Noting that the club was growing rapidly and recognizing that a sustainability plan would ensure the club exists beyond the terms of the current board members, the Charlotte Running Club Board of Directors headed to Asheville, Saturday to develop a fresh mission statement and a clear vision plan. With members now paying dues, the board also discussed important budget issues and the importance of transparency when it comes to spending club money. And we hashed out a rough draft of a 2011 calendar.
Before summarzing the details of the retreat, I want to let everyone know that no club funds were used for this trip. Board members paid for their own lodging and food. A remote location was chosen so the board would be focused and without distraction.
First, our broad vision and mission. While each is brief and distinct, what we came up with was one of the more time consuming tasks and lead to some of the most vigorous debate. Before we could really define what who we are, we had to agree on what we wanted to be and what direction the club was going to go in. One topic we dwelled on at length was objectivity. After much discussion, we agreed that the club was to not take stances on running related issues that skew political. The most recent and easiest example to share is the proposed paving of parts of McAlpine Greenway. While we realize that this is an issue runners may feel passionate about, it will not be in our best interest to take a stance. However, we will do everything we can to promote awareness of this issue and others like it. Furthermore, we will encourage members to get involved and share their opinions when running related issues, debates or challenges arise in the Charlotte community.
The Charlotte Running Club's Vision is to promote a passion for running.
With that statement in place, we were able to move on to future business. All decisions were made by determining if the course of action being discussed fit into the above mission. Our next step was to define a mission; what we hoped the club would achieve for its members.
The Charlotte Running Club's Mission is:
*Help members become more consistent
*Create a sense of comaradarie
*Help members meet running goals.
While it was the final exercise of a nearly eight hour day, perhaps the most important discussion we had was about our one, three and five year plans. We were able to narrow it down to seven broad goals for 2011, five for 2014 and three for 2016. Goals are not listed in order of priority.
*Set world record in 5K X 100 relay competition
*Expand team competitions
*Establish regulary scheduled and consistent social events
*Launch an annual race
*Appoint a volunteer coordinator
*Begin developing relationships with other regional and national running clubs
*Develop a system of ordering and distributing branded apparrel.
*Have an established annual race
*Have a defined mentor/coaching system in place
*Purchase a race timing system
*Have a system for measuring success of group runs
*Have criteria in place for relationships with local and national vendors interested in sponsorship/partnership.
*Have a firm sustainable management structure
*Be a regionally recognized and respected running club
*Field a sponsored elite team
In setting these goals, the board discussed things we were good at and things that needed improvement. We agreed that we were good at helping runners improve and remain consistant. We were good at motivating runners to come to work outs or try to chase a personal best in an upcoming race. We are good at helping runners reach personal goals. We are good at promoting comradarie. We are good at organizing team events.
On the flip side, we need to work on including more of our members. We realize the is a perception of elitism and that the onus is on the leadership to shed that perception. We are not an exclusive club. We tend to focus on competition and need to do a better job of making more of our group runs fun. We have not done a good job at building a sustainable leadership structure. As a side conversation, we identified runners within in the club that may be suited for leadership roles and board positions in the future. We need to do a better job at fielding multiple teams at team events (i.e. Corporate Cup, Blue Ridge Relay). We excel at fielding one team, but then leave others out.
Along with mission and vision, the board also moved to purchase membership in the Road Runners Club of America. The primary benefit of our membership in the organization is the liability insurance. It allows to hold group functions in a safe and responsible manor. Cost for the board is $150. The insurance will cost roughly $1,000. An exact figure will be communicated to the general membership when the transaction has been completed. As an RRCA member, we will be required to have bi-laws, a bi-annual election of board members and open meetings where all due-paying club members are welcome to attend.
Along with RRCA, we moved to renew our membership with USA Track and Field for three years at a cost of $180. This allows us to compete in team competitions and championships at the club level at USATF sanctioned events.
With membership dues continuing to come in, we etched out a spending plan for the remainder of 2011.
Some expenditures include:
*$200 for food and refreshments at group runs
*$1500-$2000 for an annual social (details to be discussed at a separate meeting)
*$500 for a fall social
*$400 for rental of McAlpine Park for marquee race
(funds are based on a 300 member projection. We are currently at 220+ paid members)
Finally, we planned out a tentative social schedule for the remainder of 2011. Details of events to come in the near future:
•Feb 6 -- TrySports/Craft event 2-5pm -- TrySports Charlotte @ Blakeney Shopping Center, details at the Club blog here.
•Feb 13 -- Freedom Park -- 5.30pm -- Valentines Day Run. No one left behind! We will have a sweeper and will divide into pace groups.
•Mar 13 -- Freedom Park -- 5.30pm -- Saint Patricks Day Run. No one left behind! We will have a sweeper and will divide into pace groups.
•Apr 30 -- Annual club social (details to come in early spring!)
•May 5 -- Cinco de Mayo Run -- Dilworth Neighborhood Grille.
•May 7 -- CRC club birthday! -- First Annual 5k at McAlpine.
•June 18 -- CRC family picnic in Freedom Park.
•July 2 -- Fireworks group run in SC.
•Aug 20 -- Marathon Social.
•Sept 11 -- Beer Mile. (Leave your camera at home...)
•Oct 23 -- Freedom Park -- 5.30pm -- Halloween Group Run. No one left behind! We will have a sweeper and will divide into pace groups.
•Nov 20-- Freedom Park -- 5.30pm -- Food Drive Group Run. No one left behind! We will have a sweeper and will divide into pace groups.
•Dec 18 – Freedom Park -- 5.30pm -- Holiday Lights Group Run. No one left behind! We will have a sweeper and will divide into pace groups.
There were so many side discussions and ideas that came out of this retreat; far too many to list here. However, we all took detailed notes and would be happy to share any details with any club member who'd like to learn more. Please don't hesitate to contact myself or anyone else on the board with any questions, suggestions or input by emailing email@example.com -- jay