One Club itching to get back on the diamond once isolation restrictions are lifted will be Newcastle Softball Association’s Strikers who have already achieved their third consecutive Homeplate recognition.
The reigning ‘Homeplate Club Champions’ are currently in third place nationally, in Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder program 2019-20 on 110 points.
Only three years ago the Strikers committee had a small number of junior players and in particular, only three players under the age of 12. The club’s belief was that without juniors there was no future for the club.
Strikers put in place a strategy to increase the number of juniors not just for Strikers but for softball in general. Strikers put their plan in motion which saw them heavily subsidise registration fees for children under 12 years old. It was a huge cost to the club, but major fundraising projects allowed Strikers to achieve their goals.
The results have been phenomenal with the club posting membership growth increases each following season and this year posted a 3% growth in membership.
“With the focus of our main goal being increasing members our club is increasing in size every year,” said Club Committee member Sharon Taylor.
“We are very proud of our club’s continued growth over the last few years. We have been subsidizing children’s registrations, which has ensured that the sport is affordable for all.
“We work hard to keep all families updated with information and to encourage and develop existing and new club members with the skills to volunteer in different ways in the club. We have different members on the committee that focus on juniors and seniors separately as they have different needs.”
The club places significant importance on planning and, in particular, their Strategic Plan.
“It is extremely important, and the committee has noticed significant changes since not just developing but implementing the plan. It’s a team effort but keeps us all accountable for our individual roles that make the club such a success,” said Taylor.
APPOINTING A WELCOMING OFFICER
Appointing the Welcoming Officer has been a fantastic initiative by the club.
“We strongly suggest though that it can’t be just anyone, it has to be someone with the right skills for this role. We chose Elizabeth Cadogan who has been around the game volunteering for many years.
“She has a welcoming personality and is very approachable. Having Elizabeth at registrations and training for the families to meet with has allowed the rest of the committee to focus on other duties to make registrations and the beginning of season less stressful.”
The feedback from members has been extremely positive, members are happy with how family orientated and welcoming the club is. The club encourages people to come to them with problems so they can discuss and move quickly to resolve.
This allows game day to run smoothly with as much focus on fun as there is with improving players’ skills.
VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Volunteer recruitment and management has also been a major focus for the club over the last few years.
“We have an extensive register which highlights each volunteer’s accreditation and expiry dates,” added Taylor.
“We contact and assist our members, months before their expiry, and work with them to get re-accredited to make sure all volunteers have the appropriate qualifications and checks.
“We encourage new families to get involved and help in a small way, we work hard to keep all families updated with information and to encourage and develop existing and new club members with the skills to volunteer in different ways around the club.
“We try not to overwhelm new volunteers, As an example, we encourage new scorers to score in scoreless games like t-ball, to give them some basic skills of the game as a first step towards becoming an accredited scorer if they are interested.”
ACHIEVING HOMEPLATE STATUS
The club works hard to achieve Homeplate status each year and this year they were well prepared with their action plan in place.
“We didn’t have to rush at the end which is why we have been able to achieve Homeplate Status so early this year. Achieving Homeplate status provides the club with positive exposure in the softball community and recognition for our hard work,” added Taylor
The club also regularly uses the Homeplate website for tools, templates and information. This year they used the volunteer management, risk management, fundraising and sponsorship tools with success.
For more information visit the Homeplate website.