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Membership - your community needs you
Written by Jesse Mortensen: Executive Director TriSA
Last week Triathlon Australia’s President Michelle Cooper announced membership renewal conditions for season 2020/21. The decision to maintain current membership fees was met with a mix of responses. Some of support and some questioning the decision not to discount membership in lite of event stand-downs and changed training environments due to COVID-19.
Having served the sport at many levels; Club President, Club Coach, Technical Official and athlete I’ve seen many different perspectives to our sport. This is not the first time I’ve heard the value of membership questioned. Now serving as Executive Director of Triathlon South Australia, I feel well-placed to provide an understanding on our memberships more than ever. So, what is the role of Triathlon Australia and the individual state bodies?
- Provide a pathway for international competition both for elites and our age group structure,
- Offer a centralised structure for event-sanctioning of every event in the country, event safety & quality control, coach education, technical official education and management, general sports promotion, lobbying for Australia-based world champs and the creation of national novice and innovation programs
- Make available the above points to the state bodies and members
- Provide structure and support to clubs, race directors, coaches, technical officials, provide pathways for newcomers to connect with clubs
- Liaise with councils, race directors etc to ensure compliance with statutory requirements
- Fill essential market gaps when no other options are available
- The backbone of the sport
- Provide day to day athlete experience, coaching, social functions, community
Our clubs remain the heart and soul of the sport. They are on the frontline. It’s my strong view that our age-group members really are the core of our sport. Triathlon started from humble beginnings many years ago, at club level, and will exist in the future because of the same reason.
In South Australia, I want you to know that 100% of the annual Triathlon Australia membership fee you pay goes directly to our State Body to support our sport, clubs, coaches and events in South Australia.
While I do understand that there is a challenge for our community to see their membership remain valuable in an evolving digital and consumer market, our State Body and local SA clubs, need you now more than ever.
And then there’s COVID-19
COVID-19 has cause immense financial damage to our sport, with almost all events being cancelled or postponed during the pandemic. While some states are returning to competition shortly, the timeline for return to pre-COVID free conduct is tied to a vaccine.
There is much to be positive about. We’ve released out roadmap for reboot of our national framework and COVID-smart event plans are being conceptualised. Group training is coming back, state by state, with South Australia currently at groups of 20 in training. Triathlon will initially look different, and we can’t control that, but we need your help to continue to lead your sport.
‘We’ are your clubs, coaches, technical officials, race directors and fellow athletes. We know that there are many that want to support their sport but are constrained by loss of employment. We hope to welcome these loyal community members back when they are able. For anyone else, I call on you; please support us.
We know that in the past 12 months we’ve led a movement to restore sustainability and vibrancy to our events and we've had fantastic results. Our next challenge is to see that every club in South Australia has an accredited coach. Many do not. It’s a big job, and without our members, we simply will not succeed in our mission
So I urge you to consider your narrative. There is value in membership, because membership is tied to our community and our community need to stand tall to emerge from COVID-19.
Please stand with us. It’s my sincere wish that together, we lead Triathlon through COVID and into a bright future.
Executive Director- Triathlon South Australia.