| ||Ski News|| |
UPDATE ON NEW PEAK XC BODYMick Sinclair
In December and January, John Banks and I wrote of developments during 1998 toward the establishment of a new peak representative cross country ski body out of the existing cross country committee of Skiing Victoria/Australia. Since then the development of the new body has been steadily moving ahead, and its timely to report where things are at.
Our Annual General Meeting in February was, in keeping with recent years, very poorly attended. I had hoped that the prospects of such important decisions for STAV's future would encourage a few more members to become more active but it was not to be. In fact, the poor attendance gives further evidence of the difficulty we have in maintaining our role as an umbrella organisation. Nevertheless, there was lively discussion at the meeting in regard to how such a new body might operate and whether STAV should be part of it.
It was generally agreed at the AGM that for the VCCC to better represent the recreational interests which are at STAV's core, changes should be made to its constitution to reflect a commitment to the development of recreational skiing in its aims and purposes, and the nomination of an executive position of Recreation Secretary or similar. There was much discussion on the notion of STAV passing much of its reserves to the new body, and it was agreed that this should proceed slowly and only when we were convinced the new body was on the right track.
There was a strong air of suspicion amongst some about how well recreational interests would be represented by a body growing out of what is presently a very racing focused committee. This is as much about the historical baggage that accompanies the relationships between STAV, VSA and Skiing Australia over many years as it is about the issue at hand. Nevertheless, it was agreed that we should join the new body.
Unfortunately, I was slow in following up our concerns regarding constitutional change with the existing VCCC committee, and such changes could not be included in the final constitution which would be put to the incorporation process. However, a commitment has been given that these changes will be put at the first AGM of the new body, (to be held sometime toward the end of this year?) Subsequent discussions with VCCC committee members led to the shared view that we should move slower rather than quicker in merging STAV with the new VCCC to help allay any fears or concerns about the new body.
At the biannual meeting of the VCCC and member clubs in May at Euroa, Barry Jones (VCCC Chairman) again gave a commitment to moving theses foreshadowed constitutional changes at the first AGM of the new incorporated body. There was general agreement at the meeting that a commitment to the pursuit of recreational issues will strengthen the new body, and there was discussion on the possibility of the VCCC taking a lead role in promoting ski touring leadership accreditation and training, an area which seems to be struggling in the current climate. Barry also revealed the setting up of an inclusive and affordable Public Liability Insurance policy for member clubs, a critical issue which is extremely important for both recreational and racing clubs.
There has been a degree of suspicion expressed by some about the delay in incorporating the recreational issues in the VCCC constitution, the implication being that the commitment to recreational skiing is lacking in those driving the incorporation of the new body. I see this as being somewhat paranoid at such an early stage in proceedings. It must be recognised that the individuals doing the actual work of getting the incorporated VCCC underway come from a competitive skiing background and are naturally focussing their energies in this area. The VCCC has traditionally been a body primarily concerned with competitive issues, and it should be no surprise that the new committee would start from this point. It is up to recreational skiers to join with this competitive core to broaden the scope of the committee.
The inclusion of a commitment to recreational skiing and the inclusion of a Recreation Secretary are important steps in ensuring the new VCCC is heading in the right direction, and these steps should definitely be pursued. However, the critical issue is whether individuals and clubs are prepared to devote the time and energy to pursuing these issues. An organization's structure and purposes support the activities of the organization, but can never take the place of active involvement. Our only way of ensuring sufficient coverage of recreational issues is to get enough active representatives on the committee and in member clubs. We can't complain about those of a competitive bent not pursuing recreational issues if recreational skiers aren't prepared to put in the time.
I remain optimistic about the new VCCC and still believe it represents the best way forward for cross country skiing. STAV has joined as an initial member and will work within VCCC to represent recreational issues while still pursuing our own agenda. We will wait for the dust to settle and satisfy ourselves that the organization is heading in the right direction before moving further down the path of relinquishing our peak body role or transferring any funds.