn’t interest you is just going to bore you and potentially cause volunteer burnout. The last thing we want is to lose a great volunteer because he or she was pushed into doing too much. It’s OK to say no, just remember that.

Serving on a Board of Directors is great for your resume and is good for the community too – Prospective employers love to see volunteer experiences on a resume. Sitting on your club’s Board will allow you to add it to your resume, and your involvement will help to enrich the curling community.

I hope these tips will help you decide whether or not to run for the Board. No matter what you decide, I encourage you to volunteer at your club in some capacity in the future.