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Club Planning: Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club in the spotlight

Club Planning: Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club in the spotlight

By Nicole Chiam

According to the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), planning is the key to the future success and viability of all sporting and recreation clubs no matter their level, activity or size. Clubs need to plan their long-term viability in order to grow.

Although an obvious question, it is easy to get caught up in the running of the Club. The DLGSC sets out various benefits to planning:

  • Reflects on where the club has come from, where it is now, where it wants to go and how it is going to get there?
  • Identifies the main objectives of the club?
  • Encourages the members to get involved in the development of the club?
  • Prepare for changes in the current environment that have an impact on the club?
  • Ensures that resources (human, physical and financial) are used effectively?
  • Evaluates the progress of the club?
  • Brings order into the hectic business of running a club. A plan provides an essential guide to the club committee, especially new members to that committee?
  • Educates and provides information to stakeholders external to the club. For example, it is usual for the local government to be an essential ‘partner’ for the club. Your local government should be provided with a copy of your plan or at least ‘walked through’ the plan to ensure they have an understanding of the club’s future.

The fundamental basics of you plan should include several elements set out below. It does not need to be overly complex and often simple is best!

  • Mission – what is the purpose of the club, why does it exist?
  • Club goals – what is the broad direction of the club?
  • Objectives – what specifically does your club want to achieve, break down your goals into stages that are achievable, measurable and associated with a time element?
  • Actions and strategies – what are the steps to achieve the objectives you have set?
  • Responsibilities – who is responsible for completing the actions?
  • Timeframes – when do things need to be completed?
  • Resources – how much is it going to cost, both monetary and manpower?

This month we followed Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club (ORSSC) on their quest to become Club of the Year. We spoke to St John O’Neill, Club Manager, to hear the details.

What has been happening at the Club recently?

The Club has grown dramatically over the past 3 years with membership increasing from 815 in 2017 to 861 in 2018 and breaking the 1000 threshold in 2019. A notable achievement particularly the success of family membership category (family of four). It is a Club that is fast becoming a big part of the local community.

The Club has undergone some renovations over the past 2 years, including a renovated bar and lounge area, as well as new female bathrooms. A new bar was approved by council and state planning this year and is set to commence on 1st of February, which will allow the Club to better service its ever growing membership. It is a much needed upgrade to help roll out our plan for the year.

The major factor that drove all if not most of the changes around the club was desire to grow and prosper. We started to gain memberships and with the increased events and activities we started channelling all the profits into projects to continue improving the club and making it a club suitable for all age groups.

Who are your members?

ORSSC’s demographic has changed dramatically over the past 2 to 3 years with more and more families signing up. We still have a solid base of senior members but a majority now being families. We encourage this broadening of our membership base.

What are your key events and ways you get involved in the community?

We run a wide range of events at the Club from Australia Day (Best Club Members Event at the 2019 Clubs WA Awards for Excellence) to Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Melbourne Cup to name a few. We also host an ANZAC dawn service every year organised by the RSL Joondalup group, who are based from within the ORSSC’s clubhouse. The ANZAC service is not a small event, with 4000 plus people attending.

We drive community events from the Club such as a Veterans Day walk held annually and various charity events (e.g. Cancer Council WA, private charities for various people). The club enjoys hosting these types of events and have made a point on not charging a room hire fee.

More recently, we led the drive to raise much needed funds and donations for the recent Yanchep fires. We managed to raise in excess of $1,000 and had a large influx of donations from all over Perth. The money enabled the purchase of supplies that those affected so desperately needed. The post for help reached 34,580 people with 8,973 engagements and 229 shares, a massive response from the community.

What is the Club’s plan for this year?

The key focus of the plans for the year is to update several of the older features of the Club. For example we are in the process of updating the Club’s website along with setting about a marketing plan for the next 5 years and we have brought in people with the specific skill set to help.

We as a Club have spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the Club to a level whereby we can compete for Clubs WA’s coveted ‘Club of the Year’ award. I have sought to create various groups of staff and volunteers to focus on various award categories that ORSSC wanted to enter, the main one being ‘Club of the Year’.

The driver behind the Club’s plans is to be the central hub for our community whilst trying to get the Club’s brand out in the community. We want to be a place that is known for its festive atmosphere, cheap drinks, good food and strong focus on service. I believe this sets us apart.

Who is getting involved and how are you bringing people at the Club on this journey?

We have a heap of volunteers and life members that have either helped or been supportive in the renovation process. All the changes that were made were done for the benefit of all members, increasing our functions along with helping in community based projects. For example, we have a weekly art group which is not possible without a large group of people that come together to make it all happen. The teamwork I feel is a defining element in this process.

We have shared the changes and successes at the club, mainly by keeping members updated. We have the new Ocean Reef Marina on the horizon so the committee and I are continuously looking for improvement to get the best from our members and for the members to get the most from the club.

The sports club also has a long and proud history with the RSL. All our future plans have been discussed with the affiliated RSL Joondalup group, with many of our members also being RSL members. Our partnership and relationship with the RSL Joondalup group is something we are both proud of and continuously look to improve on a year to year basis.

As you reflect on your journey and look to the future ahead, what thoughts or advice did you have to share with other clubs who are / will go through the same process?

My only advice for clubs going through the same increase in membership is be mindful of your increase and don’t sacrifice phases just to gain more members. Memberships is not only about getting new members but also retaining the existing ones.

As far as our club is concerned we make it a point to cater to both the senior members, members that have been here a lot longer than I have and to the new families we continuously encourage to join.

I would say the biggest challenge is to know your membership and to never stop improving. Change is inevitable, it’s how you look and approach it as management that makes all the difference.

Listening to what is happening at the Club, you can identify many of the above-mentioned planning basics coming through. St John’s excitement for the ongoing works and developments at the club this year is clearly evident.