Special General Meeting
Tuesday 26 July 2016, 7:30pm
Town Centre Vikings Club
Agenda Paper: Resolutions for the 2016-2017 season and future of the Lanyon Little Athletics Association
Lanyon Little Athletics Association Incorporated (LLAA) prides itself on being a small, friendly club with a focus on having fun and celebrating each athlete’s personal best. The Special General Meeting has been called to allow all parents/carers of Lanyon little athletes to consider the issues put forward in this paper and have a say about the future of LLAA.
Issue: Committee and general parent participation
Committee members and coaches are unpaid volunteers. There are currently ten Committee members representing eight families. Each Committee member holds several roles for example, Treasurer/Canteen Manager/Uniform Officer, Registrar/Coach and Secretary/Competition Manager/Coach. Following the AGM, key roles including President, Vice President and Public Officer remain vacant or filled temporarily.
In addition to managing the behind the scenes activities of providing a competition, coaching and maintaining our responsibilities to ACT Little Athletics Association (ACTLAA), the Committee manages the bulk of the work at the Saturday morning competition including set up/pack down, timing gates/circular track/hurdles timing and starting positions. Committee members rarely see their children compete at Saturday meets. Committee members also ensure that LLAA responsibilities are met at ACTLAA carnivals across the season often giving up there weekends when their own children are not even competing.
It is not sustainable for a group of only 10 or less volunteer parents to provide an athletic club in Lanyon Valley without increased participation from all parents. Increased parent participation at both Saturday meetings and represented on the Committee is necessary for LLAA to continue.
There are a number of ways to both increase parent participation and lighten the burden on the Committee. A strict parent roster for set up and pack up responsibilities with accompanying penalties on those athletes whose parents do not assist could be established. A roster for managing timing and recording of events could also be prepared with those events forfeited if the positions are not filled. Should the 2016-2017 season proceed, it is unlikely the Committee will continue with time intensive activities such as weekly PB awards and the Lanyon Carnival. Until this season, the Committee has been reluctant to penalise athletes and has shouldered the load.
In preparation for the 2015-2016 season, and in acknowledgement that the Association could no longer afford to lose money over a season, the fees were raised from $110 to $120 and the multiple child discount removed. It is worth noting that $65 of this fee was paid by LLAA to the ACTLAA as part of our affiliation. Affiliation with ACTLAA provides insurance and an operating umbrella without which little athletics would cease to function. As a result of the fee increase, LLAA maintained our current finances to the same level as at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 season.
LLAA faces some large purchases of equipment in the future including replacing the timing gates and high jump mats. If the LLAA continues, there is likely to be another significant increase in fees for the 2016-2017 season. With a smaller membership of athletes than larger clubs, every fee increase has a greater effect on an individual family. LLAA struggles to attract sponsors willing to provide substantial support as the small size of the club provides limited exposure to potential sponsors. The only way to continue funding LLAA into the future will be to significantly raise fees, significantly increase the membership base or put substantially more work into obtaining grants.
Issue: Competition for under 12 age groups and above
While the number of athletes in the club increased in the 2015-2016 season from just under 100 to 127 athletes, it remains difficult to provide regular Saturday morning competition for those athletes in the older age groups. While some attrition can be expected from the younger age groups who first ‘come and try’ athletics for one or two seasons, it is also reasonable to expect that if we had increased member numbers (up to the 200 athletes), there would also be greater competition for older athletes. In the 2015-2016 season, there were sixteen boys and ten girls in the under 12 and above age groups at LLA.
Following the release of “One Sport – The Future Course: An Independent Review of Athletics in Australia, 2015“, the participation and engagement of athletes in their teens is also being considered at a national level.
Resolutions for Lanyon Little Athletics Association Special General Meeting
Resolution 1: Approach another athletics club in Tuggeranong valley about a merge – Tuggeranong Little Athletics Association (TLAA) or Calwell Little Athletics Club (CLAC).
One option for LLA is to merge with another club which shares similar values and geographic location. In this scenario LAA could approach Tuggeranong or Calwell Little Athletic clubs about the possibly of a merge. A merge would involve combining finances, Committees and equipment. It could also mean agreeing on a possible new Club name, uniform, location of meets as well as the legal logistics of lodging a new Association under the Associations Incorporations Act 1991. It may take some time to negotiate the logistics of a merge and this is unlikely to be accomplished prior to the commencement of the 2016-2017 season. As you would expect, the Committee of the other club would also have to be in agreement to a merge.
A merge with Tuggeranong Little Athletics Club would see two of the smaller clubs in the valley combine resources as TLAA has approximately the same number of members as LLAA. While this would mean it is likely that the two clubs can maintain a smaller, friendlier atmosphere many of the same problems may continue. That is, even if the LLAA and TLAA combine we may struggle to fill Committee positions, offer a viable competition for older athletes and will need to raise fees to compensate for being a smaller club.
A merge with CLAC would be geographically closer for many in the Banks/Conder/Gordon region than TLAA. CLAC is a larger club at approximately 200 athletes, appears to maintain a strong Committee and is competitive at ACTLAA carnivals. Merging with CLAC may mean a loss of the friendly atmosphere at LLA and the creation of a very large Club which would be difficult to manage. From appearance, CLAC may not need the financial resources and physical equipment that LLAA would bring to a merge whereas TLAA may benefit greatly from a financial boost.
If a merge was agreed members of LLAA would still be free to choose whichever Little Athletics club suits their child and family circumstances.
Resolution 2: Run a combined season with another athletics club in Tuggeranong valley.
If time does not permit a merge with another athletics club prior to the 2016-2017 season, the possibility remains that two clubs could run a combined season with a view to a merge the following year. This would give the two Committees time to work out the details of a merge and for families to try a new club environment.
Resolution 3: Dissolve the LLAA
Under section 19 of the LLAA Constitution, the Association can be dissolved by special resolution at a Special General Meeting. In this circumstance, all assets, debts and liabilities and monies are offered to the Board of Management at ACTLAA. ACTLAA would distribute assets to other clubs in the Canberra region as it sees fit.
If the club dissolves, the LLAA Committee and families will have no say about where the resources are distributed.
Option: Seek to continue the LLAA with increased parent participation and Committee members by holding nominations for positions.
A final option is to generate increased parent participation in both the running of the Saturday competition and for Committee positions. At least 5-8 new Committee members would be required to fill positions. Even volunteers for minor positions on the Committee would allow existing experienced Committee members to take on the higher profile, more time consuming roles.
Similarly, changes could be made to the Saturday competition to enforce parent participation and apply penalties to athletes/age group teams where it is lacking. If new Committee members volunteered, there would still need to be changes to operations (i.e. no Lanyon Carnival, potential reduction in range of events offered) and a very likely increase in fees for the next few seasons.
The LLAA Committee invites you to consider these issues and resolutions prior to the Special General Meeting.