2015 Assembly

Below you will find a summary of sessions, including some accompanying materials, from the 2015 USA Curling Members’ Assembly (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Presentations were designed to prompt questions, discussion, and experience sharing. We encourage you to attend future USA Curling Members’ Assemblies to learn from the experience of and share your knowledge with curlers from across the nation.

Members’ Meeting

Rich Lepping, Chairman, U.S. Curling Association Board of Directors

Gordon Maclean, Secretary, U.S. Curling Association

Rick Patzke, CEO, and additional USA Curling Staff Members

This session was designed to bring Members up-to-date on the business of the U.S. Curling Association. All items requiring Member voting were addressed, including new club membership and revisions to the by-laws. Staff reports on areas such as Operations, Communications, Competitions, the High Performance Program, and Member Development were presented to attendees.

Building a Curling Club

Craig Fischer, Fort Wayne Curling Club

Have you ever wondered what it would take to convert a bakery distribution center into a dedicated curling facility? Craig Fischer guided participants through this process during a tour of the recently converted Fort Wayne Curling Club, which opened for business in January 2014. Participants were encouraged to ask questions. Discussion also touched upon the first year of operations.

Curling Stones

Bill Hunter, Kays of Scotland

Do you know the difference between the types of granite used to make curling stones? Do you know how to effectively care for your club’s stones and monitor the wear on your striking bands and running surfaces? During this session, Bill Hunter, factory manager at Kays of Scotland, discussed the life cycle of the stone:  how curling stones are made, caring for stones to extend their useful life, and signs it’s time to retire them from club play. Participants were encouraged to bring either an actual stone or photos for Bill to evaluate.   

Curling Strategy with Team USA

Derek Brown, High Performance Director, USA Curling

Derek lead this interactive session on curling strategy by presenting scenarios used when training Team USA athletes. Alternative responses to each scenario were discussed, including factors curlers might consider when thinking about strategy for club as compared to elite level play.

Don’t Sweep Aside the Risks: Volunteers/Staff

Marty Lemert, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

Volunteers are the lifeblood of every curling club. Whether your club relies solely on volunteers or has paid employees, clubs need to be aware of the potential legal risks they pose to the organization, especially if they work with vulnerable populations such as youth or special needs curlers. This interactive session was designed to discuss the risks and steps your club can take to safeguard itself. 

Engaging Curling Fans

Brian Reich, Thinking about Sports

Since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, many people who have never stepped foot on curling ice have become fans of the sport. Such fans think about and experience the sport differently than people who curl. This session focused on why fans are important to the growth of curling in the United States and introduced the idea of a fan group called “The Hacks.” Examples of how other sports have approached engaging fans were also discussed.

Is League Structure Impacting Your Club’s Member Retention?

Paul Badgero, Detroit Curling Club

Craig Fischer, Fort Wayne Curling Club

Adam Derringer, Madison Curling Club

How are new curlers integrated into your club’s leagues? Do leagues encourage and support new skips? Representatives from three dedicated curling clubs provided examples of how they structure their leagues for different purposes.

Is Your Club Adequately Insured?

Greg Joly, Loomis & LaPann Sports Division

Given the limited budgets of many curling clubs, unexpected expenses have the potential to be devastating to the organization. Greg Joly, an experienced insurance agent specializing in sports organizations, discussed the types of insurance curling clubs (both arena and dedicated ice) may want to consider to guard against risks and limit financial exposure. 

Leading Your Organization Workshop

Positive Coaching Alliance

This interactive workshop discussed how positive leadership can translate into a positive culture for the development of youth athletes at the local and regional levels. Participants were encouraged to think about areas of their organization’s culture that are working well and explore initiatives that could bring about improvement, with focus on how positive coaching has the potential to impact the sport at the club level.

Strength and Conditioning for League Curlers

 Alan Severs, MA, CSCS, CES

Corrective Exercise Therapist, YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne

This session focused on the physical requirements of curling and how to maximize the potential of the individual athlete. Key areas of emphasis included strength, flexibility, balance, and the development of efficient movement patterns. All of these factors were examined within the context of how they apply to the unique requirements of curling.

Working Together to Grow the Sport

Russ Lemcke, Cape Cod Curling Club

Ben Levy, Great Lakes Curling Association

Brian Patrick, Mountain Pacific Curling Association

Rick Patzke, USA Curling                              

Jennifer Stannard, USWCA

Growing the sport of curling is a core element of the U.S. Curling Association’s mission. This panel will discussed what it means to grow the sport and how curling organizations on the local, regional, and national levels could effectively support each other in these efforts.

Writing Effective Grant Proposals

Tina Acosta, Director of Adaptive Sports & Recreation, Turnstone

Lynne Gilmore, Executive Director, AWS Foundation

Ruth Stone, Chief Development Officer, Turnstone

Grants can be an effective means of financing club development efforts. As most grant programs are highly competitive, it is important for clubs to understand what funders want to see before investing time and effort into writing grant proposals. During this session, representatives from Turnstone, a not-for-profit organization focused on providing programs that empower people with disabilities, spoke about their experience with applying for grant funds, including tips for preparing more effective grant proposals. The Executive Director of the AWS Foundation also discussed the grant process from the perspective of the decision-maker.

Additional Information