..To be added to this page: The Optimist Club option
The first decision a passionate group of volunteers needs to make is ‘who should own the program?’. Curling clubs view leagues as either in-house leagues or rental leagues, where in-house leagues are owned and run by the club and rental leagues are just ice rental agreements from the club’s perspective.
Here are some pro’s and con’s for each:
* The club is fully vested in and responsible for the success of the program
* The club may help find volunteers
* The club may help integrate family curling into a progression of programs players may enroll in
* The program falls under the club’s legal entity and insurance, which simplifies the business aspect of the program
* A Society, bank account, insurance, and tax schedule will likely need to be setup. – which may be easier than you might expect.
* Enrollment fees will be higher with a rental league due to the cost of operating the league. (Liability and directors insurance for a league is $1000)
* Works well if one society is running programs at multiple curling clubs under one promotional effort.
Since family curling programs are an introduction to curling and a gateway into other curling programs, enrollment may fluctuate from year to year. If a curling club sees family curling as an important part of the long term sustainability of its club, then the club may not mind a few sheets going unrented in some years. They will also understand that the first year’s enrolment is hard to predict. However, if the club does not incorporate family curling into their sustainability strategy or see a moral obligation to enhance the lives of youth and families, then the non-guaranteed ice rental aspect of family curling may cause problems.
We recommend the house league model be pursued first, even if it means one or two of the family curling volunteers become board members of the club. Failing this, we would proceed with the rental league model if all levels of management and the board understand and support the program. In this case, a rental league can be a very successful model as well.
Benefits To The Curling Club
The more obvious benefit to the curling club is the recruitment of a new generation of youth curlers who may become adult curlers.
The unexpected benefit of Family Curling is the re-introduction of curling into adult curlers who had left the sport when they went to college or started a family. This even applies to grandparents who join with their grandchildren and realize they would like to join a senior curling league.
Acknowledging reduced revenue for curling clubs
If a curling club has an option to rent the ice to an adult league versus a family league, there may be an instantaneous difference in revenue (setting aside the health of the club in future years).
Adult leagues can earn higher ice rental rates. The also often generate additional revenue in the bar after the game.
Family Curling events should recognize this impact from the curling club’s perspective and explore ways to bring the curling club additional revenue. Possibly by encouraging families to have lunch at the club after the game or to purchase equipment such as grippers from the curling club.