11th February, 2022 — Membership and management
Rowers off to a golden 2022 start
With the new rowing season kicking off, the University of West Australia (UWA) Boat Club is getting everyone back in the boat.
Orientation Day stands with giant oars, rowing machine competitions and sundowner welcome events are all part of the mix to grow this club’s membership.
Founded in 1919 the UWA Boat Club is one of the state’s most successful clubs. It ranked in the top ten rowing clubs in Australia. The fully accredited Good Sports Gold Medal club has been a member of Good Sports since 2018 and caters for all abilities.
UWA Boat Club building a strong community
Club President Jeremy Gillbanks said that the club joined Good Sports to help build a community that was worth being a part of.
“We wanted to be a positive force in the community. Good Sports has given us a best practice view on what we should be doing.
“It’s great to lean on Good Sports resources, template documents and policies. It’s meant we take a consistent approach to activities rather than changing each year. As we’re volunteer run by students, churn can be high.”
The club has implemented policies around alcohol and put in place safeguards to ensure safe transport home after events.
Jeremy says that the club wants to lead by example and that Good Sports has contributed to building a community of like-minded people.
“We service students and need our volunteer coaches to be role models.”
Students learning outside the classroom
With around 300 members, the club is important to both the university and wider Perth community.
For those wanting to test the waters there are ‘learn to row’ programs. Through its school connections, the club brings in secondary students who otherwise would not have access to rowing programs.
“We give students an opportunity to learn additional skills that they don’t get in the classroom,“ says Jeremy.
Leadership, teamwork and volunteering are all part of it. This year the club has started a mentoring program to build professional networks for its young rowers.
The Club also participates in community initiatives such as Clean Up Australia Day, fundraising for causes such as mental health and hosts regatta days.
Proud achievements at UWA Boat Club
Jeremy attributes the club’s success to the invaluable experiences gained by its members and the lifelong friendships that are formed.
The club achievements that Jeremy is most proud of are its many awards, its growing membership and contribution to the rowing community.
Jeremy’s advice to other sports clubs wanting to engage their members at the start of the season is to have a fun event where new recruits can meet existing members.
“For us, it’s also about having a plan for the season and sharing coaching and training times. This gives people a platform to fit rowing into their schedules.“
During the summer months, the club makes sure all its equipment is operational and ready to go.
Over the long term the club is growing its social media presence, which it hopes will help attract and retain members.
As one of the largest and oldest sporting clubs on campus, the club has a proud history and a bright future.