Strategic Planning Program!

Strategic planning allows leaders of curling facilities in Canada to create long-term goals and objectives to drive success in the sport. (Photo supplied)

Curling Canada resumes program to keep curling’s heartbeat strong across the country

From the big cities to one-stoplight towns, curling is woven into the fabric of Canada.

And while top players such as Brad Gushue and Kerri Einarson get the spotlight during the winter, the curling clubs across the country form the game’s beating heart.

It is a heart that needs to keep pumping, so Curling Canada has resumed a Strategic Planning Program to help clubs from coast to coast thrive well into the future.

The Strategic Planning Program is a service Curling Canada’s Member Associations offer to clubs looking for a roadmap to a successful future. (Photo supplied)

Curling Canada determined over time that some clubs needed guidance in the planning department.

“It was surprising to us how few clubs operated with a plan,” said Bobby Ray, Curling Canada’s Manager of Club Development & Membership Services and point man charged with facilitating total strategic planning with clubs. “I’m not saying they were operating poorly, but that no vision was recorded for more than the immediate next season.”

The Strategic Planning Program is a service Curling Canada’s Member Associations offer to clubs looking for a roadmap to a successful future and works hand-in-hand with its Business of Curling symposiums (designed to help curling clubs understand their responsibilities as small business operators).

After lying dormant for a few years, the program is back up and running. Ray has already taken the program to clubs in Dawson Creek, B.C., Westlock, Alta., and Port Hawkesbury, N.S this fall.

“We’ll go anywhere where it is believed we can make a difference,” said Ray.

Ray said the Program is a “vision-based” approach to strategy and involves a two-day workshop with one or two clubs. While the Business Of Curling symposiums involve multiple clubs at once with generic content, the strategic planning sessions are between the facilitator and the club.

“We ask that there be a minimum of a quorum so that 50 per cent of board members are present,” said Ray. “Clubs can also invite other influential members of the club who they feel can contribute.”

Help in planning could involve anything —  from registration, food and beverage, ice rentals or ways to attract non-traditional curlers to the sport.

“Fair to say it’s all of the above,” said Ray. “They want more curlers, of course. They also feel they may be facing a volunteer crisis. Also facilities; our buildings are getting older. Some need new roofs or new rocks. Clubs are looking for help to put plans in place with a vision for the future.”

The process can include:

  • Identify vision, mission, values;
  • Conduct a demographic scan and situational analysis;
  • Determine strategic priorities;
  • Set goals;
  • Create an operations plan with immediate actions.

Ray is not alone in the program. Recently, he was joined by high-profile curlers Shannon Kleibrink of Curling Alberta and Kim Dennis of Curl BC, who are both learning to be facilitators. Curling Canada is hoping to have facilitators in various areas of the country.

Ray also welcomed the mentorship of Leslie Kerr, one of the original Business of Curling facilitators, who started nearly 20 years ago.

Kim Dennis (Curl BC), Shannon Kleibrink (Curling Alberta) and Bobby Ray (Curling Canada) with Jeff Ginter of the Dawson Creek Curling Club. (Photo supplied)

Jeff Ginter, general manager of the eight-sheet Dawson Creek Curling Club, benefited from a Program visit and said, “it was excellent.”

Ginter said about 15 people participated in the event, spending 12 hours together, reviewing the club’s vision. It also served as a valuable team-building exercise.

“We basically ended up with five pillars that we felt were our highest priority and we landed on three or four main goals for each of those pillars,” said Ginter. “That’s going to translate into a document here that will guide us as a strategic plan for the next three to five years. It will give us a great opportunity to be a little more focused.

“I would not hesitate for a second to recommend this for every single club that wants to be better in the future.”

For pricing and more information, clubs seeking planning help can contact their provincial or territorial association or [email protected].

Curling Canada