We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

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We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Stubborn Puppet on Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:06 pm

Being as this is becoming a common discussion in topics about different events and tournaments, I'd like to encourage the discussion to continue here. This will allow those topics to remain "on topic" and be a better way to track the history of this discussion.

Anyhow, it is completely apparent that The St. Louis Disc Golf Club, St. Charles County Disc Golf Club, J.C. Sharpshooters and the Southern Illinois Chain Gang all agree that, "We need people to step up and volunteer!" We need T.D.'s (tournament directors). We need event organizers. We need more course captains. We need helpful hands to do the maintenance and work days at the courses. We Need You!

Currently, all the "heavy lifting", so to speak, is being done by a handful of the same folks, over and over again. That can become very taxing on these individuals and eventually leads to burn-out... which leads to events which are poorly run/organized and/or fall completely apart and never happen.

What will it take to get more people to step up and play an active role in continuing to make the general St. Louis area the best destination for disc golf in the country (that's pep-talk)?
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Stubborn Puppet on Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:29 pm

Compensation seems to be where this discussion is steering right now.

While compensating a volunteer is a contradiction and I never expect to be compensated for my volunteer time, I've always been well treated and usually walk away with an official event stamped disc and a good vibe.

If money and product aren't the best solution for compensation (maybe not sustainable), what is? Maybe some kind of system similar to the River City Ratings could be applied towards volunteers and go into a raffle for something nice? Maybe it's good for free entry into the next tournament they play...

Let's see some ideas. :D
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Richard~Cheese on Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:34 pm

Between 4+ clubs and over 500 members combined. Surley a few will step up. Come to a club meeting. Usually on the first monday of the month location varies. Express what you would like to try and accomplish (tourny,league,TD,ect.). Im sure we can get the disc rollin. I still feel that we shouldnt be paying out the TD. The merch idea Jeff had has seemed to work in the past.
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby schimmy on Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:15 pm

maybe you could do something like a rewards system. for volunteering you would get points for every hour you helped, and then the TD's would get a set amount of points. non-sanctioned is so much, c-tier is this much, b-tier is that much, and so on.

Then with your points you can spend it on merchandise, entry fees, or membership fees. (Personally I think just merchandise)
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Genn on Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:55 pm

schimmy wrote:maybe you could do something like a rewards system. for volunteering you would get points for every hour you helped, and then the TD's would get a set amount of points. non-sanctioned is so much, c-tier is this much, b-tier is that much, and so on.

Then with your points you can spend it on merchandise, entry fees, or membership fees. (Personally I think just merchandise)


I'm not a member of any club yet (I just started playing recently and I'm planning to join SCDGC at the club championships!), but I do think this is a great idea. It would incentivize participation while not attracting too much of the "what's in it for me" types. I've seen firsthand how primarily volunteer organizations (Cub/Boy Scouts) can be difficult to maintain. Often a select few take on more and more responsibility, burn out or leave for other reasons, leaving a leadership vacuum which can lead to the collapse of the organization. I'm very new to the sport, but I'm completely hooked, and I'd be glad to do what I can to help when I join up in September!
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Disc_Mike on Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:42 pm

I am also going to be joining stldgc and jcsharpshooters. i live close to arnold park and played this weekend and was appaled by the amount of garbage (soda and beer cans) left along the course. Next time i play i plan to bring a garbage bag to pick up as i go along...... I would be willing to help out on a sunday afternoon clean up our course here in arnold if anyone else would like to help out. Cant provide any form of compensation but again when you play and get that one good throw to be fudged up by a beer can on the ground remember you could have helped clean it up..........

Contact me so we can set up a trash and sticks pick up day.. Maybe between the 2 clubs they could provide something for those of us who help out...if thats what is required to get it done.
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Richard~Cheese on Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:23 pm

That is a great plan, I am constantly pickin up beer cans, water bottles, cig butts, ect. On just about every course Ive ever played. Also driven many many miles working on different courses(tee pads,sleeves,installing baskets,clearing brush,ect) even setting up temp gorilla courses. 25+yrs worth. Never asked to be compensated. Now when volunteering to help out with a tourny, you can always get whom ever is do merch, no matter which club, to cut you a deal on merch(usually just over cost, the club needs to make something). Isnt the satisfaction of a well run and organized event, or a clean trash free course enough. Most all of us are grown ass men after all. Do you really feel that you should be paid to have a hobby? Or play/organize a day of discin? In my opinion no, but if the majority of club members think so, then so be it. I can only hope that the TD or TDs will split their take with ALL who lend a hand.
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby Stubborn Puppet on Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:49 pm

I too always carry a couple of grocery bags with me on the course and pick up any trash I see as I go. Surprisingly, this makes a huge difference - you may not get it all on the first several visits to a course... and new trash shows up all the time, but after several games, it's nice to see how much cleaner a course will look. If one person can make such a difference, a few more can really keep it clean.

Of course, it would be better if there weren't bad people out there acting like 3 year olds, just dropping stuff when they're done with it. I try to make it a point to calmly discuss it with litter-bugs when I see them; just to show them that I am picking up after them and ask them to consider that, "If I can manage to carry the trash of other people along with my own trash, is it too hard for them to carry out what they bring in... or to make it to the trashcan at the next teepad?" I get mixed results... but I've never been punched, yet.

As JBA points out, with over 500 members between the four clubs (I actually think it might be more like 600-700), how can so few step up to volunteer? You'd think we have people waiting in line to volunteer, so I don't get why there's a vacuum. The biggest problem is that, like Genn said, a few people always end up getting stuck taking on too much responsibility and then burn out and walk away.

Anyhow, I'm glad the conversation has started... spread the word.
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby dehaas on Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:34 pm

I'm not sure if paying out cash to TD's for club sponsored events jives very well with me, but offering a merchandise voucher or something along those lines might be acceptable. Acting as the TD for a 2 round event in most cases is close to a 12 hour day, which is a long day especially if one person is running the whole show. I agree that the reason for volunteering shouldn't be the compensation, but the bottom line is that if the same 3-4 people volunteer for every event eventually they will get burnt out. It's nice that the club has over 500 members, but at a certain point you start entering into the realm of diffusion of responsibility...the larger the group the smaller the amount of individual responsibility...it's easier to just show up and play and not help out with the greater cause.

Things have changed a ton over the past 5 years or so. Tournaments had maybe 20-30 people in attendance, and it was fairly easy to run a smooth event without a lot of work in advance. That's not the case any longer, larger events require more planning and a lot more work the day of. People volunteer to TD because they want to, but at the same time there is a lot more work involved with being the TD at an event than what most people realize...especially if it's a PDGA event. If somebody puts in the time and effort to put together a strong event I guess I don't see a problem with them getting compensated with some type of merch. It shouldn't be the primary reason somebody takes on the TD role, but the time and effort involved does have some value attached to it, it's just a matter of what we determine it to be. Some TD's may choose to accept the merch, others may just decide to roll it into another CTP or prize give away.
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Re: We Need Volunteers! We Need You!

Postby gregwil2 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:13 pm

Another idea may also be to allow persons that TD an event to get free entry into the next event they are not TD. I would say the same event, but having the TD run an play an event could be hard to manage. Almost like a voucher to play for free in the next event.
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