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How We Look?

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Mikeatscca View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikeatscca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How We Look?
    Posted: April.04.2008 at 9:26am

Hi All:

In the issue of Inside Line that is currently being posted (Member Log In: Newsletters/Inside Line for 04/01/08) I am posting this Fast Lane article for thought, consideration, and discussion. Please take a look and open a dialog here. This should generate some interesting discussions.

As your college professors would say said: Read. Discuss.

How We Look

The 2008 National Convention was probably the most content rich convention the SCCA has had in many years. Many seminars were packed full of information for members, but there were also many that provided a forum for members to give information back to SCCA volunteer leaders and national staff.

During one of those sessions, a younger 20-something member offered his opinion that the  car crazy friends of his generation view SCCA events as a service, and not as a club activity to support and nurture.

In other words, they attend because we offer something they want to do, not because they want to be part of a "club".

Many of you have no doubt heard these sentiments echoed in various ways before. Many REs are recognizing their Regions actually provide a product (Solo, Club Races, Time Trials, RallyCrosses, Road Rallies) and with that product comes an expected level of service by the paying "customer" who is, ironically, also a member. What a dilemma!

Whether we agree with that view or not, it is definitely the reality Regions are facing in the 21st century. This is a significant sea change from when the SCCA was first formed and grew during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. For some of us, that is a hard reality to grasp.

So the question is, assuming this is the dynamic your Region is facing, what steps has your Region undertaken to meld the "I am your customer, I expect a good level of service for my dollar" position with the "We are club members, how can I help?" attitude?

There are no obvious answers, but it would be useful to hear what your real world solutions are. Please use the RE and Region Leadership discussion forum at www.scca.com under the topic: "How We Look" or send your thoughts to mdickerson@scca.com. I look forward to a lively and interesting discussion.

Michael E. Dickerson
Region Development Manager, SCCA
800.770.2055, ext 358
Mdickerson@scca.com
Better to have been a racer for a moment than a spectator for a lifetime.
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RichardM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichardM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.04.2008 at 10:56am

Mike,

This is an attitude that has indeed developed over the 25 years I have been a member of SCCA. When I first joined, we had local (Dallas/Fort Worth) meetings that were well attended. But over the years, the meetings have almost completely gone away due to lack or attendence.

Yet, there is still a club atmosphere in the Solo program. But while this is good, it is leading to an "us versus them" attitude concerning the finances. The "us" being the Solo competitors and the "them" being the racers. The Solo group still has regular meetings which I think are reasonably well attended. As the newsletter editor (agian) I probably should attend one or two of these meetings and document them.

The racers do not seem to have such meetings although I suspect that there are localized meetings every weekend at various prep shops.

The lack of a club feeling is leading to a lack of desire to be on the BoD or to work at a race. NASA seems to be fostering a more open attitude although it is generally a 'for profit' business. Go figure.

As for performance rally, since SCCA no longer sanctions that, we have formed a local club, Armadillo Rally Logistics, do to the organizing the we used to do as the SCCA. This club is non-profit but is not actually functioning as a club with regular meetings etc. Rather, this is to provide some liability and tax relief. The local SCCA treasury no longer provides the backup should Rallye de Paris loses money. I do. But that is another topic altogether.

Richard Miller
Rally Car 701
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scca-racerx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.04.2008 at 8:14pm

I totally understand the "us vs them" attitude between the solo group and the racing group.  Once people get on the BOD for their region and realize that it is 2 groups (or more) competing for money, they usually don't last to long.  I am a noob to the BOD and I have seen it allready.

I joined the SCCA because I could save $10 on entrance fees for auto crossing.  Our entrace fee for solo is $35 for non members and $25 for scca members.  I do all 10 of our events, so by joining the scca it saved me money.  I give the scca $80 and save $100 on our local events.

What this membership gave me that I didn't know about at first was the ability to go to National events and Pro-solo's.  This is a level of competition I didn't get to experience until 5 years after I joined the SCCA.  It is a blast and I wish I could do more of them.

Bottom line is, we as a club, will always have a person trying this for the first time whom will either get involved because he/she loves to do it, or will participate as a "customer".  I don't mind either way just as long as the "customer" participant pays more for his/her services, therefore helping the club.

Club members are usually involved with the set up of the course, and registration, and event planning, and usually 10 other things that need to be done to hold an event.  Some people don't want to, or can't participate at that level (for example a married man with 2 kids who would like to stay married).

If I hit the lottery, I would do auto crossing every weekend, somewhere.  Unitl that happens, I will try to work around my wife and kids schedule, and do the best I can to help support and promote the club.  The SCCA auto cross program gives ordinary people the chance to push their driving skills with out losing their daily driver.  I would reccomend it to anyone looking to improve their driving skills.

Joe Montuoro
Membership Chair
Region 39 Steel Cities
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John Kelly View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Kelly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.05.2008 at 11:28am
Hello Mike Dickerson,
   Your request for thoughtful discussion is intriguing.
The reply from Joe Montouro is especially thoughtful. I
come from a background of Solo participation. One of the
reasons for my support of SCCA Solo is we managed to
remove my local council's authority. Alas I have found
similar political outlooks--i.e. moves just to be
political--inside SCCA. I think some of the longstanding
politicos should be removed from office. I credit their
various pogroms on personal political gain inside SCCA
rather than growth or, at least, holding even. Some
really stupid things have happened. The key difference
between Brother Montouro and me is that I know where some
of the bodies are buried. The only thing that covers up
the bad decisions is that the National meet continues to
grow. After several decades of membership I find the
brand of leadership currently practiced is contributing
to overall membership loss.
   I started the SCCA Solo program in my home region. I
even pubished the regional publication for 17 years. The
region grew from 1700 members to over 5,000 members! We
told the members what was going on. And we published both
the Comp Board and Solo Board minutes. Then a new RE
decided I had too much "political power." The region has
since shrunk by some 2000 members.
   The above should give you a clue on what needs to
happen inside SCCA. I'd start with ... oops. I ain't
gonna say.
   Once again I need to quote famed cartoon character
Pogo, "We have seen the enemy, and h
John Kelly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drkunze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.24.2008 at 7:43am
"a younger 20-something member offered his opinion that the  car crazy friends of his generation view SCCA events as a service, and not as a club activity"
In my region this represents virtually 100% of the younger people, as has for years.

"I joined the SCCA because I could save $10 on entrance fees"
Again, represents nearly 100% of all the new people that we get through Solo, and has for years. The bad news is that most new people don't run enough events to make it worthwhile.

"what steps has your Region undertaken to meld the "I am your customer, I expect a good level of service for my dollar" position with the "We are club members, how can I help?" attitude?"
My region has worked really hard at putting on REALLY GOOD EVENTS, making registration easy, getting lots of runs done very efficiently, etc.

This is why I (personally, not speaking for my region) am incredibly opposed to the weekend membership program. We have worked for years to have an efficient, fun event day (talking Solo here). Now we are instantly back to long lines at registration to fill out paper work so the non-members can receive mail that they don't want. These people know they are at an SCCA event, they know they can join, they even know how much it will cost/save them. So, why are we trying to force them? Why don't we just put on events that are so good that they will want to join?

Dale Kunze
RE
Western New York Region
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rallyfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.25.2008 at 11:04pm

Dale,

It's been said time and again that insurance coverage for the participant, region and the club as a whole is one of the primary reasons for the weekend membership. 

If you do online registration through one of the main online registration companies (myautoevents.com, etc), all of the paperwork for the weekend membership can be done there, so no need for a long line at registration at your event. 

Back on topic,

I can't say we've found a good way to get people with the mindset of the SCCA providing services to volunteer.  Some good people do so just because they know events wouldn't happen without it.  Others, well, we kinda knudge them to step up and help chair an autocross or rally or something. 

For a lot of years, I to just wanted to show up and run.  I helped organize the Sno*Drift stage rally, and once in a while would chair an event, but that's all I was willing to do.  Then a year and a half ago, there was talk about making significant changes to our street tire program in Detroit, changes I greatly opposed, so I ran for a seat on the BOD to help keep those changes from happening.  A year later, I'm RE.  Scary what happens when you volunteer!  Though, after sitting on the board for a year, I did develop a bigger interest in helping the region in all areas, beyond just trying to keep the street tire classes from getting screwed up. 

Things we could do to help get people involved - make their jobs easier!  For Solo event chairpeople, we have a chairman's manual detailing pretty much every step they need to take.  We try to set up season long specialty chiefs.  We have also had people other than the chairmen of the event arrange the sites. 

One idea I have is to provide even more incentive to active members of the region.  Give them free entry to events.  Publicly thank them for their help.  If others learn of some of the advantages of being involved, maybe that will be enough to get them started.  Hopefully once they start helping the club out, they'll realize it's not as painful as they once thought, and will continue to do so.  I know this isn't the best way, it's more like bribery, but I haven't thought of any better way to incentivize people to start volunteering. 

Steve Baumbach
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichardMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.25.2008 at 11:11pm
Steve,
From your name de web, it would seem you like the automotive sport that was the foundation of racing and the least supported by SCCA members. That would be rally.
In my discussions with varous people who shoud know, insurance is not a reason for requiring memberhip. Lawyers among us may be able to explain the theory that membership implies a level of training and a sense of accepting the danger of motorsports. But insurance people say that does not make a difference in payouts. So if we simply let every one, including non-members, participate in all of our events including racing, it should not affect the insurance rates.
That said, please realize I am an engineer and not a lawer or insurance underwriter.
Richard Miller
          
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Kelly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.26.2008 at 10:56am
Richard Miller said:
>>So if we simply let every one, including non-members,
>>participate in all of our events including racing, it
>>should not affect the insurance rates.

When we started the Solo program in San Francisco Region,
that was our approach. Soon we discovered people who
entered our Solo events declined to help in event
administration. So we made BOTH membership and event
admin. mandatory. That clicked.
--John Kelly, San Francisco Region
...
.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichardMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.26.2008 at 5:50pm
Well John, it appears in many reagions, despite requiring membership, it is still hard to get people to run the programs. In Texas region, we can't even get a local Timing & Scoring chief.
Richard Miller
          
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Kelly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.28.2008 at 10:55am
Richard Miller said:
>>Well John, it appears in many reagions, despite
>>requiring membership, it is still hard to get people to
>>run the programs. In Texas region, we can't even get a
>>local Timing & Scoring chief.
>>Richard Miller
>>Rally Car 701

Well, the leader does have to ask for help. When we
started our program we divided the day into four parts.
Eventually we grew to having as many as eight (8) parts.
You work in one drive in another, usually Drive 1, work
3.
Or drive 2, work 4.
   My region has settled on 6 work groups. 1-3, 2-4 and 5
and 6 for the afternoon. Splitting it 3 ways gives most
of us a headache. <G>
   You didn't say what kind of timing gear you have. When
you conduct the drivr's meeting you ask for a volunteer
to do timing. If nobody responds you can be brutal and
cancel the event. But if you sell the idea by pointing
the person has a sit down job with no heavy lifting, I
think, in comparison to running around among speeding
cars, you will find you have a timing person because you
made the job fit in just one of the work areas. I don't
think the chief of timing should have to work all day.
    The course should be laid out in such a manner that
there is at least enough time between cars that a corner
crew can safely put pylons back up with out risking their
lives.
   Somehow I think you knew all that.
--John Kelly, San francisco
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichardM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.28.2008 at 11:23am
Sorry if I wasn't clear. The Solo group is doing okay. It is the race group that is having trouble getting workers.
Richard Miller
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote modernbeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.28.2008 at 11:31pm
I'd be more inclined to be clubby if major portions of the club organization weren't so secretive.

Even if all of the club IS above board, the appearance, or even the potential opportunity of running the club to an agenda that's not the SCCA's spooks a lot of people.

More open dealings with the membership would go a long way to make me feel more invited.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikeatscca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.29.2008 at 8:57am

Jason,

I wonder if you could be more specific. Are you speaking to Region operations or those at the National level, or both?

Thanks!

Mike

 

Michael E. Dickerson
Region Development Manager, SCCA
800.770.2055, ext 358
Mdickerson@scca.com
Better to have been a racer for a moment than a spectator for a lifetime.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichardM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.29.2008 at 10:08am
I can answer for Jason just a little bit. Both Houston and Texas regions used to have good, informative and timely newsletters. Now they don't. I recently have stepped back in as editor for Texas region. But I can't attend every event and meeting. People, meaning almost every one, don't contribute articles and the meeting minutes don't get sent to me either. So the newsletter will not be as informative as I want it to be. Hence, we appear to be secretive when if fact, we are just lazy.
Richard Miller
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikeatscca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April.29.2008 at 10:18am

I see that. Yours is a common dilemma faced by editors everywhere. I think its great that you got back into the mix, Richard. You do a good job. But the websites now are a huge medium. The problem I see there is that many aren't updated in a timely fashion, and when that happens, I believe a Region looses the interest of its membership.

It's a huge time commitment to do either one. I believe one solution may be to open websites to several contributors, not just funnel it through a single webmaster. In this fashion, each venue (Club Racing; Solo; RallyX; Rally; PDX) can contribute their own results and news and not overwhelm the single point funnel that a webmaster can become. This also has the advantage of the venue participants being well informed and kept up to date by their peers.

Mike

Michael E. Dickerson
Region Development Manager, SCCA
800.770.2055, ext 358
Mdickerson@scca.com
Better to have been a racer for a moment than a spectator for a lifetime.
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