May Letter from the CEO
May 02, 2012
As the racing season hits full swing, it reminds me how impactful referees can be to the sport and why it is important to continue to invest in good officials.
USRowing has 400+ licensed referees across the country. The group is composed entirely of volunteers, often paying their own travel costs and working long hours to officiate at events. Their average annual costs range from $500-$2,000 a year in travel and equipment.
The over 200 events in the USRowing registered regatta program provide support to the referee education and training program and its administration. The revenue generated from these events directly impacts the officials. As our sport continues to grow, USRowing is taking steps to ensure that the next generation of rowers will have access to well trained and qualified referees.
Over the past year, a Referee Task Force led by Laura Kunkemueller (USRowing Northeast Board Representative) worked with staff and the Referee Committee to identify several key factors to assure success in growing, retaining and improving our referee corps. These factors included:
- Improved and more consistent training
- Better working conditions
- Recognition of referee’s role and efforts
- Making the volunteer experience more affordable
Following on the work of the Referee Task Force, John Wik, Director of the USRowing Referee Program, presented a business plan to the Board of Directors at the March meeting. The plan focuses on several critical components including: recruitment, training, qualification, maintenance/outreach and compensation. It suggests:
1. The creation of a new class of USRowing “Position Certified Referees” to help ease the burden of the expanding regatta schedules.
2. Standardized training to improve the consistent interpretation and application of the Rules of Rowing by all USRowing Referees.
3. A more centralized approach for management and administration of the Referee Program within USRowing.
4. Finally, the Business Plan focuses on the creation of a “Referee Training Fund” to help underwrite the costs of training and qualifying USRowing Referees.
The business plan has been endorsed by both the Referee Committee and the Board of Directors. It is an evolving document. The concepts and ideas included are the beginning of a new approach to the management and administration of the Referee Corps. Its overriding goal is to provide competent, well-trained and professional referees to make your rowing experience more positive and fun.
The first piece of the new referee education platform is the new “Start” training video recently launched online
. I encourage coaches, coxswains and rowers to take a look at the video. It provides important information on the new start commands and the training surrounding its implementation.
As 2012 progresses, USRowing will continue to launch new services and products for our members and the rowing community. We hope you enjoy them and look forward to your feedback.