Capital Lakes Rowing Club
The Need: Several rowing clubs in Canberra have open membership and there was a concern amongst the rowing community that not enough was being done to encourage the development of junior rowers. Founded in December 1998, Capital Lakes Rowing Club began with a commitment to identify, encourage and develop young rowers in rowing as part of their overall development. At the outset the Club adopted a philosophy of coaching to the best possible technical skills, using the Australian Institute of Sport as a model; encouraging rowers to identify short, medium and long term goals; giving equal rights in the running of the club to all members; and giving young rowers access to the networks of more senior members for opportunities such as work experience and other career and educational matters.
The Goal: To raise $150,000 to acquire appropriate equipment geared to the development of rowing skills in junior rowers, to cater for their progression through different levels of competence and to develop a fleet made up of boats of all categories to enable maximum membership participation.
The Approach: Rowing is a sport increasing in popularity and Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin with its 15 kilometre length and 1800 metre rowing course together with its regular early morning calm surface, makes it one of the world’s great lakes for rowing. The Club is based in Kingston in South Canberra in an old Nissan hut which started life as an RAAF hangar in the 1940s and has been a base for rowing from 1963 when Lake Burley Griffin was filled.
Public Officer and Head Coach of Capital Lakes Rowing Club, David Butt, says rowing is growing in popularity with young rowers, especially young women aged between 13 and 18. It encourages the pursuit of individual excellence, improves health and fitness and is complementary to a team approach, with participation in regattas. David Butt says that the Club’s program is both challenging and satisfying for young rowers, with positive effects on their personal development, self-esteem and academic results.
The Club has four areas of financial support outside its subscription base; support from the ACT Government through Sports Grants; sponsorship support from bodies such as ACTTAB and McDonalds; the ACT Labour Club through its community support programs; and what David Butt describes as ‘the critical fourth element’ of fitting the project guidelines of the Australian Sports Foundation.
The Australian Sports Foundation, he says, gives opportunities for individuals to contribute. Club members approach potential donors on a one-to-one basis to talk about the role and philosophy and the Club and tax deductible donations have ranged from $100 to $15,000.
The Challenge: Developing the equipment base and keeping equipment up to competitive standard is an ongoing challenge. Whilst seeking new equipment, the Club acquires good second hand equipment when available and the equipment matches the specified objectives of the Club’s rolling development plan. It recently purchased two quad sculls from the Australian Institute of Sport, which was made possible by its relationship with the Australian Sports Foundation giving tax deductibility.
With the growing profile of the Club, care is taken in marketing as equipment and coaching are the critical limiting factors if the club is to ensure its philosophical goals are met. The ongoing opportunity to benefit from the Australian Sports Foundation helps address the equipment needs and contributes to the coaching as people are more willing to coach when appropriate equipment is available for the athletes.
The successful strategies:
- The greatest advertisement for a club is its members and their families;
- Use each young rower as a supervised coach: even after a short period they have skills and knowledge to pass on to newcomers;
- A professional approach is essential for coaches, administrators and all volunteers;
- Let people know what the Club is doing: if they like it, they’ll be generous;
- Use the Australian Sports Foundation scheme because it works; and
- Be effective in using people power: don’t burn up volunteers.
Location: Capital Lakes Rowing is located in Canberra.