Soberly ac­cess­ing mi­nor hockey


Ear­lier this month, Perry Mercer of­fi­cially stepped down as pres­i­dent of the Bay Arena mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tion in Bay Roberts.

In his fi­nal and lively re­port to the mem­bers at­tend­ing the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing, he spoke about a busy and suc­cess­ful 2010-11 year and an “en­joy­able” two-term run at the head of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. As well, he high­lighted the role played by the “ healthy num­ber of vol­un­teers,” with­out which the as­so­ci­a­tion would cease to ex­ist.

How­ever, to his credit, he also used the oc­ca­sion t o re l ay a s ob e r as­sess­ment of the fu­ture of Bay Arena mi­nor.

Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance were Merc e r ’ s comme n t s about the burnout vol­un­teers in­vari­ably ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause of what he called the “abuse” caused by “po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing” and “ pres­sure from par­ents.”

Many vol­un­teers re­sign with great re­luc­tance, while oth­ers stay the course be­cause, in ac­tu­al­ity, the “re­wards, though few as they are, are al­ways en­cour­ag­ing,” he said. Hon­ourable route Mercer is to be com­mended for his forthright­ness in speak­ing out pub­licly about a mat­ter of vi­tal if rarely ac­knowl­edged concern among vol­un­tary or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The route of least re­sis­tance for the de­part­ing pres­i­dent of any or­ga­ni­za­tion is to speak in glowing terms about the glory days of the past, the won­der­ful ac­com­plish­ments of the present, and the un­lim­ited po­ten­tial of the fu­ture.

How­ever, the more de­mand­ing but hon­ourable route is to hon­estly and real­is­ti­cally por­tray things as they re­ally are. If that in­cludes bring­ing to the sur­face the abuse vol­un­teers re­ceive be­cause of po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing and parental pres­sure, then so be it.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Bay Arena mi­nor are de­pen­dent on vol­un­teers, peo­ple who will­ingly give of their time, of­ten sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity time with fam­ily and friends to serve the pub­lic. They de­serve the ut­most re­spect for the work they do.

As Mercer steps away from the pres­i­dency, may the sober as­sess­ment he made about the burnout vol­un­teers ex­pe­ri­ence not be buried in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s musty ar­chives. In­stead, may it be kept be­fore the new ex­ec­u­tive as a tem­plate to help make the as­so­ci­a­tion a more con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for vol­un­teers.

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