Next Steps from AGM Regatta Discussion

During 2017 the Rowing BC Regatta Committee focused on learning and becoming efficient at processing sanction applications. While regatta sanction will remain a critical part of the Committee work, the focus of the group has broadened to other regatta improvement projects. To help start this process, the Committee organized a one-hour session at the 2017 Rowing BC AGM on Saturday, November 18, 2017. The invitation was shared with all BC-based rowing organizations’ primary contacts and local organizing committee chairs. About 40 people attended the session, representing a variety of stakeholder groups. These included administrators, coaches, athletes, umpires, and local organizing committee members.

This session focused on the second of two major recommendations that emerged from work done by the Regatta Review Working group in 2016:

  1. To develop an overall regatta system/calendar that better meets the needs of the BC rowing community.
  2. To ensure that all regattas in BC are of the highest quality possible given each regatta’s available resources.

The intention of this session hosted by the Rowing BC Regatta Committee was not to simply look at challenges and respond with “Rowing BC should…” Rather, it was intended to be an opportunity for regatta stakeholders to brainstorm ways in which the broader rowing community in BC could support one another. Some support may come from Rowing BC, and some may come from other sources.

Participants examined three aspects of regattas in small groups. They were asked to consider what is currently is being done well, to point out ongoing challenges, and then to suggest some potential actions to address those challenges.

The topics covered were:

  • Regatta Preparation – everything that happens before the day of the regatta
  • Regatta Execution – the running of the event on the day(s) of the regatta
  • Regatta Follow-Up – everything that is done after the last race is over

The session concluded with each participant identifying their top 3 ideas from the discussions, in priority order. By assigning priority, an overall ranking was given to the topics.

The topics that arose as consistently rated the highest priority were Volunteers, Shared Templates/Resources, and Communication. 

The full report in detail can be viewed here.

What has been done so far?

Volunteers: The Regatta Committee is initially exploring three action steps to begin addressing the volunteer-related concerns that arose. These will include:

  • Possible creation of a volunteer training workshop series. Similar to the coach professional development workshops, these workshops would focus on skills that require practice but can then be applied to a variety of regatta/event environments. This would include topics such as safety boat operation, and timing training. In addition to teaching valuable volunteer skills, this type of opportunity would assist in building a strong volunteer community across the province by giving volunteers more chances to meet and get to know one another outside of their home club/organization.
  • Helping LOCs to clearly define volunteer roles and responsibilities. This may begin with a document outlining classic roles required to put on a regatta and the ideal type of person to fill each. Development of a resource of this kind could also enable Rowing BC to help generally promote volunteer opportunities more directly for other events as needed.
  • Possible creation of thank you card templates for LOCs to use, as well as further exploration through the Rowing BC Awards and Recognition Committee into how volunteers across the province can be better recognized and thanked for all that they do.

Shared Templates/Resources: Two large changes will be taking place in 2018 that will help to address some of the shared templates/resources suggestions that came forward.

  • The role of the Chief Umpire is changing. The CU will now be part of the regatta planning much earlier in the process and is expected to work with the LOC in completing the sanction application and other early-stage planning. CUs are knowledgeable and experienced in regatta planning and execution and will be a valuable resource to support LOCs.
  • RCA is in the final stages of launching an online sanction application form through the WebReg system that will replace the current pdf forms. This form will make it easier for LOCs to find guidance on the type of answers required on the form, and assist with efficient communication between the LOC and Rowing BC if questions arise during the process. Careful completion and submission of the sanction document is intended to guide LOCs in their planning of a safe and fair event.

Communication: Rowing BC is in the midst of a full review of communication strategies. In this, the opportunity to better highlight the importance of LOC members, volunteers etc. will be examined. Rowing BC will be connecting with organizations across the province in early 2018 to discuss strategies that will allow for better support of the delivery of regattas.

Did the regatta discussion at the AGM spur on additional thoughts or questions for you? Share those ideas!

Contact Rowing BC at or 604-273-4769.