Parental involvement is crucial to every club. Regardless of the organizational model of the club, parents play key support roles. Parents are needed in leadership roles as board members and committee leaders. Regardless of structure, clubs are looking for volunteers to help with swim meets, coordinate social events and organize fundraising. Volunteering to help your club is a great way to get involved, meet other parents and be a positive role model for your child. Contact the coach, board member, or an involved parent to find out more about what you can do and how you can be a positive force in your club.
Roles and Responsibilities on Your Club
Getting involved with your child’s club is a great way to meet people, have fun and teach your child about commitment. Many swim parents develop long-term friendships and enjoy the family-like atmosphere that develops when people work together. Working at a meet can be a lot more fun than sitting in the stands! Additionally, when your child sees you devoting time and energy to help the team, he or she understands that team loyalty is important and worthwhile.
How can we help support the team?
That’s a great question. Check with the coach, the board, and the parent liason to find out if there is a parent’s committee or booster organization that supports the team. Many clubs have programs in place to maximize parent involvement and resources. For example, your club may have a fundraising committee, or even a social committee. Find out from your board or coach how the team can best utilize your skills.
It looks like it takes an awful lot of people to run a meet. What can I do to help?
If you have already attended a meet, you have probably been approached to be a timer. This is a great way to begin to help run meets. In fact, this is how many officials get started. Officials are a necessary part of every type of competition. Here is a list of the officiating positions:
Stroke and turn judges
Clerk of course
If any of the jobs interest you, check with your coach or LSC officials chair. If you club hosts meets, you may be able to help in the following areas:
You need to become certified by the Local Swim Committee (LSC) Officials Chair to become an official. Each LSC establishes its own criteria for training and certifying its officials. The national standards are ensured through taking a series of tests. Officials are trained to be consistent in their knowledge of the rules and protocol involved in each position. This consistency if fostered through USA Swimming and LSC officials workshops. If you are really interested in becoming an official, speak with one of the officials during a break at your next meet.
Our coach misses practice to go to an “LSC” meeting. What is that? What is involved?
You would be surprised at how many people don’t know what an LSC is much less what it does. Let’s begin by telling a little about how USA Swimming is organized. USA Swimming is the national governing body for the sport of swimming. In this capacity, USA Swimming formulates rules, implements policies and procedures, conducts national championships and offers a variety of services and program to enhance the swimming experience of all members. USA Swimming is made up of 59 LSCs. LSC stands for Local Swimming Committee and each LSC has it’s own House of Delegates where local decisions are made. Your LSC also has 6 representative that are elected to represent you at the national House of Delegates as well.
The reason your coach and hopefully another representative of your team attend these important meetings is to keep informed as well as participate in all the activities of the LSC. The LSC makes decisions such as funding swimmers to national meets, hosting meets and registering all swimmers with USA Swimming through a local registration person and much more.
Our coach was just named to a National Committee. What is that? What is involved?
That is very exciting. In addition to the national House of Delegates, USA Swimming has nearly 50 standing committees that meet and conduct business in conjunction with the USA Swimming staff to develop, create and evaluate all the programs offered. Your coach has just been appointed to serve in this very prestigious role. This may mean that he must attend meetings and be away from your club, but the honor and responsibility of this role is a very important one. Your team should understand this role and be proud that your coach was chosen as a member of a national committee.
Our coach is gone to ASCA and USAS every September for two weeks. What’s that all about?
First of all, in line with our team mission to provide the best knowledge for our swimmers a commitment to continuing education is important. Elk Grove Aquatics Club understand the importance growth for our coaches by making sure our coaches are in attendance as well as financing their travel. The ASCA meeting is actually a coaches education program run by the American Swimming Coaches Association. The USAS, or United States Aquatic Sports, convention serves as the annual business meeting for USA Swimming. The USA Swimming meeting is where all standing committees meet each year as well as the USA Swimming House of Delegates. The House of Delegates is responsible for electing our national officers, voting on our annual budget and any other rules and legislation for the next year. By attending these events, your coach will be bringing back invaluable first hand information and knowledge that will benefit your team.
I have just been asked to submit myself as a candidate for the board. What kind of commitment will this mean?
Becoming a member of the club’s board of directors is an important decision, a decision that requires a great amount of consideration. Find out from current board members what their experience has been, like what kind of time commitment and responsibility are involved. Most clubs should have already defined roles and responsibilities outlined in its by-laws or team policies. Ask your coach or team president for a copy of these documents.