Pebbles to Boulders: Organization + Fun = Success

Being organized is a key step to the success of any curling program. That’s a message I stress with program organizers. Fun is the happiness on the faces of those you are serving. Success is a relative term, which can be measured in many different ways, but can be the satisfaction of a job well done. Organization, fun and success are enjoyed by the Little Rockers of Bally Haly Golf and Country Club in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Bally Haly happy curler and half-way hack (Photo courtesy M. Cooper)

Passion is another ingredient contributing toward the over-all enjoyment of all. Elinor Udell is certainly nowhere near short of any passion when it comes to Little Rock curling. When speaking of the Guidelines for the Little Rock Co-ordinator, Elinor notes, “I wrote it specifically for new coaches coming into the program and the management at our curling club.”
While at first glance the 27-page organizational document looks rather daunting, it is really a five-page, very well laid out brief with numerous helpful appendices. Simple and easy to follow, the guidelines are a fine resource for any volunteer to have handy for reference when directing the program. The areas of reference clearly highlighted are marketing, registration, recruitment of instructors, on-ice training and instruction, information management and communication, evaluating and reporting, budgets, program accountability, equipment, health and safety, motivation, scheduling, social events and archives.

Bally Haly curler receives his awards at the Little Rocks Banquet (Photo courtesy M. Cooper)

Let us take a glimpse at some of these areas that Elinor has so neatly prepared. Marketing involves a smartly prepared 8.5” x 11” poster with program information which is sent to local elementary schools with an informative covering letter. The guidelines include school addresses obtained off the internet. Registration is cleverly cared for by a registration form and cover letter to parents or guardians. The key here is that the season schedule and program expectations are already laid out for the season. What a benefit to families who wish to plan vacations or other activities around the curling season. Brilliant! One method for recruitment of volunteers is supported by approaching juniors of provincial and national calibre to coach the Little Rockers. Elinor highlights, “In exchange for their time and expertise, the Little Rock program arranges for complimentary junior memberships. It is also great for the Little Rockers to be very close to these young star curlers.” What a very nice perk for the juniors to have their membership paid!

Little Rock Christmas celebrations at Bally Haly (Photo courtesy M. Cooper)

Motivation is handled in two ways. There is a seven-badge skill development program and matching navy blue jackets for uniforms. The skill development program is broken down with badges being awarded for each of stance level one, brushing level one, slide level one, turns level one, sportsmanship, slide level two and turns level two. “The jackets make everyone look like part of a team,” says Udell. “Just like the big curlers on television.” There is even a specific outline to follow in placing all badges on the jackets. Social events include parties for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter and the Closing Banquet. Food is arranged as well as prizes from the local dollar store. “We even celebrate victories with events such as the Tim Hortons Brier and Olympics. Parent volunteers put their creativity into the hosting of these special social events,” glows Elinor.
A little effort, plus a bit of passion, times some good organization, plus fun, equals success for Little Rockers at the Bally Haly in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
If you know of a Little Rock curling program or a special Little Rocker that has a story to be told, I would be thrilled to hear from you. Contact me at email, [email protected].