Swift Current Curling Club looking for new members and asking for community feedback
The Swift Current Curling Club wants to continue to provide curling as an activity in the city and is looking for ways to attract greater interest in the sport.
The club has launched a community survey to ask for feedback from area residents and the situation was also discussed during the club’s annual general meeting, May 14.
“It’s not just the Swift Current Curling Club that’s having a challenge,” Chairperson Ron Eichel told the Prairie Post. “It’s basically across the country that the number of curlers is declining. … We are not immune to that by any stretch of the imagination.”
The club currently has approximately 200 members and there are a number of different leagues, including a junior club with about 50 participants. The club hosts special events such as school curling, Special Olympics, company bonspiels and open nights to encourage participation. It also provides a home for experienced provincial, national, world and Olympic-level curlers.
“So we’ve got a very strong curling base here,” he said. “Our numbers have dropped down. We’ve run a deficit budget. For a couple of years with special events, we’re usually able to bring that right back on track. I would say we have a future for curling here, for sure. It’s a matter that we want to make sure that the long-term viability is around and in order to do that, the same as everything else, you have to have new members join, or not lose any members, and we all know that through time there is this attrition of members. So we just need to be replacing numbers that drop off.”
The club shortened the 2018-19 season with one month as a cost-saving measure, and it was five months long instead of the previous six. The amount of ice time for curlers was not reduced as a result of this change.
“We haven’t reduced the amount of curling availability,” he said. “We do have the opportunity to expand more opportunities during the day. So it’s the same with everything when you’re trying to run something more efficiently. The more usage you can get from the facility that’s there, then it’s better for everybody.”
This change helped the club to reduce costs, and Eichel anticipated that the upcoming curling season will again be for a five-month period.
He did not expect any other changes for the next curling season and the calendar will look very similar to what it was for the past season.
“We’re not looking at other changes other than if people want to see a new league added or a new evening, like a new curlers night,” he said. “As far as the leagues that have been in place for a number of years, there won’t be any change there.”
The club is looking for new ways to introduce people to the sport and to give them an opportunity to experience the fun of curling. “One of the benefits of curling is that you can be at any skill level,” he said. “You can curl at any age, it’s extremely social. … We also do offer lessons for people who want to come out and never curled before, or it’s been a while since they’ve curled. We’ll be quite happy to set up a league for new curlers so that everybody is starting at the same level and learning at the same level.”
The club wants to get feedback from the community on how they can attract new members, raise awareness of the sport and find new development opportunities for the club. They have therefore launched an online community survey to get people’s opinions.
“We haven’t been overly successful in the past with recruitment drives,” he said. “We’ve tried that more trial and error. So let’s take a more scientific approach at it now and get some information here and structure things based on some information that we can use and be more successful in our recruitment measures.”
There are two different surveys. The one is aimed at existing and previous members of the club.
“The idea with that one is what do we have in place that we can improve,” he explained. “If you no longer curl, why don’t you curl? Is there something that we can modify, because we want to make it enjoyable and have as many people there.”
The goal of the other survey is to obtain feedback from individuals with limited curling experience and who have not been members of the club.
“The other survey is for people that maybe curled very little, maybe tried it, or never tried it at all,” he said. “What is their perception about what curling is, and if they’ve never tried it, why haven’t they tried it and what would entice them to come out to try it.”
To participate in the short survey, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PRG3X62 or the Swift Current Curling Club’s website at http://www.sccurlingclub.ca/.
Swift Current Curling League coordinator Don Reimer, who also skips a team, releases a stone during afternoon game, March 4.