1. Introduction and presentation by Mike McClure
On 24th April 2019, eighteen LVO members, two guests (Mike McClure of SportNI and Duane Fitzsimons of Belfast City Council) met for a workshop on the future direction of the club, led by guest coordinator Nathalie Foehr.
Nathalie opened the evening by inviting everyone present to tell us who they are, what brought them to orienteering and their expectation of the workshop. Some had only been orienteering for a year and wanted to learn more about the sport, but the record was set by Wilbert Hollinger, who has been orienteering for 60 years (and shows no sign of slowing down). Common reasons for starting were being introduced to it in the Scouts, or as a way of getting a run with small children lurking in the background. A number of those small children are keen orienteers a generation later. Nathalie commented afterwards that those present demonstrated real passion and commitment to the sport.
Mike McClure then gave a really interesting and insightful presentation on “Developments in Outdoors Recreation and Sports”. You can read a copy by clicking here. One of Mike’s observations was that recent huge investments in organised team sports have just made it easier for the sporty to do sport, with little impact on the 50% of EU citizens who seldom or never play sport and the 30% who don’t do any form of physical activity. In contrast, outdoor activities in the natural environment have been shown to have all sorts of physical and psychological benefits over the range of activity levels. Outdoor activities therefore feature strongly in the next generation of community plans being developed by councils.
Mike also noted that the promotion of “Active Outdoors” can be provided 1) as a public service, 2) by volunteers such as LVO and 3) by commercial providers, who can derive substantial profit from organised experiences for people who just want to ‘pay-and-play’.
The Mourne Seven Sevens is an example of how LVO could improve its financial stability (no surprise that this has been a long-standing problem!) by catering to this last audience.
I’ll follow this post with a couple more on how the evening developed. We were first asked to record ideas which Mike inspired by his presentation. The focus was then for groups to identify their top 5 ‘blockers’ – things which are getting in the way of running a successful club.
But, before I do that, I’m conscious that a lot was said which I may have missed. So, add your comments to this post to round out your picture of the first part of the evening.
In my next post I’ll list the blockers I have a record of and where the people at the meeting ranked them. We did make a start on ideas for removing the blockers. These ideas could be used as the basis for initiatives to improve the club, so I’ll describe those too.
More to follow.