Archive for 05/03/2014

Change is Uncomfortable

Woodrow Wilson observed “If you want to make enemies, try to change something”.

The Board has introduced lots of new changes recently. These changes were to allow LPA to grow pickleball while still responding to the needs of LPA members.
• New membership fees and recurring membership fees were introduced to allow LPA to contribute to the growth of pickleball in Litchfield. Most importantly, to forestall known objections made to the Litchfield Recreation Commission that LPA was the biggest user of time at Talent Hall while the majority of LPA membership was composed of nonresidents. We were successful in creating an atmosphere of trust by the Rec Commission, who formally declared that LPA was a good steward of Talent Hall and the Rec Comm would overlook the fact that a majority of LPA members were nonresidents. The percentage currently is 60% nonresidents and 40% residents.
• A new website was deployed to use website technology to replace the absurdly inefficient use of e-mail to communicate with members.
• A web-based scheduling system, SignUpGenius, was implemented to allow members to schedule themselves into sessions. SUG had the potential to eliminate the overcrowding issues that have plagued LPA members for years. The use of ‘first come, first served’ technology gave members the ability to sign up for sessions and for SUG to limit sessions to 12 players.
The Board also added two more evening sessions to reduce overcrowding and to allow many LPA members who work to play in evening hours.
• A recent new rule for guests was announced to respond to some member complaints that “guests” could- and were- squeezing out LPA members’ opportunity to play.

All these changes took place just this year. These changes required members to use the computer more and to learn how to use new technology and applications. For some members- easy, piece of cake; for others- a steep learning curve. We’ve altered the application process- we won’t accept a new member unless the prospective member is computer-literate and can access the website via either a smart phone or a computer.

We’ve added 23 new members this year, but we lost 9 members, mostly because of the increased fee structure. We now have 68 active members, up from 54 at the end of 2013.

An oft-heard complaint is “too many rules and too much structure- it’s taking the fun out of the game”. But we have 68 members, all of whom want their personal needs considered. The Board tries it’s best to respond to the [known] complaints from its members. You simply can’t run a sports club of 68 members without rules and some structure. There wasn’t much ‘fun’ attending sessions with 16-20 players. There wasn’t much ‘fun’ for the Board to listen to objections about why nonresidents were excluded from membership while residents were admitted. There wasn’t much ‘fun’ in having ones email inbox overloaded with queries about “who wants to play tomorrow”.

If there is an easier way to run the club- speak up and you’ll be listened to. But it has to work fairly for all 68 members- residents and nonresidents. If you could do a better job, then volunteer some time to take on a problem or run for a Board seat. There are two coming up the end of this year.

Chris Marchand took the time to go through the new ‘Guests and Overcrowding’ policy and to summarize issues she thought the members would need a fuller explanation back from the Board. While I responded via the hated “Reply All” e-mail, I thought it would be useful to attach her questions and the Board’s responses. If you’re didn’t see the e-mail, click the link below:

Email reply to Chris Marchand

As Winston Churchill observed “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”