How Would You Build a USPSA Volunteer Base

How Would You Build a USPSA Volunteer Base?

The 2012 USPSA Season certainly has been a busy one for me. Aside from shooting, I spent a fair amount of time volunteering at two local clubs. My time was spent primarily working with Southern Chester County Sportsmen’s and Farmers’ Association to develop and setup stages.

Towards the end of the season, the Match Director at Southern Chester needed to step aside until the 2013 Season. When that happened, my part in stage design stopped, although I continued to help with setup on match day.

Yesterday I received an email from that Match Director about the upcoming season. It would seem that two of the major volunteers, which help with setup on the day prior to the match, are retiring. Since the volunteer crew that does setup on the day prior only consists of three people, this has a major impact on how matches run.

The issue boils down to the club not having enough help to completely setup, shoot, and break down in a single day. To ease the strain, three men would arrive the day before to staple targets onto sticks, label targets for placement, haul props to shooting bays, and completely setup the 75 yard bay. The following day a larger crew would arrive to setup everything that was sorted the day before.

At this point there is a bit of concern regarding how to setup next year with limited volunteers. The big question is clear, how does this club increase its number of volunteers?

In 2012, matches were limited to roughly 75 shooters on a pre-registration system. I’ve heard that registration often filled up within a few hours. Do you think that this has an adverse affect on volunteers?

Regular volunteers are signed up to shoot automatically and are not required to race to a computer for registration. Other clubs offer volunteers a discount on registration (For instance, I help at Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club and reviece $5.00 off for helping. While it isn’t a lot of money, I appreciate it none the less), Southern Chester does not. Do you think this has an effect on the number of volunteers that show up?

If you were in charge, how would you increase the amount of help you receive to make each months match happen?

2 comments On How Would You Build a USPSA Volunteer Base

  • You are not alone. This happens in any shooting club. A small minority does the set up work and the rest “shoot-&-go.” This only helps to burn out volunteers who leave the club mad as wet hens and with good reason: they don’t get to enjoy shooting. The rest see the volunteers pissed off and they do not want to volunteer either.
    Clubs want new blood because they need people to volunteer and have no idea what’s coming 🙂

  • Walt. I took over as Match Director in 2011 for Ontelaunee IDPA. I did so because nobody wanted to. In order to run a match either IDPA, ISPC, or Steel you need to have help. If it was not for the voulenteers in these sports, they would not happen. When i first started I did everything myself. You have to remember that my setup crew was all mainly senior shooters that have been doing this for 15 years. They were tired.
    One of the absolute best things that I did was the creation of the Intro to IDPA Classes. I firmly believe that if i did not have these classes, I would not have help I do today. I believe that if you want to grow a program, first you have to be comitted to its success. Second you have to do something to advertise and grow your sport.
    This year I have a comitted team that is brand new, and was assembled over the past year. I have regular meetings with them, and everyone has a duty assigned to them. The worst thing that you can have happen is 10 people show up to help, and it is not organized. This part again falls back on me as the MD. If someone cant make a match, i need to have a person to fill that slot.
    Trust me, it is no perfect science, and there are many times when i pull my hair out. That is why I keep it short. But a well organized crew can run itself. The biggest thing to remember is that everyone must understand that there is no I in team.

    As far as match fees are concerned, this is how i do it. My setup team starts at 1:00 on the Saturday prior to the match. We set up all of the stages, and then shoot the match as a squad to test everything. Then on Match day everyone has a job to do and the all do it . We score the match that we shoot on Saturday, and turn in the score sheets with everyones on Sunday. My match team members shoot the match for free. Now that said, remember that they are at the club for the entire weekend of the match. Also when I need people to run a squad as an SO, I reduce their match fee to $5.00, because when you think about it, running a squad really takes away from your focus on shooting compaired to just being a shooter.

    I hope this helps, should you ever need a hand with anything please feel free to ask.

    Dave Bair
    Ontelaunee IDPA
    Match Director

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