The Cockburn Cougars from Western Australia has become the first club to reach Homeplate status this year. Currently on 86 points on the ladder, the Cockburn Cougars has quickly become the Club to catch and they credit this achievement on their focus to becoming inclusive and accessible for anyone who wants to play softball or just be involved in their community.
So how did the Cougars go about making their Club inclusive and accessible?
The Club looked at ways in which they could reduce programs costs through fundraising and sponsorship, which also allowed them to run skill clinics for people of all abilities who wanted to play softball. They also reviewed the times when programs were run to see how they could accommodate more members and players.
Club Health Check and National Affiliation Standards Check
The Club completed the Club Health Check and National Affiliation Standards Check to identify what they were doing successfully and where they could improve. This led to the appointment of a Volunteer Coordinator which has helped to better utilise members’ skills. The checks have also allowed the Club to reassess their short and long term goals to better meet the needs of their members. They have also used the Homeplate website to guide the way the Club is managed with one example being the club looking to redo their Constitution using the Homeplate resources.
“As a family oriented, fun supportive club, we are always striving to provide the best environment and culture for our members and the community to be part of,” said Club President Shane Harrison.
“We recently surveyed our members to gain some insight in what areas we can improve on. We try to make the Club more than simply about softball: being part of a Club is a part of belonging in the community, so we are always looking at ways to make this happen.”
A focus on the future
The Cougars have created a greater emphasis on sustainable growth at their Club by focusing on retaining their existing members whilst also looking to attract new members. One way this has been done is by running a Softball Batter Up program. Club volunteer Lynda Vinten delivered the seven week program and most weeks there were around 15 children attending which could represent the next generation of players for the Cougars.
Softball Clubs do not run without volunteers and officials and the Cougars recognised that having highly skilled ones benefit both the club and the individuals. The Club had members complete coaching and scoring courses and have made accreditation courses easy to access to ensure the players and the Cougars’ community have access to the best resources and training opportunities possible.
Congratulations are extended to the Cockburn Cougars as the first club to reach Homeplate status in 2018/19.