Monday, 14 November 2011

Why I’m Not a Kids Sports Committee Mum….. Yet!

The thing about kids sporting clubs is that they are organized by volunteers. These wonderful people do a fantastic job administering the club, setting up, packing away, fund raising, scheduling competitions and training times. There are countless tasks they perform and these are often thankless tasks as well. Many of these volunteers forgo precious family time to work on behalf of their club. They do this so that the children in the club can get the best possible experience of being involved with a youth sports club. The simple truth is that there would be no youth sports clubs if there were no parents on the committees.

My children and our family have reaped many benefits being involved in youth sports clubs. I am thankful for the tireless efforts of the individuals who make these clubs possible. Now that Buster is 4 and becoming slightly more independent (although I still carry him around on my hip at most Little Athletics meets). I am feeling the moral obligation to contribute to the organisation and running of the sporting clubs my family are involved with…..but there is one major hurdle……

I suck at committees!! There, I’ve said it! If there is such thing as an anti-Midas touch, then, that’s what I have when it comes to committees! I don’t know what is about me and committees. I honestly have the best of intentions, but everything just goes ‘pear-shaped’. It’s like I’m too enthusiastic, or I try too hard. I manage to completely alienate everybody and it has just never worked out!

My first experience with committees was at our playgroup. I thought that I should do my bit and contribute to the playgroup committee, so when I turned up to the meeting and was presented with a 20 page document entitled ‘minutes’…well….you could have knocked me over with a feather….In my naivety I thought “this is a play group..what more is there than a biscuit and cup-of-tea roster”…how wrong I was! Lesson number 1: never assume anything!

I by no means aim to degrade the fabulous work that a committee does, however in my personal experience, committees seem to be loaded with committee people. Committee people are extremely efficient and hardworking, but also seem to have a very high appreciation for detail and correctness. I think I am more of a ‘big picture thinker myself!’

When my eldest daughter reached pre-school. I was the enthusiastic newbie mum. I had read somewhere that if a parent is involved with the child’s school, than the child is more likely to be successful. So that’s what I did! I turned up to the first committee meeting and somehow, although I’m not entirely sure how, I ended up with the vice-presidents position. Lesson number 2: never just go to a committee meeting  if you don’t want to walk away with a position!

So, just when the president decided to take a 3-month overseas holiday, I decided the right thing  to do was to stick up for the poor young mum in her early 20’s that had volunteered as a fund raising officer. She was trying to suggest ‘new’ things such as a ‘family fun day’ and (heaven forbid) a Krispy Crèmes stall. This was all too much for the committee stalwarts who would rather carry on as they had done for the past 10-years with lamington drives. In defending the new, young mum against the bullying behavior, I was also targeted  for bullying, I received abusive emails and phone-calls. I even once had a chair thrown at a meeting and the doors slammed. I vowed never again!! Lesson number 3: learn from past experiences.

Now, when I check my in-box I am confronted with guilt, as the various committees of the sports my children play are literally begging for more parental help. I am happy to help out by baking goods, selling raffle tickets, and actually helping the kid s out and doing time keeping and other such  duties at the meets. Because my children are so involved with these clubs, I really feel that I should be doing more for these clubs myself. In a way, giving something back to these clubs that we have so enjoyed being a part of…….. I am almost thinking about joining a committee!!

GrumpyDaddy, is horrified. He remembers my past experiences with committees and definitely does not want to re-live the drama. (I also suspect he does not want to be left looking after the kids while I am off doing committee stuff!!).  I am myself conflicted. Should I learn from my past experiences and resign myself to knowing that committee work is just not for me? The alternative is to try and let go of the past and give a new committee a try. You never know, perhaps involvement will open new opportunities for self fulfillment, new friendships, demonstrate to my kids that I am interested in them and their activities. Perhaps I will be surprised? Or perhaps I will be learning another lesson…. lesson number 4: I told you So!!

I am wondering what experience other readers have had with kids sport parent committees and if you would recommend joining one? Please let me know what you think in the comments.

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