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Author Topic: Dan Hearn Proposal - Grow through youth involvement  (Read 23413 times)
Scott Brown
Class Member
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Posts: 35


« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2007, 07:36:38 AM »

To build a boat with a bit of sweat equity and some great times with your friends costs about $500.

The re-sale on this boat after your kids grows up is at least $500.

Net cost is no worse than ZERO, but . . .

The VALUE and COMMITMENT of learning how to care for a boat and all the life lessons kids learned such as responsibility -- PRICELESS.   And the national organization is spared this expense.

There are barriers to entry, but MONEY is not one of them. 
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us5285
Newbie

Posts: 21


« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2007, 03:14:40 PM »

Scott,

Could you explain to me what the barriers to entry are, and how to overcome them.

Thanks in advance.

Chris US5285
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Scott Brown
Class Member
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Posts: 35


« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2007, 07:54:00 AM »

Chris:

Great question.  I'll preface my response since we don't know each other by stating I'm in marketing, and have spent 30 years dealing with recreational markets.   So, I've got a bit of time under my belt when it comes to studying participation.

When I was commodore of the Nite association, one of our objectives was to increase participation in Nite racing.  I wanted to know reasons people owned a Nite, but didn't race.   I phoned and/or e-mailed Nite owners from the east coast to the Dakotas.

These are just qualitative statements, but I routinely heard:

A)  INFORMATION.  They didn't know where or when sailing was taking place.  The majority didn't even know the websites existed.  (We're highly tuned-in to the sites, but most are not, especially prospective people).
B)  INTIMIDATION.  They didn't feel they could be competitive, and were somewhat timid to "try it" because of fear of being embarassed, being in the way, being hurt or hurting someone else.  What's interesting on this point is that this is a fairly easy issue to overcome.
C)  TRANSPORTATION.  It sounds almost unbelievable to those of us how have our trailers figured out, but most iceboaters don't travel.  They drag the boat out of a shed, set it up on their home lake and that's it.  They have no concept of setting up the boat and taking it down each night.
D)  BUDDY SYSTEM.  If they know someone who races, the chances are much higher that they'll try it, but only on a local basis.
E)  TECHNICAL INFORMATION.  Our websites are full of information, but most of it is written at a level that requires prior knowledge. It can be difficult to get into the loop.  Also, when multiple ideas are posted, when happens frequently, it delivers a new idea to those who are racing, but it creates confusion to the newcomer because they can't decifer which is better.  The result is they do nothing.

So, to your question, the barriers for entry into the sport:

 A)  TRIAL.  The greatest prospect is someone who currently owns an iceboat, but has never raced.  When they use their boat or jump in another and have a casual, local race, they realize this is something they can do.  A level down from this is a softwater racer who has never iceboated, but knows others who do.  Again, trial on a local level draws interest. 
B)  LOCAL LEADER.  If there is a local iceboat activist, the barrier of support goes away.  Prospects have hundreds of questions, and the more one-on-one opportunities to look, see, touch, ask, the better.  We've all experienced the situation when someone is walking through the pits while we're setting up.  They're actually checking us out.  When we strike up a conversation, it's like tapping a keg.
C)  BOATS.  Yes, boats are a barrier.  But to draw a prospect into our sport, it's not as big as it seems because very few people will just plunk down $x,xxx on an iceboat just to try it.  They want trial.  Our national website needs an improved "for sale" area.  This would help everyone.  The MC scows has an excellent example of how to list used product for sale.  www.mcscow.org
D)  SAILING INFORMATION.  Big issue.  Non-racers often said they just don't know where to find places to sail (if they were willing to travel or to check us out.  Remember, to most the idea of going lake to lake is foreign).   Many of our sites are dominated with in-side kidding and jiving.  It may be fund for the writers, but it excludes the first time people.  What we need here, in essence, is an editor.  It would help if our national organization creates an area within the website that is untouchable except for ONE PERSON to post regatta information at a specific time, every time.  This person also posts results at a specific time, every time.  I know it's easier said than done, but it would help.
E)  MONEY.  This was not an issue of participation.  Money works like the accelerator in your car.  We make a series of decisions as to how much we'll spend (or how far we'll push the pedal).   When prospects learned of the opportunity of aluminum or silver fleets, the money concern is slightly diminished, but they don't really believe it until they see it.  However, the MONEY issue comes up big WITHIN THE ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS because of fear of the un-ending escallation of technology.  The perception is that to race on the top end, you have to dump tons of money into constantly changing equipment.  And in many ways, that's true.
SAFETY  There is a perception that racing is dangerous.  Minor issue, but it's there.
THE ICEBOAT STORE.  The retailing of iceboats and related parts is minimal.  This is a problem from an awareness angle.  If I were a sailing retailer, a sail manufacturer or a boat builder, I'd develop a short presentation that introduces kids AND their adults, and then I'd get on my feet and present it to softwater sailing schools, boy scouts, junior high tech classes and science classes, yacht clubs, etc.  We always have to remember that a non-participant is often unaware we even exist. 

BOTTOM LINE SUGGESTIONS FOR THE YOUTH MOVEMENT
A)  Increase awareness of the hull-building plans that are currently available on sites such as the Madison Opti program.
B)  Possibly ask a few non-builders if they understand the plans and simplify if necessary.
C)  Play down discussions of National and World Championships.  It may be cool to some in the sport.  For those outside the sport, it just adds to the intimidation factor.
D)  Demonstrate the re-sale value. 
E)   If I were a sailing retailer, a sail manufacturer or a boat builder, I'd develop a short presentation that introduces kids AND their adults, and then I'd get on my feet and present it to softwater sailing schools, boy scouts, junior high tech classes and science classes, yacht clubs, etc.  We always have to remember that a non-participant is often unaware we even exist. 

I'd be glad to help in this area anyway I can.  Call me, email me.  I'll do what I can because I truly love this sport just as much as you. 
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us5285
Newbie

Posts: 21


« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2007, 12:33:32 AM »

Scott,

Again I`am just a boat rat and I`am  one of the least qualified people to reply to these posts. But come on you yourself  put boat trails as the first barrier in getting kids/ beginers interested in iceboating.
  What we need are BOATS for kids to try sailing on.This is precisly what I believe Dan`s proposal wants to do, get ice-optis to LOCAL clubs to give young people the chance to try the sport.Parents are not going to spend the 500.00+ and a month of there spare time to build an iceboat their kid might try once and then deciede its just not for them.
  There IS NO national retailer needing to push the sale of iceboats and acessories to kids,They have no customers in that demographic.This is where the the DN association can come in and become a positive force in introducing kids and begginers to iceboating. It`s in the DN asscoiations own best self intrest to do so. Without new iceboaters what will be the need for a DN association. It`s actually in all iceboating associations best intrest to get kids and begginers involved in the sport. Those skeeter sailors and renagade sailors are all iceboaters that were kids at one time.
  The ice-opti program Dan is proposing and whom Goeff so perfectly summed up is a SEED program , not the final solution.
  It will be a very good start at getting kids/begginers involved in iceboating. The ice-opti TAKES AWAY the intimidation and cost problems people are concerned about , this is what the ice-opti is so good at.
  All the suggestions (except one) you made to help to grow the sport of iceboating are good ones but they all necessariley must follow after the intial HOOK the kid or beggining gets after the first sail . The sail where most deciede whether they love it or hate it  . It is almost that black and white.
  I do dissigree with your suggestion  (C) that we should not have a North American championship. I think in this case you are thinking like an adult and not like a kid. Kids are not intimidated by going to something called a National Championship, quite the oppoisite they think it is very cool.
  My daughter (seventh grade) made the jounior high state meet in diving this year , she finnished almost last. but the pride she feels in wearing the "STATE TEAM"  t-shirt she has and the way she talks about the experience you would think she won an Olympic gold medal. The National Championship that I hope happens this year, weather there are two kids or twenty kids, I`m sure will be about .01% about who is the best ice-opti sailor and 99.9% about having fun with other kids on and around iceboats, emphisis on FUN and KIDS. If I have anything to do with it every kid large and small will have some sort of t-shirt and trophy to show for his or her effort, It will be the coolest shirt to have.
  I doubt that my ramblings will change your mind about investing part of our funds in our kids and in this in this plan ,but I cannot personally understand how investing a PART not all of our availible funds but PART of them into the promotion of our great sport can do anything but help all iceboaters in general and young and inexperienced iceboaters in particular.
  I dont understand how funds sitting in a bank somwhere, earning a marginal return have more value to the iceboating community than the promotion and possible growth that this plan has a chance to provide.
  Does anything great ever happen without taking some sort of risk or leap of faith?



  Chris US5285
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Scott Brown
Class Member
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Posts: 35


« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2007, 06:44:41 AM »

Chris:

I think this discussion is fried.  I'm bowing out.

Scott

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jori
Guest
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2007, 01:27:31 PM »

Would my two cents be useful? I think this is a good, sound proposal, Dan. Here is my reality: If I can get my 11-year-old into an Opti for some local races this winter, while I race against my 14-year-old in our DNs, that would be ideal, of course. Obviously, I worry about losing my own racing time to help with the Opti Fleet, even if my own kid is in it. This makes me look rather selfish when compared to all you have done, Dan, but I cannot deny the "selfish" factor when we have so little racing time as it is. Yet, of course, I would volunteer some of my time--in reasonable proportion to how much DN time I can get-- to help with the Optis if I have a child sailing one. Traveling with my kids and Optis/DNs outside of Madison is another issue for us; this would also be a case-by-case decision. I had a lot on my runner plate just dealing with my own boat up on Green Bay this winter. Hope this input helps.
Jori Lenon
DN-27/5172/5397(new)
Madison, WI
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jori
Guest
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2007, 01:37:11 PM »

I forgot to mention my budget reality, too. Finances are very tight this year, in part because I am building a new DN, but next year I would commit financially to helping finance a 4LIYC Opti.
Jori
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Wes Wilcox
Newbie

Posts: 1


« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2007, 10:10:22 PM »

The Twenty-O-Eight Initiative - Count me in.  Here’s why:

Most of us take a lot for granted, with our boat in hand, once we find the time to travel to the next regatta, most of the work for us is in setting up the rig and figuring out what settings, runners and sail to use.  That’s really not the case for quite a few movers and shakers who have already put in numerous hours of prepping for the event. Such as locating, scouting, paperwork, web work and countless e-mails and phone calls not to mention the time, effort, coordination and manpower to actually run the regatta.

At some point in the future it will be time to pass the torch to the next generation of ice sailors.  Whether it’s 5, 10, or 20 years from now, it will happen, one way or the other.  When most of us are in our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or more, who will be the driving force behind continuing the class.  When each of us may have to dig that much deeper to find the energy or motivation to get ourselves out on the ice, who will be putting in the time and effort setting up and running the regatta and making sure us “old guys” have a scouted out, safe place to sail and maybe race if we still can.  Wouldn’t it be great if those next generation folks were around right now for us to share with and pass on what we’ve learned over the many fun filled seasons we’ve been fortunate enough to experience.

When you look around at any of the regattas’, who and where are the next generation of commodores, regatta chairs, local and national officials and the various foot soldiers and participants it takes to make this a sport?   We need to make some things happen now in order to have a chance for things to continue into the future. 

I for one, have not heard of another proposal or suggestion(s), other than the one presented here, that addresses this concern.  If there was a time proven set of guidelines that we could follow and be guaranteed would produce the results we are looking for, I’m sure we’d follow them. I don’t think they exist.  However, what we do have is a proposal that offers a way to help address the sustainability of our sport.  Are there some risks, sure, but the benefits would seem to far out weight them.  What’s at risk?  Probably the biggest one would be the funds that would go towards building the ice-optis if you actually call this a risk.  On a balance sheet, those funds would not be lost but rather “invested”.  The money would be turned into hardware to be used over and over again.  Other than the proposed dollars, I’m not really seeing anything that represents a “risk” other than doing nothing.  And, there is risk in doing nothing unless someone has already found a way to bring onboard the next generation of movers and shakers.

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

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