CLOK club development officer year 2 report
Two years after we first supported Cleveland Orienteering Klub (CLOK) in co-funding a club development officer position, Caroline Mackenzie, CLOK chair, shares with us an update on how things are going.
Progress versus Targets
The original (ambitious!) targets were:
- Ensure that there is a high-quality orienteering opportunity within 1½ - 2 hours’ drive of Middlesbrough / Stockton / Guisborough / Darlington every week during May – July and September.
- Once there is sufficient interest, arrange technical coaching sessions for new and improving orienteers at least once per month.
- After the first three months, encourage a new young family or couple to join on average at a rate of one per month. (Equivalent to a rate of 2 young adults / month).
- A stretch target would be to that after two years there would be as many CLOK members in the 20 – 40 age range as in the 50 – 70 age range. This would effectively involve doubling the club’s membership, with the great majority of the new members being in their 20s and 30s.
We will be updating these targets in the next few months.
The Couch2Green (C2G) courses have been popular and successful, and a number of new members have joined CLOK as a result of the four courses and the associated advertising, though not all are in the target age range. On average, each course has had about ten participants, with about three or four attendees joining CLOK and becoming active orienteers. Two members have subsequently joined the CLOK Committee and volunteered to become Planners / Organisers for orienteering events. Couch 2 Green has also provided a way to enhance CLOK’s presence in the community and put orienteering on the radar of local people.
Learning points already implemented from the C2G courses include (i) adjusting the timing to avoid winter hail, snow and gales and (ii) providing separate streams for walkers (Couch2Green) and runners (Track2Green). We also now give future entry credits for joining, rather than discounting membership fees. This encourages course participants to continue to come along to events after the course concludes. The Autumn 2023 C2G course was planned to have a much greater input from volunteers, to ensure continuity if and when there are changes in the CDO contract holder. However, we didn't get enough participants to run the programme and instead those volunteer efforts will be carried over to Spring 2024. The Autumn programme has always been the quieter of the two and holds lower retention, so the club will consider focussing more effort into the Spring programme and focussing CDO efforts towards retention during the Autumn period.
We are still seeing a number of people leaving the club. We know that some of them are retiring from orienteering due to declining abilities with age and others are moving out of our area. So far, we have only just managed to arrest the downward membership trend. We are also aware that a significant number of CLOK members are no longer active participants in orienteering (although we do have the current W90 World Masters Orienteering Champion in the club!). In the graph on the next page, the blue line shows the CLOK membership in October each year (September for this year). We arranged about 12 events in each of 2020 and 2021 (the Covid years), and we are back to arranging about 22 events at National, Regional, and local levels, plus some coaching and training activities. Overall activity levels are much improved.
The first two years of the CDO’s work have generated a significant uplift in the activity levels in the club, but it is not yet clear what effect this increased activity will have on long-term membership numbers.