In light of the formation of the "Elite Team", I know I and others have questions as to where the money is coming from to pay for travel and race entries. Personally, I don't really see the need for an Elite team in an amateur club.
The stated goals of fostering more merchant partners, attracting sponsorships, getting additional members, winning club championships, etc. all seem to be goals that we are accomplishing with our current roster. Furthermore, if I understand it correctly, there are members of our Elite team who are on other sponsored teams as well. Thats not a problem to be in the DC Tri club and on another team, but if we're supporting people in return for getting out the DC Tri name, and they are being supported by another team for the same reasons...there's obviously a conflict there. Someone please correct me if I'm misspeaking or completely wrong here as I've only heard comments from other people in the club.
A mission statement would help define who we are as a club. Are we here to bring attention to triathlon, to build community relationships, to help both amateur and advanced triathletes? Is the mission of the club to sponsor an Elite team? I wasn't aware of any discussion/approval from the members of the club outside of certain atheletes being asked to participate and submit resumes.
Please understand this is not a post to inflame people or make anyone angry, simply a discussion from the members as to whether an amateur club should be in the elite business. (And maybe we should call it something other than Elite since that infers you are an Elite in regards to USAT rules...are the folks on the team Elites?...certainly some impressive resumes there...)
Also, are there any financial documents available online, or something we could make available, as to current cash outlays of the club and where the member dues currently go? A little more transparency would be a nice tool to add to the mix.
I think its nice to have a discussion on this topic, so I will contribute my thoughts on it as well.
Re. the mission statement and financial info-- sure, it makes sense that we have these things out there and more available. Maybe a once or twice a year meeting with the board that is open to all club members and the Board could help increase transparency-- or just actually expand a little upon the annual meeting that happens around the holidays anyway. Throw in a powerpoint with the financial info and we are good to go.
That being said, this is a huge club. Hence, we have elections and we elect those whom we think we can trust to make decisions for us, to the Board of Trustees, and they make these types of decisions. Sounds pretty darn democratic to me. It wouldn't work well to try to convene all of us every time a decision had to be made, and most of us wouldn't show up anyway because we haven't the time. Our board members put a TON of time into these meetings and decision-making processes. As I understand, the decision to form the elite team went through many rounds of discussion and consideration. A last point about the board-- they volunteer their time to do this; and it really is such a time commitment. For that I am thankful. Thanks to the board for taking your time and working so hard as you always do.
My personal thoughts on the elite team are this: I think its awesome. I'd never be able to be on it, and I'm totally fine with that. I have been served well by the NTP program and in general through lots of advice and support from fellow club members by attending events regularly. Its very true that this club has always done a great job with programs like NTP and now HIP and the Ironman training program, but what are we doing for our really fast people that are above this level? Not much. The elite team is a great answer to that.
Not only that, it gives the club a whole new level of visibility. Lets encourage and support DC tri colors up on the podium and let everyone else know how awesome our club is and that we do support our top athletes like other clubs do.
I know that personally when I see people doing amazing in races that come to my track workouts regularly, I make a point to thank them for making me look good (and appropriately take credit for their awesome finish..kidding..sort of). In my mind, this is the same idea with the elite team. Lets support those who are making the rest of us look good.
One last point about the elite team: I really like that the board made a requirement of the elite members to "give back" to the club, to prevent any kind of isolation. They will be required to volunteer their time to our training programs, etc. and so really, they are in a way paying for their benefits. Not bad. Win win for us all.
Further, we pay 35 bucks a year to be in this club, and we get soooo much for what we pay for. I could pay 50 bucks a month to be in Team Z so that I could see "go team Z" written in chalk along the race courses and to have a little added training plans, but I'd rather not spend that much. (no disrespect to Team Z by the way). So, I get a sweet shirt and waterbottle (already basically worth 35 bucks), and a whole lot of slightly less formalized support. Pretty awesome.
Just my two cents.
I won't chime in on everything here, but from a non-Board member perspective, I will say that the financial point you brought up is already addressed by the club, we just ran into a bit of weather this year that prevented it. The annual meeting that happens every December/January has announcements made by all the board members and finances is one of the things that is addressed. The meeting this past winter was canceled due to weather.
Also, the idea for an Elite team has been floating around the club for the years that I have been a member. It just now came to fruition and was acted upon. The idea for the Elite team was a way to keep the highly competitive (i.e. FAST) people active in the club and increase the exposure of the club in the triathlon community.
A basic mission statement is essentially plastered all over website. You just have to highlight the gray areas on either side of the webpage. The mission of the club is to support everyone in the triathlon community from the beginner all the way up to very experienced and elites. The club has been heavy on supporting the beginners for many years. Many felt this was to the detriment of the elites, but now the club is really getting to the idea of supporting the elites. I've definitely seen it working as I've noticed some of the elites who drifted away from the club starting to become more active in club events.
there is a lot to write about.
and i'm sure a lot of people will write in support of the elite team.
I had no idea what you meant about the grey areas of the webpage having the statement until I tried to highlight them...interesting!
As a slower person without any expectations of ever making the elite team, I still think it is a very worthwhile addition to the club because it aims to support and encourage a community within our club may not feel like they have been receiving the same amount of support. And in addition to helping these people, I also think they provide extra benefits to the club overall.
As for consultation with the club, we vote for the board, and this is something the board has been discussing and now this year, implementing. Then a request for applications to the team was made to the club as a whole, through the newsletter and the website. Anyone who was interested was able to apply to the program, not just a select few.
I think having faster people that are making it to the podium will definitely attract more merchant partners or even better deals with the ones we have, so then we all end up benefiting. Furthermore with the time they give back to the club in volunteering and mentoring, then they are also giving back for the few perks they get for being on the elite squad. I don't know the details specifically, but it's not a huge portion of the club's budget going to go to this and it's not like the perks they are going to be receiving are at all exorbitant. They will be subsidized for a few races and will get a race kit, but its not like they will get travel and hotels, etc.
Another thing to keep in mind is that is also the first year of it. Maybe if they do well and attract more merchant partners and sponsorships once it is active, then the elite team may pay for itself financially as well. I see the club's funding of it as seed money and expect that the benefits to the individuals and the club as a whole to increase as time goes on.
I know the board is having many discussions and will be monitoring the success of the program closely, and any adjustments or suggestions will be considered to ensure that the program helps the whole club instead of just the people selected. And this is not the only new program the board is starting to support the club members and they are now rolling out the IM Training program as well. I don't ever plan on doing an IM myself, but I am glad there is another program to support more club members.
And my last point - how great would it be for a new club member, maybe an NTPer to start the club as a newbie, and then see this elite group as something they may strive for one day? Instead of letting that person get to a point that after all the programs and activities that has supported and fostered their improvement as an athlete, they then reach a plateau and join another team, they would now have an incentive to stay and continue to foster the awesome community that is DCTri.
Here's some more FYI. I just reviewed the bylaws, which can be found here http://www.dctriclub.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Club.Bylaws
and learned these two things relevant to our discussion:
1. You can get a special meeting convened to discuss a topic by getting 25% of the members to sign a petition requesting said meeting and then giving that to the secretary (point being, if you really have an issue with the elite team, or some other issue in the future for that matter, do something about it).
2. Re. the finances: any member is allowed to "review the books" of the treasurer. All you have to do is ask him (lets not all bombard Patrick now, but..just so you know...)
Good respectful dialogue.
I lovethis club, but mostly Tuan for entertainment and Hugh for his great practice events!
Good job everyone - love meeting you all, elite, newbies, moms like me.
I'm using it as motivation to train harder, in the somewhat fanciful hope of making it onto the team someday. I guess a middle-of-the-packer and a slow swimmer (uh, I'm describing a friend, not me of course) may not qualify soon, but I can try. Er, I meant, my friend can try.
[G]ood topic... Seriously, that's it?
I've inquired several times about DC Tri's budget, specifically regarding food and catering. The Board (present and past) has never provided an official response or budget. I find it disturbing that the club's budget is not e-mailed to active members upon request. I also do not recall any official budget discussions at the annual meeting. Forget a special meeting or an announcement at the zoo known as the annual meeting. Publish it privately and frequently for members only.
Btw, responses regarding the budget from the Board range from: we're rolling in money to we're broke. So what is the deal? Show me the money!
Here's an idea: a Race Rewards Program. Open to ALL members. $$$ for active members who race in uniform at select races. LA Tri Club has a phenom program. Points and $$ is given for: all IM races worlwide, all Ironman 70.3 races worldwide, all USAT Championships (age group, club, collegiate, long, short, aquathlon) and 20+ California races (sprint-Ironman).
Read all about it:
FYI: Team Z is not $50/month. Further, it's more than chalk on the road.
Monthly membership for Team Z is: $70-80. Membership in Team Z includes about a dozen group weekly workouts for all of the disciplines of triathlon (swim, bike, and run) and strength training. In addition to the head coach Ed Zerkle, there are 33 coaches leading the group workouts. Typically, two coaches support a training session.
Other benefits of Team Z include their tasty and catered BBQs at training events and races. Their tents rock. Their trips and races are well organized. The personalized chairs, mugs, napkins, pencils, and apparel (although hideous and green) are in a different league than most clubs.
Yes, Team Z is more expensive. But, I think that DC Tri could improve our community whether it's better food, cheaper uniforms because of better relations with a merchant partner (market share = discount, people!), or a more visible race presence via more tents, chairs, and flags/banners.
Read all about Team Z and other beginner triathlete training programs that I wrote for The Examiner in a series titled 'So You Want To Be a Triathlete.'
Team Z's article is found here: http://www.examiner.com/x-19867-DC-Triathlon-Examiner~y2010m1d12-So-you-want-to-be-a-triathlete--Youll-never-knowunless-you-Tri
The 5-part series on DC area triathlete beginner training programs begins with: http://www.examiner.com/x-19867-DC-Sports-Travel-Examiner~y2010m1d7-So-you-want-to-be-a-triathlete-a-guide-to-picking-the-best-beginners-triathlon-program-in-DC
Please do not criticize other Triathlon Clubs in the DC area. It is unsportsmanlike and unnecessary. We know DC Tri Club is the best club. However, there are other programs that contribute to our multisport community. Hell, a few of our Board Members are active members of Team Z. Many members of DC Tri are also in Team Z and other clubs. Remember, We're Tri-Partisan!
Get busy living or get busy dying,
Ha ha, yes I'll save my remarks, which some would call "inflamatory", to myself on this one topic. LOL.
We should not be questioning the board on their actions. The direction of the club is determined by the board who the members voted for, good or bad, that is what the membership chose for the coming year, we should let them do what is best for the year and vote accordingly at the next election.
So i will take a wait and see on this program for now and see how it turns out after this season.
I will agree that the LATRICLUB "rewards" program is original, and they also have a "podium program" that pays out money if you podium in your age group effectively creating a pseudo "elite team".
But they are a different club, with a different financial status so comparing our club to them is apples and oranges and its not really fair to the DCTRICLUB.
Example, i emailed them regarding their budget for uniforms, it was insane, that club orderd on the average of 60,000-100,000$ worth of custom clothing merchandise a year. I could be wrong, if i am incorrect please tell me, but i don't think the dctriclub orders that much clothing?
Good quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption. LOL
The Los Angeles metropolitan area has almost 2 1/2 times as many people as the D.C. metro area does, so it makes sense that their triathlon club would have a much larger budget.
I think the wait-and-see approach will work. The members of the elite team are required to participate in many club events and help out the beginners in the club. I think that's the right way to go.
As for the gray background text on the sides of the webpages, very strange. I would have never found that if I hadn't read this thread.
I think some people are way off regarding the membership of LA Tri Club. They have 1600 members, our website says that DC has 1000. LA's dues: $70; ours: $35. How many people are in the metro area has nothing to do with how large the club's budget is. But, this is a federal town and I don't expect anyone to know how to balance a budget.
LA is bigger, but DC Tri club is definitely fits in the Mega Club status. My friend was on Exec Board of LA Tri for several years. I'm sure he wouldn't mind discussing the ins and outs of getting better sponsors and membership incentives.
However, I question whether our website's membership count is accurate. Is that 1000 PAID members or 1000 with a DC Tri login? Nobody's telling.
'We should not be questioning the board on their actions.'
FFS! Is there a full moon?
The Board is doing an outstanding job! I have been on the Board of my running club and can attest the time it takes to run a large organization and put on numerous events. And I like the idea of the elite team as it complements other programs.
Every once in awhile I see a posting on this board from someone complaining about an issue and I think to myself, "what kind of Hanoi crack are they smoking? Is Minh Quang out on parole again?" This, however, is not one of those instances. Although, I don't share 100% of the views that are being expressed here, I do think that there is some legitimacy to what Ron and Lisa have brought up. These are two veteran members of DCTri who are quite active within the club and have been around the block a few times. Well, Lisa has been around many blocks many times ... but I don't judge.
Ron ... first of all, thanks for getting this discussion started. I think that you brought up a bunch of valid points. I agree with some, disagree with others.
Whenever it comes to financial matters, I think that transparency is a good thing. We definitely need more of that. As the club grows and matures transparency becomes more vital. Take the NTP, HIP, Ironman training programs as examples. Those didn't happen overnight. Those happened as the club grew and matured. What Lisa and Ron brought up should become part of that maturing process.
I don't think that it's unrealistic or inappropriate to ask for or to have the financial statements of the club available online on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. It's important to let the general membership know where the dollars are spent. Talking about it once a year at the annual meeting is just not enough. Not every paying member goes to that meeting but they do deserve to have that kind of info available to them to dissect. The firehouse where I volunteered at announces their current or future planned spendings at every monthly meeting. It could be something as major as spending $250,000 on equipment or $100 on a ping pong table but it's all out there for people to see and disect. There should be no reasons why DCTri can't do the same.
Money talks. Where the club spends its money tells the membership the direction that the club is heading. Having those info available not only helps current members but also help potential new members. If I were a newbie and I see the amount of money and resources allocated to my kind, I would be more at ease to know how much resources are allocated to me. If I'm super fast, I would be more at ease knowing that there are money allocated to support folks around my neck of the woods.
I've been to the DCTri annual meetings where financial statements are recited to the general membership. It has always been discussed but I've yet to see any handouts ... perhaps there were and I was too busy looking pretty to notice. The club financials are probably compiled discussed at every board meeting so the info are readily available. If we can post pdfs of the results of the swim meets, dualthlons, and practice tris we should have no problems posting our financial online for the general membership to view. The maturing process of the club probably have prevented us from doing this in the past. It shouldn't prevent us from doing it in the near future.
As far as the elite team is concerned, I think that it's a good idea. I like it conceptually. Its benefits or lack there of won't be seen until we give it a few years to mature. I think that the club needs to help out and be represented by people of all levels. We give plenty of support for the newbies via NTP and a variety of other clinics/workouts. We give plenty of support to the somewhat immediate level people (HIP and the new Ironman program). There is no reason why we can't have a program to help foster the development of the faster folks. There are fewer of them out there than the middle to back of the packers so the money allocated to them might seem disproportionate but they need some loving too.
I have no problems with any elite team members being sponsored by some other groups as long as they follow the terms of their agreement with DCTri. The vast majority of sponsored athletes out there are sponsored by more than one entities. There is no reason why a DCTri elite member can't have the same privilege.
I could be wrong here but there are a few current members of the board who campaigned on the promise that they were going to try to get some type of fast/elite group set up if they were elected. Well, they were elected. From that perspective, I don't think that the Elite team formation was a hidden under the radar secret. We can't have too many cooks in the kitchen. The board should have the freedom to exercise what they think is in the best interests of the club without being micro-managed by the general membership but the membership does deserve to have certain info easy available to them so that they are informed.
By the way, are the general membership allowed to attend any of the board meetings? If they are then we should advertise the location and times of those meetings as vigorously as we advertise the happy hours. What about the agenda or minutes of those meetings ... are those posted anywhere? If things are opened and transparent, people will feel more at ease with the decisions that are made.
I don't think anyone is questioning the ethics, quality, or integrity of the board. I think it's more along the line of hey let the general membership see more of what is going on in the club. I personally would like to see the minutes and agenda of the board meetings POSTED after every meeting. I don't think that is an unreasonable request.
I like to see some board members shine in on this matter in this thread.
exactly, I say for now don't question what the board does. let the year run its course.
when the next election comes up the incumbents will then have to show what they did and did not do to get reelected.
If their programs they institute and their actions are a failure and waste of money, then they should be voted out, if the money was well spent then they should be reelected.
But come election time all the clean and dirty laundry has to come out BEFORE the election and told to the members. How that happens is up to the board, in person meeting, or on the forum it doesn't matter, what is important is that at that time the membership should know specifically what the Board did for the past year. By that I mean more of a description than just "we moved the club forward". How the situation is handled will be the most telling thing about the club.
Meaning for for now, I'll give them carte blanche to do what they want in secret and not micromanage or question their decisions. They should be allowed to function freely good or bad, hey the membership voted them in under the premise that they would make good decisions. Let them make those decisions as quickly and fast as they can without second guessing for 1 year.
Yes lisa, my postings are supposed to be read with a little bit of sarcasm at times. this is no different.
It's $35 people. Most people spend more than that in a week on coffee. No one at DC Tri is dining at the Ritz with membership dues. I get more value from $35 just doing the practice races and reading about all the practices organized. Let's not sweat the small stuff.
Hell - now they want $20 to see a 3D movie at the IMAX theater.
Democracy isn't supposed to be active only during elections - if some of the members (like Lisa obviously) want accountability now, then they have the right to push for it. Personally I think the board is doing a great job, but I'm also not as involved in dc tri as many people and they may have different expectations. Its pretty dangerous to argue that we should vote and then shut up.
I like the idea of the elite team, and realize that the actual execution will probably be fine tuned over time. I actually joined a different team this winter, despite being a (somewhat) active member of dc tri. To me, dc tri is more of a community, and I have lots of friends here and love the events that are put on. I joined another team because I wanted a smaller, more race-focused group to compete with. I don't view the two as being conflicting, and wouldn't give up my DC tri membership for the world. I see the elite team as trying to bring those two worlds together, and I think its a good thing.
Also, how the club gets by on only charging $35 a head and still offering all that they do is amazing to me.
I think this is a very helpful airing of the various viewpoints. I am guilty of being on the elite team so I thought I might weigh in.
I started in NTP in 2006 and have been working my way up through the ranks from middle of the pack to where I am today, which is competitive for top ten overall at regional races, and near the top at larger ones depending on the size. I won't ever be a pro, and probably won't ever win the amateur division of a bigger race.
As I've gotten more committed and had more intense workout schedules over the years, I've had to look other places to find training partners/support. Yes, I am that guy helping to blow up the pace of a Hane's Point morning ride or a Saturday ride. But it's because that's how fast I need to go in training to get the best out of myself in races. You're thinking "so you think you're so fast and cool why don't you just go join the other teams?" Well, here's the thing, DCTri is just as much my club as anyone's and I got better by chasing the fast people around till all of a sudden I was one of them. I think it benefits this club greatly to have faster people in it, in order to pull people up, through training or events or advice or whatever. But you can't always count on those 'fast' people to stick around and just give because "they should" when there are other opportunities/clubs/teams that provide opportunities to train and compete at a higher level. Now, I'm not saying that people need to be bribed to stay in the club, but helping them out with what they need to keep them hanging around should be just as much a goal of DCT as providing the newbies the NTP program.
So will the elite team work? I don't know. I don't think the board knows. But I think our club is better for at least trying new things. Everyone is feeling their way along as we try something new. I am sure it's the same as they did 7 years ago or whatever when they started the NTP program. It's a learning process. I think the board should be questioned about things, and this thread is a good way of discussing concerns members have. I am sure the board members are paying attention and will take into account the ideas/concerns/support/criticism posted here.
A few extraneous points I'd like to make as a club member, (and an ex-board member).
I agree fully that minutes and financials need to be available to the general club on a predictable/regular basis. Minutes particularly. They were posted after every board meeting through about 2006, but seemed to have stopped since then. That shouldn't be the case imo. Financials--I think should be posted at least quarterly. If the club is being driven off a cliff, members should know before it's too late. (Not saying it is, but a once a year recital of the finances at the annual meeting is a bit slim on transparency).
Also, I think that the blatant "other team advertising" in posts is a bit tacky. If you want to advertise or flog your new team or endeavor, I think that you should not use the DCTri forum as your personal billboard. Buy an ad banner. Otherwise you're just using a common space for your personal gain or whatever. Or at least do it in "off topic". It's tiresome to read that stuff. (Team Z has it's own webpage and recruits just fine on its own).
Finally, I think it's really getting old that you can't click people's user names to find out their real name and email them privately. Maybe there's a way, but I sure can't figure it out. It's pretty clear that on comment-based sites or forums, anonymity breeds disrespectful bomb throwing and trolling. I urge the board to fix this feature of the DCT website. (The reason I'm saying this is because I can't tell who started this thread or who many of the other commenters are, unless I know their username from the old site).
I'm happy to see that the club is trying new things and working on members' issues of all sorts. I am happy to be on the elite team and thank the club for the support. I will fulfill my requirements and hopefully more and hope that I can be helpful to all members.
Thanks for the responsible conversation on this thread. The board is definitely listening to this discussion.
And mainly, I'm just responding to this thread so it'll come to my email and I can follow it a bit easier.