Today, I sent the following e-mail/letter to all of the NE USRA officials. On March 1, my term on the Rowing Commission begins. This will be a challenging endeavor for me. One of my goals is to keep the lines of communication open for all of us. Here is the text of the letter.
On March 1, I will officially become the NE Rep for the USRA Referee Commission at the close of Bruce Soden’s term. I would like to take this opportunity to begin what I hope will become a working partnership with the referees in the NE, a continuation of Bruce’s fine efforts.
First, I would like to thank Bruce for his service to rowing in NE as our representative to the USRA Referee Commission. His enthusiasm for rowing, his wit, and wisdom have set a high bar. We all owe him a debt of thanks.
Second, I would like to suggest that there are several areas of concern for all referees in the NE. The most pressing are recruitment of new officials and education for all participants – referees, coaches, and crews.
As I stated in the nomination materials, we need to identify, train and develop a larger, more diverse and sustaining corps of officials while improving the overall competency and consistency of all officials. We have all seen our sport grow rapidly. Many regattas started as small local events have rapidly grown very large. We need to have a corps of officials large enough and able to meet this demand. I have asked Bruce Soden to continue helping me with recruitment.
Second, I have asked Mike Siconalfi to continue as our Dean of Education. In this capacity Mike will be working to schedule and staff clinics. If your club or crew would like to hold a clinic send Mike an e-mail, and he’ll work with you on the logistics.
If you have not completed the data sheet using the new online system, please do so immediately. In the future when you can access it on a regular basis, you will find that it takes just a few minutes to log your efforts. I will be working to see that the capabilities of this system are expanded.
It is my intent to invite officials, particularly those who have indicated that they need to attend a clinic, to attend a virtual clinic within the next few weeks. Last Spring, we held the first virtual clinic, a beta test, so to speak. For this clinic all you will need is a phone and a computer. I will send you slides and a conference call in number before the clinic. It was actually quite fun. Do let me know if you would like to participate.
Third, just a reminder, do make sure that your membership dues are paid and that your membership is up to date before the season begins. You must be a USRA member to referee.
Fourth, to enhance communication through out the region, I will be including rowing information in my blog. Don’t be put off at the title of the blog – Blogs and Feeds. There is in fact a category for rowing information, and I expect to be posting to this regularly. If you have digital pictures that you would like for me to post or information about upcoming regattas or for that matter almost any rowing topic that you think we ,as officials ,might find interesting, send it along to me, and I will try to include it. On March 4-6, the referee commission will be meeting, and I will be sure to blog the event to keep you all up to date.
Finally, may it finally stop snowing, let the ice come off the rivers and let’s get ready for another season.